2011 Career Choices in Clean Tech

Central to your career success and satisfaction is your ability to best position yourself to successfully compete for career choices that fit your values and aspirations.  Responsible career choices can be found in all industries, but several indicators suggest that responsible career choices in clean tech are likely to be growing in 2011.  For example, venture capital investments in clean tech increased by 43% in 2010 over 2009.  According to redfishtech.com, these VC investments were primarily focused on solar energy, energy efficiency, biofuels, smart grid, and transportation.  In addition, a recent trends report published by CleanEdge provides valuable information that will help you design and implement a career planning strategy to best compete for future Clean Tech Jobs in the US and globally. According to this report, the best spots for a clean tech career in the US remain in California, including the Bay Area (1), Los Angeles (2), Greater San Diego (7), as well as the Sacramento area (15).  On the east coast, clean tech hot spots include the Boston area (3), as well as the New York-New Jersey region (4). The fifth spot went to the Denver area.  Of course, a growing number of clean tech career opportunities are available throughout Europe (most notably in Scotland, Denmark, and Germany), as well as in China and the Middle East.

What can you do to best position yourself to best compete for these attractive career choices?

Career Tip #1 - Articulate your strengths and preferences.  The more specific you are in terms of your career goals, the more specific the advice, contacts, and information you will receive in return.  Instead of stating 'I would love advice on how to get started in building a career in clean tech', go further in providing specifics about what your preferences, skills, and interests are.  For instance, say 'I am really interested in contributing my marketing and sales experience to increase the visibility and penetration of solar energy in the US Southwest.  What conferences, contacts, or events to you suggest that I attend to learn more about this field?'  The more specific you are in your elevator pitch, the better advice you will receive moving forward.

Career Tip #2 - Stay informed.  Professional associations, online groups through social media and networking websites provide easy ways for you to gain faster access to relevant information, as well as to connect with like minded professionals that you can both learn from and share information with moving forward.  In addition, I would recommend that you stay focused on consistently following the top 3 main outlets for your clean tech career choices of interest.  This will enable you to learn more about trends and topics that are most relevant to you.

Career Tip #3 - Get out there.  Whether by adding your interests and expertise areas on your LinkedIn profile, or by blogging on your subjects of interest, or by retweeting information that is aligned with your values and the type of contribution you want to make to our world, you will build your visibility as a knowledgeable and competent professional that is worth watching and following both in person and online.  Of course, beyond your online activities, it is central to your success that you dedicate time to build your in-person network by attending informal events or in-person conferences.  The more visible you are as an emerging or established professional dedicated to get business done better, the easier it will be for opportunities to come to you.  For ideas on conferences and job boards that might be of interest to you, see our previous posts here and here.

By combining your ability to articulate your goals with staying informed and getting out there, you can emerge as a top candidate for the clean tech career choices that will become available in 2011.  As always, I look forward to reading your comments and questions in the comment section below!

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