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How to Unlock your ESG and Sustainability Career in 7 Steps!

In today’s world, there is a growing demand for ESG, sustainable practices and environmental responsibility. This has led to the emergence of ESG and Sustainability careers across different industries. These offer exciting opportunities for job seekers who are passionate about making a positive impact on the planet. The World Economic Forum estimates, just to meet environmental objectives, ten countries* it analysed will require 12m or 66% more green jobs and for social and mobility goals, these countries will require 64m social jobs. According to LinkedIn Global Green Report 2022 not enough workers are being hired into green jobs. In 2021 green and greening jobs accounted for only ~10% of hiring. ESG and Sustainability roles also command a premium in remuneration.

Finding and securing a job that aligns with your values requires understanding the emerging opportunities and building skills and qualifications that companies specifically look for. We share seven tips to help you on your journey to pursuing a career in ESG and Sustainability.

Understand Sustainability and ESG across different sectors
The first step is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the key trends and focus areas across different industries and sectors. Due to recent focus on ESG, most industries are investing into sustainability expanding the space from traditional sectors such as renewable energy, clean technology, sustainable agriculture, green building and construction, waste management and environmental consulting into banking, insurance and management consulting. It is important to understand what the true landscape is. ESG and sustainability is a broad topic ranging from climate science and environmental protection through to ensuring diversity and inclusion within an organisation. Take time to research and understand areas you are interested in. Explore how ESG and sustainability is impacting your target sectors to identify the areas that resonate with your skills, interests, and long-term goals. An online search can bring up many reports and resources that will help you quickly understand key trends and impacts across different sectors.

Assess Your Skills and Qualifications
Once you have an idea of the area, sector, or specific role you want to pursue, it is time to assess your existing skills and qualifications. Determine how your expertise and experience can be applied to these fields and identify gaps in your knowledge or skills. Consider seeking additional training or education to enhance your marketability. Numerous universities, online platforms, and professional organizations offer specialized courses and certifications in sustainable practices. Here are all the courses on sustainability you can take for free on Coursera and edX. Futurelearn is a good resource and you can find a list of 118 courses on sustainability from various universities here. You can also opt for in-person courses that various universities offer. For instance the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cambridge provides courses and seminars on sustainability throughout the year. Whatever your current understanding of ESG and sustainability is, you can find a relevant course to pursue and enhance your skill.

Network and Engage in ESG and Sustainability Communities
Networking plays an important role in any job search, and the realm of ESG and sustainability careers is no exception. Connect with professionals already working in sustainable industries through industry conferences, seminars, workshops, and online forums. Engage with sustainability communities and organizations to expand your network and gain valuable insights. You can also reach out to practising professionals on LinkedIn to understand trends they follow and seek their guidance. These connections can provide guidance, mentorship, and potential job opportunities.

Target ESG and Sustainability Conscious Companies
When searching for your dream ESG and sustainability job, direct your focus towards companies that prioritize ESG, sustainability and environmental responsibility. Conduct thorough research on an organizations’ ESG and sustainability strategy. Companies publish sustainability reports which detail their sustainability initiatives, and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) performance. These reports help you understand their ESG and sustainability strategies and gauge their commitment. Many companies have dedicated sustainability departments or positions that focus on implementing and maintaining sustainable strategies. Bespoke your job search to these companies and align your application materials with their values. Knowing a company’s sustainability strategy and initiatives will also help you succeed in your interviews. Be conscious of companies that may be undertaking superficial initiatives.

Here I share links to Aviva(Sustainability Reports) and John Lewis (Sustainability Strategy) as a reference.

Highlight Your Sustainability Skills and Accomplishments
When applying for a job, highlight your sustainability skills and accomplishments on your CV, cover letter, and during interviews. If the role is an entry level position, showcase your interest in the area and the specific company. It is also important to bring out relevant experience (e.g. data analytics, project management, communication), projects, or initiatives that demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and that will also help you position better for the role. Employers often seek candidates who can drive positive change and offer innovative solutions to environmental challenges.

Leverage Online Resources and Job Boards
Make the most of online resources and job boards that focus specifically on green careers and sustainability-oriented positions. We are passionate about ESG and Sustainability and share jobs specifically focused on ESG and sustainability. You can subscribe to our newsletter here. Additionally, there are popular sustainability focused websites such as Sustainability Magazine, ESG Today and Edie, which provide information on ESG and sustainability. Regularly monitor these platforms and job sites such as ours for new opportunities that align with your career goals.

Stay Informed and Adapt to emerging trends.
The landscape of ESG and sustainability is constantly evolving, with emerging technologies and practices shaping the future. Stay informed about the latest trends, advancements, and policy changes in the green sector. Engage in continuous learning and professional development to stay ahead of the curve and position yourself as a valuable candidate in this rapidly growing field.

Discovering and securing a job in sustainability requires dedication, passion, and a strategic approach. By understanding the sustainability landscape, assessing your and building your skills and knowledge, networking with industry professionals, targeting environmentally conscious companies, highlighting your sustainability expertise, utilizing online resources, and staying informed, you can significantly increase your chances of landing a rewarding position in a field that is making a positive impact on the planet.

Good luck with your job search!

*Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, Spain, UK and US

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