8362310Last week Austin EcoNetwork pointed me to two environmental sustainability job openings: 1.) UT-Austin Building Energy and Resource Steward and 2.) Green Mountain Energy Sustainability Analyst. As I thoroughly reviewed these job posts, I noticed many common threads. Below I break down the basic requirements for these two jobs. Hopefully, this analysis will help those looking to shift their career into the evolving sustainability field and land a cool job that they love.

Purpose & Function of Job
The purpose is to meet the organization’s sustainability/resource conservation goals by combining technical/analytical abilities and organizational development skills to empower people. This means supporting a team effort to foster a culture of sustainability, build relationships (internal and external) and maintain the organization’s reputation. Three basic functions help achieve that purpose. You get to be:

  1. Green Police (a.k.a. Auditor) – identify issues/concerns and coordinate efforts to implement solutions,
  2. Green Leader – collaborate with diverse groups to engage and educate people like holding events and launching “green” initiatives, and
  3. Green Reporter – track, analyze and report progress within organization and beyond.


Education & Experience
Basically what they’re looking for is a technical person with proven people skills. These jobs strongly prefer, or require an engineering, or environmental science-related degree plus at least a few years of experience in resource conservation-related programs. Some additional experience in “behavior-based” planning and/or training like environmental management systems is also considered a bonus. Likewise, certifications in energy management, or green building (LEED) will prove helpful.

Personal Qualities
Beyond the education and experience above, they’re looking for certain traits and tendencies in job candidates:

  • Analytical – ability to crunch numbers and keep track of many details,
  • Effective Communicator – excellent written and verbal communication skills with creativity and flexibility to adapt to diverse audiences,
  • Personal & Team Integrity – individually honest and dependable plus responsible, cooperative, and enthusiastic as a team player, and
  • Adventurous Spirit – willingness to explore unfamiliar territory to get the job done right.

Most of all the foundation for success in positions like these rests on a fierce commitment to the cause. If you have a passion for environmental sustainability and excitement about joining a team deeply committed to create a more sustainable future, you have it in the bag. Don’t worry too much, if you’re a little weak in some of the preferred experience areas. Jump in with both feet and make it happen!