7 steps to landing a sustainability job in the Covid era

by Shannon Houde

Last week recruitment specialists Acre released their in-depth look at how opportunities in sustainability are faring post Covid. Here are seven things to take on board if you’re looking to bag your next big role.

1. Climate change is the next big crisis waiting to happen – and companies get that now

It’ll be no surprise to hear that roles in sustainability and impact investment took a big hit during the crisis, with a 35% decline in advertised opportunities compared to pre-Covid.


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But don’t let that leave you despondent. Post-Covid 19 Acre expect to see sustainability pushed even higher up the agenda than before. The sudden shock of the pandemic has forced execs to take a long hard look at what might be coming next to threaten their business. And guess what? Climate change is top of the list.

2. Recruitment is already on the up

From that steep drop-off in opportunities at the height of the pandemic, the number of roles being advertised are already beginning to stabilise.

The great news for job seekers is that these roles are also coming from companies serious about sustainability too. That’s because hiring for any new role in the current economic climate comes with extra scrutiny, meaning those firms looking to bring new people on board have thought it through extra carefully.

3. Keep an eye out for new roles in resilience

The shock of the pandemic has left companies aware of the need for good solid contingency plans, and that’s led to the emergence of a brand new role, say Acre. The resilience or adaptability specialist.

A person in this role will likely act as a conduit between EHS and sustainability teams, and other business functions, such as HR, finance and operations, they say. They’ll focus on business continuity and creating a clear contingency plan in the event of a future crisis.

Innovative and forward thinking? This could be the ideal role for you.

4. Look to food, banks, and healthcare for the best opportunities

It’s no surprise to hear that the likes of apparel, non-food retail and hospitality suffered the most during the pandemic. And we’re likely to see further closures in these sectors in the coming months too, as the buffer of the government furlough scheme is removed.

For the best chance of finding a new role in sustainability right now, pay close attention to those sectors largely unaffected or – in some instances – buoyed by the virus. That includes food and drink, banking, and healthcare, say Acre, with specialists in these fields all positive that sustainability roles will continue to be prioritised in both the short and the long term.

5. To give yourself the best shot, brush up on your video interview skills

During lockdown companies had no choice but to carry out recruitment processes entirely online. And from what Acre discovered, that looks set to continue, even once face-to-face interviews can safely resume. Employers found the process more efficient and a great way of putting candidates on a level playing field.

For job seekers that’ll mean prioritizing video interview prep for the foreseeable future to ensure you stand out. There are lots of ways to do this: ensuring you familiarise yourself with the video software being used, having a practise run with friends or family, and making good choices when it comes to where you choose to have the interview.

For more tips click here for my advice on How to nail your Zoom interview.

6. Don’t rely on your technical skills to shine

There’s always going to be a place for technical expertise. Particularly when areas such as ethical trade, plastic reduction and biodiversity are all set to remain front of mind.

But these technical skills won’t be enough on their own. Post-Covid Acre predict that the ability to communicate well, negotiate new ways of working and juggle sustainability with commerciality, will be more important than ever before.

For job seekers that means highlighting a broad set of skills both on both your initial application and in interviews.

7. We can all expect roles with greater flexibility post-Covid

As Acre sums up in its report:  “If the last three months have taught us anything, organisations are realising that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to an efficient workforce.”

More flexibility in how, when and where we work could be one of the silver linings to lockdown. Employers have realised by adjusting working hours or offering remote working they can increase mental wellbeing without any loss to productivity.

For job seekers that could mean a far wider selection of roles to select from, as companies race to increase the autonomy they give staff.

Make the most of this new attitude by asking about any potential flexibility, such as remote working, even where not specified.

Navigating the jobs market post Covid isn’t easy.

But the good news for sustainability professionals is that, not only has recruitment in many sectors already stabilised, there’s a new appreciation across top execs of how vital it is to have people on your team that can help you plan for the next big crisis.

If you’d like to have a chat about how best to showcase your skills and adapt your approach, then why not book in a trial session with me? We can chat through your positioning, career, challenges and CV and work out whether further coaching could give you that extra boost you need.


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