Today’s employer advice is from David Corsar, Manager, Career Development Programs at the National Wildlife Federation.
Q: Tell us about your organization.
Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest and most trusted wildlife conservation and education organization. What began as a conference to unite conservationists has grown into a federation that works closely with regional centers, state and territory affiliates, project offices, and partners across the country.
The National Wildlife Federation has a rich history of success in conservation and continues to be a strong voice for wildlife. The most valuable assets in achieving our mission are our employees, who exemplify our core values of collaboration, empowerment, inclusivity, mindfulness, and taking pride in our mission of “uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world.” At the National Wildlife Federation, our halls are filled with caring, committed individuals with a passion for the preservation and protection of wildlife and wild places.
Q: What advice would you give to people in midlife who want to transition to a green job?
No matter which sector of the green economy you are most passionate about – there are opportunities for new and experienced professionals to participate and thrive. Before jumping into the application process, do your research. Especially if you are making a drastic shift in job duties, reflect on your strengths, your skills, and your interests (there are plenty of free self-assessments nowadays to help guide this process). Check out the professional associations that are most relevant to your desired career path to learn about the current issues, laws, technologies, and influencers in the sector. Many of these associations also have job boards; review a handful of listings and see what skills, responsibilities, and other qualifications are required and recommended. You likely have many of these skills in your previous career, but you may also need to look into acquiring a certification or even enrolling in a degree program, depending on the sector and job level you wish to transition into. Finally, reach out to your network or through LinkedIn to talk directly to people who are doing the jobs that appeal to you. Nothing beats firsthand information!
Q: What are the skills that you believe will be required most in the short-medium term in your industry?
As a large nonprofit organization, we employ individuals with a wide range of roles and responsibilities – from wildlife biologists and naturalists to human resources specialists; environmental educators to lawyers; information technology specialists to community organizers; grant writers, data analysts, magazine editors, marketers and more. Some of the skills that are needed across the board include problem solving; teamwork and working across interdisciplinary teams; continuous learning and improvement; possessing a growth mindset; and a dedication to advancing equity and justice in the environmental movement. Rather than placing our equity and justice commitments and actions into a singular department or committee, we expect all employees to commit to deepening their understanding of cultural and systemic racism in the environmental movement and society as a whole and to embedding equity and justice into all of our organizational policies, practices, and programs.