Your Sustainability Team Contributions Can Land You A New Role in 2020

Note: these and many more ideas for transferrable skills can be found in Green Wisdom: A Guide for Anyone to Start, Engage and Energize a Sustainability Team.

We’re two months into 2020. You have volunteered on your company’s Sustainability Team for quite awhile, and you want to make a move and pursue your passion for the planet as a full-time role. You are ready to use your greatest skills to serve the world. Now is the time! 

It took effort and sacrifice, yet serving on your company’s Sustainability Team has contributed to the next step in your career. Each initiative your team develops and sustainability goal you helped to achieve could be the stepping stone to your next professional move. Through your participation, you have most likely cultivated transferable skills that fit exactly with what is needed for your next dream position.

What Did You Do?

Hopefully, you’ve kept records of what your team has worked on, the measurable results you produced, and most relevantly, your role in this work. While you reflect on past accomplishments and lessons learned, this is a great time to sit down and have a conversation with your team leader, or if you are the leader, several members of the team you led. Ask them to describe your role in the work and what they saw as the individual strengths you brought to the table. You may have developed critical skills that you aren’t able to see in yourself. 

To jog your memory, here are some of the common functions of a Sustainability Team:

  • Organize corporate campaigns and events related to sustainability
  • Work with the Sustainability Department to ensure that all actions align with the company’s overarching mission
  • Establish eco-friendly purchasing activities
  • Write grants to secure funding for sustainability initiatives and positions
  • Obtain certifications and endorsements that pertain to your company’s industry
  • Develop volunteer opportunities for your team members to make a positive impact on the climate both inside and outside the company
  • Create engaging and fun opportunities for your employees to learn about sustainability
  • Participate in waste audits and ensure compliance with internally set company sustainability goals
  • Establish communication avenues between your company’s executives and stakeholders, as well as a structure to share sustainability information and events

How did your efforts contribute to each outcome that the Sustainability Team achieved in the past? 

Collect all this data – from your colleagues, managers, executives and your own memory. Bring the transferable skills that guided your actions to the forefront and clearly communicate how your experience has prepared you for this new role. 

What are the Transferable Skills Related to a Sustainability Team?

Unsurprisingly, it depends. What was your role on the team? What did the team accomplish? And most importantly, what is the new position are you applying for? 

My Next Move provides a career search option that will highlight knowledge, skills, 

and abilities that will be crucial in your desired position. This will help you sift through your experiences and decide what to highlight and what to leave out. 

Here are some of the transferable skills you may have honed as a Sustainability Team member: 

  • Organizational: You organized meetings, solved problems, planned and implemented campaigns.
  • Interpersonal: You recruited new team members, resolved conflicts, and built community relationships. 
  • Management: You supervised budgets, created timelines, and prioritized projects.
  • Communication: You wrote marketing or public relations plans, spoke in front of audiences, and listened to feedback. 
  • Leadership: You shared newfound sustainability knowledge, motivated a team, and evaluated vendors.
  • Research & analysis: You planned baselines for sustainability goals, measured campaign outcomes, and developed metrics for future analysis.

Creating presentations, interfacing with contacts from different departments, coordinating initiatives with executives, and speaking in front of groups are all valuable ways for you, and everyone on the team, to grow transferable skills that can be applied to other roles. 

Sunya Ojure, Senior Manager of Sustainability at Salesforce, shares how the volunteers on Earthforce (the company’s special interest group focused on promoting sustainability and global good) uses the skills honed by participating to support and advance their careers. “Earthforce is such an incredible leadership and growth opportunity for people,” she expresses. “We see individuals growing their skill sets and building incredible cross-functional relationships that can be used to grow their network.” 

Participating on a Sustainability Team is an invaluable source of corporate and personal leadership growth that continues long after 5 o’clock. Whether you are looking internally within your company or using resources such as My Next Move or Glassdoor to pinpoint a new position, having a clear understanding of the skills and tools you can bring to your next position will create a lasting impression. 

There are ten more months left in 2020. You have the power to make them count!