Tips for finding a green job

Joan Michelson, special to

WASHINGTON – We all dream of a job we enjoy, with people we like and being able to make a difference while earning a living too.

In the D.C. area, this is easy because you can work for the federal government or any of the many non-profits with offices here or in a corporate job where you can contribute to the better good.

If you’re into energy, the environment and sustainability, you’re in luck, because these job sectors are growing in leaps and bounds. Jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) pay on average 26 percent more than jobs in other fields. There are about 500,000 green jobs posted on in the United States right now and more than half of them are unfilled.

The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit research group, says the clean technology sector grew 8.3 percent between 2003 and 2010. The energy industry is also predicting 1 million to 3 million new jobs over the next three to five years, mostly due to the enormous growth of natural gas and advanced technologies.

Depending on your skill sets and passions, the green and energy sectors are some of the hottest job growth sectors. Here are some suggestions for taking advantage of these employment opportunities:

1. Define your goals: Ask yourself key questions, and develop a profile of your ideal job.

  • What are your passions?
  • What skills do you want to use?
  • What kind of people do you want to be around?
  • Do you need structure, like in a big company or government, or do you prefer a more nimble, creative, self-disciplined workplace vibe?
  • What skills and talents do you have today that would be valuable to an employer?
  • Does your r
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