Posts tagged ‘recession’

More Insight from Net Impact

From Net Impact SF’s site, in regards to last week’s green jobs event:

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What a success! Last night we had over 60 RSVP’s and 2 great speakers that left the crowd in an upbeat and hopeful mood. Leonard Adler of Green Jobs Network and Christina Gilyutin of Bright Green Talent were there to assure us that there are jobs out there…we just need the right tools and strategies to sniff them out!

You’re good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it! People like you!

The burden of finding a job is not only like dating with its many high expectations and low results, but many of us feel like we need therapy just to get through it! How many resumes do we have to send into oblivion via Craigslist/Career Builder/Hot Jobs/Monster before we get a break? According to Christina Gilyutin, Director of Development and Chief Career Counselor for Bright Green Talent, we need to stay positive and remember that we are smart and talented, we just need to find strategies so that we are seen. Leonard and Christina helped the crowd to stay positive with some inspiring tips on finding a job.

Tips on how to be noticed: Networking

  • Volunteer to meet people or become a leader of a group, this not only helps you to meet new people, but it shows that you have initiative
  • Join affinity groups such as Green Jobs Network (www.greenjobs.net), Net Impact (www.netimpactsf.org) or SF Green Drinks (sfgreendrinks.org) which all serve to surrounded you with people who have similar interests
  • At networking/social events, TALK TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE
  • Comments from the crowd included using your every day activities as an opportunity to tell people about your interests, you never know who you’ll meet!
  • Another suggestion from the audience was to organize dinners with friends and acquaintances who have similar/related career interests
  • A Net Impact leader mentioned that he found his job by talking to people in his field of interest as a peer, which resulted in a job! Confidence pays! He continued to say that if you’re looking for a job in sustainability, you need to find a 3rd vector to define your niche. Green + Business isn’t specific enough. Are you into design, procurement, logistics, materials science, …? The more specific the better.
  • Be a connector! Link people to others, they will likely return the favor!

Get Strategic! Leonard Adler of Green Jobs Network highlighted 3 points for us to remember:

  • Follow the Venture Capitalists! They might want to fund your idea!
  • Follow the money! Where is the government funneling money right now? To Green projects! Find out what kind of projects and to which companies the funds are going.
  • Follow the law! What laws have been passed recently? How does this legal change relate to my industry of interest?

Online Tips:

Spend only 10-20% of your time online for your job search and use the rest of that time giving your elevator pitch to new networks. While job boards are great, try to find job boards with a clear focus on your industry of interest such as Treehugger.com. There are a lot of Green job boards out there! General job boards can be more competitive due to their high amount of traffic and tendency to cover a broad number of industries. Also, try your old university’s job board, they often post jobs for alumni.

Need help with your resume?

Did you know about the Job Forum? The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce holds an event every Wednesday evening (6:30 to 8:30) called the Job Forum where they provide feedback on resume writing and give advice on job hunting http://www.thejobforum.org/.

What if I don’t have experience?

Try interning, its not just for the 20-somethings! If you don’t like that idea, try volunteering. Many businesses would love to have you work without paying while you gain valuable experience.

Seek Professional Help!

To learn more about Bright Green Talent’s Career Counseling Services, please visit http://www.brightgreentalent.com/

July 13, 2009 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

Update: Waxman-Markey, Stimulus Dollars, and Green Jobs Training

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

Watching this one minute video review of the energy bill in the House, one word resonates again and again: jobs. The potential for job creation in moving towards a clean energy future has become a rallying cry for proponents of the Waxman-Markey Bill — because who can argue with job creation when unemployment has officially hit 9.5% nationally?

In the past couple weeks, the Labor Department announced $500 million in grants for green jobs training programs. States and cities have also started to distribute stimulus dollars for training programs. If you’re interested in who’s getting funding and how, sign up for updates from Green for All — they’ve been giving a number of conference calls to keep folks in the loop and share information nationally about training programs. Most of the money that’s being doled out focuses on helping blue-collar workers transition into the green economy — providing “pathways out of poverty” as the nation undergoes energy retrofits, solar system installation, and more.

But some concerns remain. Yesterday, the New York Times brought into question the effectiveness of retraining programs in giving trainees a leg up in the job search. As the Times wrote, “a little-noticed study the Labor Department released several months ago found that the benefits of the biggest federal job training program were ‘small or nonexistent’ for laid-off workers. It showed little difference in earnings and the chances of being rehired between laid-off people who had been retrained and those who had not.”

Hopefully, the green jobs training programs will avoid the pitfalls that have led to the concerns raised by the NYT article, and will lend a hand to folks from all backgrounds and work histories — we hear from a lot of people who are looking to transfer technical skill sets and haven’t yet found a clear pathway in helping them do so. We have to believe that, with all the energy and enthusiasm focused on the green sector right now, there couldn’t be a better moment for these programs to succeed in training the next generation of environmental leaders.

To that end, we’ll continue to provide advice and resources to our jobseekers (keep an eye out for Bright Green Seminars starting in the next couple months), and we’ll support our partner Solar Richmond as they seek stimulus funding to support their amazing solar installation training program.

Stay tuned… more exciting developments are surely on the way.

July 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm 1 comment

Giving Voice to Jobseekers: 3 Ways Companies Can Clean Up their Hiring Processes

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

As companies have emerged from recession-induced hibernation, shaken off hiring freezes, and started to cautiously advertise job openings again, they’ve found an entirely different landscape than when they did their last round of recruiting.

Jobseekers who’ve been haunting job boards for months have started to dive on any vacancy that they come across. Companies are seeing floods of barely-if-at-all qualified resumes come through and have found themselves trying to tackle the hiring process when they’re still hesitant about hiring, understaffed in their HR and other departments, and with vastly reduced recruiting budgets.

We speak with hundreds of candidates each week who’ve been on the other side of this stunted hiring process — most have sent in a resume and never heard back, and a few have made it through up to 8 rounds of interviews before the company decides they’re not ready to hire.

Here are a few symptoms and solutions for making the hiring process run more smoothly in this economy, and for ensuring that bridges aren’t burned between high-quality candidates who might still be interested in a company when the economy picks up.

1. The Mountain of Resumes
The problem: Companies are getting swamped with resumes every time a job is posted. Jobseekers whose background is totally irrelevant to the job description are sending in resumes because they’re desperate and “it’s worth a shot.”

The outcome: Increased time spent on reading through resumes, decreased percentage of quality applicants, and a strain on those in charge of the hiring process (HR and recruiters). Those who are high-quality, relevant candidates are wondering why they’re never contacted and start to form negative perceptions of the company. More people call up demanding to know what’s happened to their resume. Lots of time and energy is wasted.

Solutions:

  • Write a tighter job description that gets into the nitty-gritty specifics of what a candidate has to have done (not “could do”) in order to qualify for an interview. Some applicant tracking systems allow you to create these applications online and will sort the responses according to whether the job seeker fits your description — this will automatically sort the “best fits” to the top where you can read them and get back to them promptly.
  • Require more documents for your application — such as a cover letter, two writing samples and a resume, or a couple mini-essay questions built into your website application. Creating a slightly higher bar will make jobseekers reconsider as they
    “spam” out their resume — and as people are asked to communicate why they’re a good fit for the specific job, they’ll make your determination easier as you read through their application.
  • Encourage employees to use their networks to get referrals. A lot of companies are hiring quietly right now without posting a public job description simply due to lack of time and money to put towards a full-blown process.
  • Hire a third-party recruiter to read through all the resumes and present you with the strongest fits.

2. The Lack of Communication
The problem: We often joke with our candidates that applying for jobs online seems like dropping a resume into a black hole — unfortunately, this joke has lost some humor in recent months as the majority of our candidates say they have 10+ applications out that they’ve never heard any indication on.

The outcome: Again, bitterness. Candidates pin the unresponsive company as lacking humanity or basic etiquette and spread that impression. Won’t apply for positions in the future because they feel like their application is falling on deaf ears.

Solutions:

  • Reject people, early and often. After meeting lots of folks who’ve told us they applied online for one of our positions and never heard back, we’ve started a strict policy of rejection when we don’t see a fit for a role. We go through every few weeks or month and shoot a batch note to the candidates we’ve reviewed and deemed not a fit to let them know that their qualifications aren’t quite right. You wouldn’t believe how appreciative people are to just know what their status is — they often thank us for rejecting them. If they’re talented and just not right for this role, they’re more likely to keep applying for other positions because they know it’s a dialogue and not a black hole.
  • If you don’t want to send a note every few weeks, at least send a blast to all applicants when the position has been filled to close the loop.
  • For less personalized updates, have your CEO or someone in the company write the occasional blog post on the state of the hiring process, whatever it may be — still looking, reviewing applications, rethinking the role.

3. Dragging Out the Hiring Process
The problem: Candidates are telling us that they’ve been through 5, 6, 7 rounds of interviews with an organization before being told they’re not the right fit — or worse, a couple have simply just never heard back from the company after such extended dialogue.

The outcome: We know that companies are unsure of budgets and anxious to actually take a step towards growing out their teams, but the risks of these messy processes are serious.

Candidates get very emotionally tied up in the prospect of potentially getting an offer, and the more they get to know everyone in the office, they more angry and hurt they are when after several months of interviewing, they’re turned down or told the company has decided not to fill the position. Your champions – people so passionate about your company that they wanted to work for you – may now perceive your company as disorganized and unclear on goals. Word from the disenchanted interviewee spreads, and the negative effects on brand can be serious. You may also inadvertently lose great candidates because you can’t get your act together – and it will take time and resources to woo them back after they’ have a bad experience.

The solution
:

  • Figure out if you are in a place to hire. Then check twice. Do you have the money for salary? Is it a priority for the company, or do you just want to see who’s out there?
  • Sit down with your team ahead of time and carefully design the metrics against which you’ll measure candidates. Clearly define the hiring process- who candidates will talk to, for how long, in what context, and in what order. Set deadlines, and do your best to meet them.

June 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm 1 comment

Bright Green Survey Results: Jobseekers Willing, Waiting, Wondering

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

We recently surveyed 430 jobseekers who are interested in moving into the green sector. A couple of the statistics from our results stand out:

  • 50% of respondents are currently unemployed
  • 61% have a Master’s or PhD
  • 40% have an annual income higher than $80k; 24% have an annual income higher than $101k
  • 83% have previous experience or some training/experience that would be relevant to a green company
  • 69% say one of the strongest barriers to getting into the green sector is the lack of available jobs
  • 41% say lack of proper training is a barrier to entry

With all the talk about green collar workers (blue collar jobs in the green economy) and the stimulus money that has been allocated to green workforce development, little attention has been paid to the demographic in this survey: highly-qualified, well-educated people that are willing and ready to move into the green sector.

So what’s the hold up? What are the challenges they’re facing as they try to channel their skills and background towards the green sector? Beyond the 69% who say there just aren’t enough green jobs (because, realistically, there aren’t enough of any kind of job right now, with unemployment rates at over 9% nationally), 41% of our respondents said they don’t have the proper training and 33% said they just don’t know where to look.

What this illuminates is a basic need for training programs and clear direction for jobseekers on how and where to find green jobs. In fact, this only reinforces our own anecdotal understanding of the state of affairs — people come to us every day just wondering how they can get into a sector that’s seeming daily more and more like a mirage. Of late, there’s more frustration in their voices, and people are wondering if all these green jobs evangelists are really just snakeoil salesmen.

But after two years in this space, we remain confident that the jobs are not an illusion — if they were, we’d pack up shop and head elsewhere rather than leading people on. The immense sense of hope and optimism hung upon green jobs was multiplied exponentially by the state of the economy and soaring unemployment rates. Yes, the sector is still growing even despite the economy (confirmed by a recent Pew report) and green companies are hiring, but not at a rate that can keep pace with the demand created from hundreds of thousands of people that have suddenly flooded into the sector.

The take-aways? Our same old line: there might not be a green job for you right now, but in 6 months or a year, when the dust settles from the economic collapse, there will be. The stepping stone in between, and how you’ll succeed in separating yourself from the crowd when that time comes, is training and preparation.

We’re not saying you’re not willing — over 30% of respondents said they’d take a week for training in greenhouse gas accounting or energy audits, and another 30% said they’d take a month. Most were ready to put up somewhere between $100-$1000 for the training.

Bright Green Talent and some of our partners are working on creating and facilitating training to help you get on the right path. In the meantime, there are lots of great resources to help you learn and network as we all ride out the storm. Hang in there — opportunity and a clean, prosperous future are waiting on the other side.

June 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm 4 comments

Students and Recent Grads: Unemployed? Get busy!

We read marketing guru Seth Godin’s blog every day, and today’s struck as particularly salient – he notes that just 20% of 2009 college graduates who applied for jobs actually have one. His prescription (below) largely coincides with a piece of advice that we repeat ad nauseum: while there might not be green jobs (or jobs at all) at the moment, there will be in 6 months or a year or two years, and you should be ready. Spend this time getting yourself ahead of the pack by volunteering, studying, training, networking. Here are Seth’s thoughts:

Graduate school for unemployed college students

Fewer college grads have jobs than at any other time in recent memory—a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers annual student survey said that 20 percent of 2009 college graduates who applied for a job actually have one.  So, what should the unfortunate 80% do?

How about a post-graduate year doing some combination of the following (not just one, how about all):

  • Spend twenty hours a week running a project for a non-profit.
  • Teach yourself Java, HTML, Flash, PHP and SQL. Not a little, but mastery.
  • Volunteer to coach or assistant coach a kids sports team.
  • Start, run and grow an online community.
  • Give a speech a week to local organizations.
  • Write a regular newsletter or blog about an industry you care about.
  • Learn a foreign language fluently.
  • Write three detailed business plans for projects in the industry you care about.
  • Self-publish a book.
  • Run a marathon.

Beats law school.

If you wake up every morning at 6, give up TV and treat this list like a job, you’ll have no trouble accomplishing everything on it. Everything! When you do, what happens to your job prospects?

June 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

Routine, Structure and Staying Positive: The Job Seeker’s Trifecta

Christina headshotPenned by Christina

Stick to your routine. Do you usually work-out in the mornings or wear a suit to work?! If so, keep doing it! The NYT agrees with this one.

Set-up an ASG* (Accountability Support Group.) If you have friends or acquaintances also looking for a job, set up a “check-in group” to bring structure and accountability into the process. You’d be surprised how motivating it is to have a friend ask you, “So did you call those 3 people you said you would?”

Stay positive. I know you have heard this about 1000 times but for the 1001st time, I’d like to add that you should find something that is uplifting that you can come back to as needed. That could mean joining a soccer league that gets you out running around on grass and really feeling the “team spirit” again. But it can be even simpler that that… My own personal choice for a 5 minute pick-me-up is listening to a story or two from This I Believe on NPR.  Hearing others share stories of dealing with obstacles much more harrowing than your own can put your own situation in perspective, help you feel grateful for all that you DO have and restore your energy to keep on keepin’ on!  Try a few and see how you feel!  (Send me your favorites!)

* Don’t worry, this is a made-up acronym…you aren’t behind on some fancy new lingo or anything.

April 14, 2009 at 6:44 pm Leave a comment

“Extra! Extra! It’s Not All Bad News!”

dsc_1294-1Penned by Nick

So I admit it, I’m a news junkie. My fiance is quietly considering putting me into therapy for information addiction disorder. Its got me by the brain, (quickly deteriorating) eyes, and mouse-clicking finger all at once. Worse yet, I don’t want to kick the habit. I crave information and news 24/7.

Just as everyone’s nearing total burnout on the never-ending news stream of bad news, I’m finally feeling in control. It’s weird, but the more I consider it, the more it makes sense. The world’s changing fast right now — particularly for job seekers. Entire industries are rising and falling by the week, and with them, the fortunes of millions of people. The bad news is already a known quantity–it’s the good news that keeps me reading and positive.

At a time when the only certainty is change, I’ve come to enjoy the little news stories that feature people doing positive things with unfortunate events. Consider the new crop of DJ’s popping up in local clubs, or the unemployed who are discovering their thespian talents.

Another small factoid: I consider myself a pessmistic planner with an optimistic outlook. Yes, times are tough, but I’m convinced that from all the penny-penching and thumb-twiddling will come something greater: a cultural renaissance. That the arts are enjoying a newfound constituency in the unemployed is, I believe, a newsworthy story. Out of misfortune and hard times tradtionally come great ideas and a newfound inspiratoin. It’s a story as old as time, but easy to forget. For those who have, join me, and “read all about it“.

April 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

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