Today is our last guest post by Carol McClelland, author of Green Careers for Dummies. If you have questions for Carol, visit our blog anytime today and ask her your questons LIVE! Thank you Carol for all your great widom and advice.

 

After gaining a basic understanding of your target green industry through online research, it’s time to reach out to your contacts. The people who are doing work in your target industry are your best source for up-to-date trends and industry information with a local/regional emphasis.
 
Whether you reach out to people in person or through online social networking methods, remember to keep your focus on your exploration of your target industry during the initial phases of your research. In other words, your goal is not to search out job openings at this point in your journey. Your job is to connect with people who can help you discover as much as you can about your target industry.
 
(1) Define your current research goal.
·         When you first begin your focus will be on understanding the industry in general.

·         Then your need for information becomes more specific as you begin to refine  

           your green career goal based on the information you are gathering.

·         As you build a picture of your target career, focus your networking           

          conversations on the topics where you have gaps in your own knowledge.

·         Eventually your research focus will shift to identifying companies that hire

          people with your expertise.
 
(2) Plan ahead. Review what you know about your contact. What can you discern about their background and work history that is relevant to your research goals? What questions can you ask to tap into their knowledge and experience?
 
(3) Know how you are going to describe your green career aspiration. Be as clear and concise as possible. If you aren’t completely clear yet, focus on the elements of your career goal that you are clear about.
 
(4) Be specific when stating your requests. As you ask your contact for information, referrals, and resources, state your need as precisely as you can. Rather than saying, do you know where I could network with others interested in green/sustainable business? Craft a specific question, such as, I’ve been researching various professional associations that meet locally. I’ve identify X and Y. Are you familiar with any other professional associations in this industry area that meet in our area? If they don’t know of anything, ask if they know someone who might.  
 
(5) Focus on building and strengthening your relationship with your contact. Don’t think of your contact meetings as a one time event. Establish ways to build an ongoing relationship.
 
(6) Keep your contacts informed of your progress and direction. Remember, your contacts are very likely to be the people who will point you to job openings that will fit your needs. To make sure you stay in their minds, be sure to be in touch with your contacts on a regular basis with updates of your progress. If you change or refine your direction, be sure to let all of your contacts know so they will know what resources, referrals, and job openings will be best for you.