WEBINAR: Barriers to Working on Climate Webinar — Q&A
1. Is climate career relatable to ESG only?
No! Any job that works to eliminate/remove or reduce the harms of carbon emissions can be considered a climate career. This can be anything from an ESG professional to a software engineer at a climate company and anything in between.
2. Can you expand on what you mean by worker knowledge of climate resources in the job hunting process?
I believe that you’re asking about the awareness piece. A lot of job seekers are unaware of climate resources and are using strictly traditional methods to find jobs. Climate People has compiled some of our favorite climate resources here and here.
3. How does a mission-focused, highly qualified candidate get traction with employers? Submissions to online job postings tend to go into a black hole of despair.
Definitely agree with you on this one. This is where networking comes into play — it’s absolutely critical. Join all the aforementioned climate communities (MCJ, WOC, Terra, CAT, etc.) and introduce yourself. Make genuine connections and leverage those connections as referrals.
4. What kind of jobs would have a better future, IT-related sustainability jobs or the domain related consulting jobs
This question is really subjective to the individual and their background and position. Everything in the climate space is rapidly changing and there seem to be lots of opportunities in both IT and consulting.
5. I graduated from university last year and received a BA in Environmental Science. I did two environmental internships, an environmental impact report, and a climate policy senior thesis during my undergrad. I am currently in a nonclimate job. I have been trying to get into climate jobs for almost 8 months. I haven’t been successful. Do you have any tips to be more appealing to job recruiters?
Check out this blog post on how to stand out to recruiters on LinkedIn.
6. Would you remind me of the name of Janet’s company, please?
7. Does this event apply to people who aren't interested in pursuing a career in climate tech but more in climate in general - e.g., Sustainability Consulting, climate resiliency/mitigation, etc.?
Absolutely! Climate and ClimateTech tend to intersect.
8. What was the name of that Slack channel?
- My Climate Journey
- Work on Climate
9. What would be your advice for finding roles for those of us that are more interdisciplinary… and not purely technical? - For example, I have aviation, operations, and product background, but really I’m a product/biz dev person: What is the best way to find those (perhaps) rarer job postings and to go after them in a focused way?
Check out the answer to question 19!
10. What are the best keywords to grab recruiters' attention for Linkedin profiles in this space? i.e. “Climate Product Designer”, “Designing for Behavior Change”, and “Designer for Renewable Energy Sector”.
This is highly subjective based on industry and job type! Here’s an article on how to find the most relevant keywords for your industry.
11. From my prior experience in the climate space, the majority of the climate companies/startups/resources are looking for mid-career than entry-level. How do organizations help support the entry-level?
A lot of climate companies are startups and are just beginning to grow their teams. It’s an expectation that people in these roles will hit the ground running. Generally speaking, you should not need a lot of upskilling within the role. There will be support from the industry/sector but the role itself requires someone with the expertise to come in the door on day 1. Therefore, they tend to be experience-heavy. We would recommend still networking and getting your foot in the door. Terra.do also offer courses to help you gain extra skills to make your application stand out.
12. Where’s the best place to find these ‘resources’ to get involved in the community? Is there a central location and any EU/UK based?
Climate People has compiled some of our favorite climate resources here and here.
13. What do you think that companies can do to NOT limit themselves (on the job supply side) in hiring? e.g., change in leadership attitude, stakeholder demands, market forces, etc?
Talk to your candidates! This is so often overlooked but it’s critical. You will quickly see what they are looking for and how you can adjust your services. Our survey showed that job seekers' top three considerations are salary, flexibility, and remote work.
14. A lot of folks seem to be learning about climate, the grid, etc in largely informal ways--conversations, podcasts, Twitter, etc etc. Do we need better norms for demonstrating this kind of informally-acquired knowledge on a resume or cover letter?
Interesting question! The selling your mission-alignment piece mentioned in the webinar revolves around showing your passion. Many companies would be delighted to hear that you are listening to podcasts, having these conversations, etc., and wouldn’t necessarily need formal documentation.
15. Regarding climate-related employment: for those of us without hard tech skills, programming/development, or similar tech-based background, how would you propose we find our footing in the climate employment community? For instance: I’m an attorney with 16 years of experience, a former judge, a political consultant, and a campaign advisor. The difficulty I’m finding is that employer requirements increasingly look for specific experience and domain expertise with hard skills within the climate ecosystem; I should like to believe there’s space for an experienced, credentialed soft skills generalist with a passion to align climate values with employment (see: like me!)."
We would recommend framing your experience and selling what you do have to offer. It’s typical for candidates to dwell on all the things that they don’t bring to the table. Rather, you should try to learn as much as you possibly can about the industry and sell that. Highlight that you excel in upskilling, have taken it upon yourself to learn x,y,&z, and are ready to apply your previous skillset to the climate arena.
16. I’m a designer and I feel like the competition for these roles will be HUGE. Is that a correct presumption? That there will be dozens of applicants for any role?
Climate roles are pretty competitive right now. We’d recommend applying and then following up on that application. Don’t let your application get lost in the shuffle.
17. What are the best virtual education platforms to acquire new skills to help the climate sector? I wanted to take a master's in sustainability (or something similar) and all reputable programs only had in-person classes which was a deal breaker for me.
Check out Terra.do!
18. Thank u for such an interesting discussion. My question is about specific functions within Climate-related areas. Do you see the demand for strategy functions to support companies in climate development? Do you know companies that are interested in people with strategic backgrounds?
The majority of climate companies are startups and many are looking for strategy/business operations people.
19. For those of us who have "softer" or non-technical skills and looking to work in business units like sales, marketing, communications or customer success (rather than more technical jobs) do the panelists have any advice on how to stand out and find those positions?
This question is really similar to the one that was answered live. Janet recommended framing your profile for what you are best at, your strongest skill set, and/or most interested in. Help the hiring manager see where you fit in.
20. How do you see non-FT roles playing into this? As someone who has extensive experience over almost 2 decades, I’m standing up a consulting practice.
Part-time roles play a significant role! Congrats on the practice! The slack communities are a great place to meet potential clients and offer your services.
21. Do you think there is a fit in the climate space for freelance/contract-based work? How do you recommend navigating that across these communities?"
Absolutely. There is space for every position in climate. Post your request and get advice from others. We constantly see people asking for freelance help Introduce yourself and monitor the channels to find work.
22. What is your advice to get into Sales/BD-focused climate roles with no previous experience in climate?
Network! Sell your experience and really try to get your foot in the door at climate companies.
23. Can you comment on skills you see that are needed in the Climate tech space? For example, how young people can focus on developing these skills?
This is really subjective based on the role/industry! We’d recommend finding job descriptions that you are interested in and taking note of the required skills. It’s also a great idea to speak with people in those roles and gauge what is important.
24. Thanks for this very interesting subject, as a recent graduate of environmental engineering, I would like to mention even with an academic backgraound it is not easy to enter climate jobs without previous experience unfortunately. I personally think maybe just by designing graduate positions, the climate job community would improve a lot.
Finding entry-level jobs can be tricky in every industry. We definitely agree - there needs to be more resources for those fresh out of college.
25. Glad to hear Joshua mention pulling in non-tech jobs. I am a librarian/archivist in higher ed who does some tech adjacent work and am interested in moving into a job that is less tech and more policy. Finding ways to transition into this work is difficult. I'd love to see more of those jobs on all the sites/apps represented on this panel!
Absolutely! We need people from every field. Every job truly is a climate job.
26. It feels a bit risky to join climate-oriented tech companies because many of these companies are in very early stages. Do any of you have any insight or resources to evaluate these early-stage companies?
Here’s an article we wrote on this very topic. It can seem risky, but funding stage isn’t the sole indicator of company success!
27. You guys have mentioned a few specific slack channels, forums, and websites to post on. Can you share a list of specifically how to find those?
Here you go!
28. Where does the panel see space for experienced entrepreneurs, that aren’t interested in VC-funded projects but want to contribute meaningfully?
Depending on your experience, you could act as an advisor to an early-stage company. This would be an opportunity to learn more about the space and would be a platform to contribute your entrepreneurial knowledge.
29. There is a handful of senior execs in the Terra cohort now who are curious about how to make the transition when you’re already senior. Top tips?
Network, network, network & leverage connections. As Janet was saying, find a way to frame your experiences so that they are relevant to the climate field.
30. Is anyone focused on folks whose jobs are most likely to disappear due to climate? We’ve done some prototyping around this @ mySociety: https://www.mysociety.org/climate/climate-prototyping/
Climate People has not looked into this, but it’s very intriguing.
31. I think that one of my biggest issues in landing a climate job is that nobody knows who I am. Any advice for someone aka me who struggles with networking (pandemic + social anxiety)?
This is a very fair concern and brings up a really good point. Maybe try slack messages rather than phone calls? Make sure your cover letter and resume are pristine so that you can be noticed without needing a referral. I’d also recommend brushing up on the hard skills to help sell your application. Also, easier said than done, but it oftentimes gets easier and less intimidating with practice.
32. How can a person coming from a public health background (fresh graduate) enter into climate tech and into what kind of roles?
I’d recommend checking out ClimateBase, they have lots of good positions for people who are in various different fields. As Joshua said, everything in this space is rapidly changing, I’d recommend meeting other health professionals in one of the slack communities and picking their brains about the opportunities.
33. Oh another general question: What podcasts are good for learning more about climate change
Climate People has compiled some of our favorite podcasts here.