Stay green during your job search

Don’t believe everything you hear — it’s very easy being green, especially if you’re looking for a job.

In fact, career counselor Steve Langerud says it’s hard not to be environmentally friendly when looking for a job. “Between submitting résumés with a PDF, online applications, Skype interviews and tools like LinkedIn, the carbon footprint of the job-seeking process is shrinking every day,” says Langerud. Just think — even your thank-you notes have gone digital.

But don’t pat yourself on the back just yet — you can always do more.

No, this doesn’t mean skipping the shower before your job interviews to save water, and it doesn’t mean biking to visit an office 20 miles away. There are more realistic green practices to try, and they won’t do anything to limit how successful your job search is, according to Langerud. If you’re the right person for the job, that won’t change, and your success won’t be limited “green” companies.

“No matter what green tools, tactics or strategies you select to use, people still hire people,” says Langerud. “The other tactics that save time, energy and natural resources work with every employer. They will never put you at a disadvantage in the job search process.”

Is your job search as green as it can be? Consider the following:

Put less on paper
If it’s unclear whether or not you need to submit hard copies of your documents, Langerud suggests asking if electronic copies will work. And if you’re looking to order some business cards, consider ordering less than 1,000 at a time, especially if you have an idea of how many outdated cards you’ve got lying around.

Print only what you need to survive
Résumés don’t grow on trees so do your best not to print them out en masse — they should be tailored and updated regularly anyway! The same applies to writing samples and cover letters.

Let’s get digital
You still have information you need to share, so consider setting up an online portfolio featuring samples of your work rather than having items you regularly print and distribute. Want to get crafty? Langerud suggests handing out a simple business card with a QR code or link to your résumé, portfolio or personal website.

Consider your commute
That’s right — being green is as easy as keeping your commute in mind. Look locally or consider jobs you’d be able to commute to using public transit. Throughout your search, Langerud suggests asking yourself, “Is this an area that I can bike to three days a week, or work from home three days a week?”

Look for a company that gives back
This doesn’t mean finding a company that accepts documents electronically. As Langerud notes, “Transactions are just the tip of the iceberg.” Do your research and find a company that gives back or one with environmental issues on their minds. Think about everything an employer has done to create a low impact or green working environment or simply support a company that fosters green developments.

Give a hoot
If you actually care about green issues, you’ll make some realizations on your own and incorporate them as you look for a job. “You can’t pretend to be green during your search if you’re not green in your life,” says Langerud, “and I think we can’t sustain behaviors that aren’t core values.”