You’ve always loved nature and now that you’ve graduated, you’re filled with an urgent drive to do something to help the planet; or you’re a job changer who wants to make a difference; or you might already be in a green role and are looking to develop your career. After scouring job boards, you find some positions that you would love to do and organisations that you’d be proud to be a part of. But how do you apply for a job in the sustainability sector? Read on for our guide on how to craft your resume for your dream green job.
Personalise, Personalise, Personalise!
Never ever use a generic resume unless you want to invoke the wrath of every HR department that ever existed. You should always personalise your CV (as well as your cover letter) to the specifications of the position that you’re applying for. Yes, it’s more work than just sending out the same blanket resume to everyone, but doing so will give you a better chance to showcase why you’re the right person for the job.
Try making a master resume that includes all of your experience, education, and skills, and then tailor it down each time you apply for a specific job. Only include what is relevant to the position description or soft skills that are transferable across industries, like communication, problem-solving, and adaptability.
Another step you can do to personalise your application is to find out who is the hiring manager. Call or email the company to find out a name if it’s not already in the ad and address your application directly to them.
Career Goals and Skills
Include a short profile about your career goals. Are you a recent graduate? A career changer? Are you looking to boost your existing sustainability career? Make it clear in your resume what your aims are. Considering these goals as you write your applications will make sure you are only applying for jobs that will help you make strides towards that dream job or career.
Think about your workplace skills and what the job requirements are. If you have trouble identifying your own skill set, ask a colleague what they think your best abilities are and add them as concise one-liners in a bullet list. You can also find the keywords in the job description and repeat them in your application to get the recruiter’s attention. It’s also important to recognise your skills gap. What is the employer looking for that you don’t have? This is a great way to identify where you may need to upskill to get that green role.
Experience is Key
If you are a recent graduate, make sure to include any volunteer work, internships, or involvement in environmental organisations. Volunteer work gives you practical experience in the field and shows that you’re committed to the cause. While not everyone is able to volunteer, involvement in extracurricular groups or clubs can also demonstrate your interest. If it’s relevant to the position, make sure to use it on your resume.
If you already have work experience, make sure you show how your past roles align with the job requirements of the position you are applying for. Again, you should be tailoring your description of your experience to each new job application. Did you implement an environmental project? Were you part of a sustainability committee? Look for opportunities to showcase your initiative, transferable skills, and interest in the environment and sustainability. Even more favourable are quantitative deliverables that you achieved, like reduction in energy consumption or implementing workplace policies to reduce environmental impact.
If you’re applying for a field position or operational role, you should also include your experience with different materials or in different environments, what kind of machinery or equipment you’ve used, and what kind of tests or methodologies you are familiar with.
Education, Licences, and Training
Below your work experience, you should list any formal education or training that you have. This might be university degrees, or trade certifications. You should also include if you are affiliated or registered with any relevant associations, or if you’ve completed any relevant short courses.
Equally important are any environmental licences or permits that you might hold. A lot of field jobs in the environmental sector require compliance with local environmental permits and regulations, and if you are already certified, you can save a new employer significant time and effort in training you up.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Use a template in a free tool like Canva to give your resume the edge. You might have all the qualifications on paper, but you don’t want your application to get overlooked for looking bland! Check out these examples for some inspiration or design your own. Saving your file as a PDF means that there is no chance of any formatting going wrong when someone opens your resume on a different operating system or different software.
Finally, regardless of where you’re at in your career path, think outside of the box. There are many industries that were not previously regarded as being ‘green’ that are starting to implement environmental policies and employ people with knowledge of sustainability. Jobs with an environmental and sustainable focus are opening up in many different sectors so don’t limit yourself to looking into traditionally environmentally-focused businesses.