How to land a job in climate tech

Climate tech is a niche industry and requires specific strategies to get a job in.

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Last week, we outlined some reasons why a role in climate tech is a smart move for engineers seeking more meaning and purpose at work.

It’s unlikely that the perfect role is going to come to you; however. You’re going to need to put in the time and effort — which is understandably tough for people with busy schedules.

We put together this collection of tips to help you stay focused and execute.

1. Stop making excuses for why you can’t do it

What if you have no previous experience in climate tech? What if you haven’t taken a single environmental science class? Don’t rule yourself out. Your skills could be the perfect fit for the right role.

Instead of worrying about why you can’t make a transition into climate tech, shift your attitude to finding an employer who will support your transition.

“Since so many of us in climate have come from tech (myself included), there has been tremendous support from all corners of the climate community to welcome and assist tech workers interested in making the leap," explains Jonathan Strauss, CEO and co-founder at Climate Draft, a coalition of climate tech companies and VCs, in an article for Business Insider.

2. Don’t expect recruiters to find you

Unlike larger companies with in-house and external recruiting forces (i.e. budget) to deploy campaigns on LinkedIn and other employer branding platforms, climate tech startups may be a bit more behind the scenes.

Just because you’re not receiving an influx of messages on LinkedIn doesn’t mean the jobs aren’t out there. But you’ll need to look beyond your inbox.

At the time of writing this article, there were 5,205 jobs posted on the Climate Draft job board. Remember that your objective is to find just one job, in an ocean of many, that’s right for you.

3. Explore climate-tech focused job boards

Climate Draft isn’t the only resource to help job seekers find careers in climate tech.

As the industry continues to heat up (bad pun), so will the economic movement that ensures continuity of life on our beautiful planet. Unsurprisingly, indie platforms are emerging to help people apply for jobs—and why not? Recently, on the Stack Overflow Podcast, we interviewed one entrepreneur who bootstrapped his niche job board business to $60,000 per month.

Looking for a great job board? Here are some options to help you get started:

Keep your eyes open for more job boards and communities to spring up. As interest in climate tech grows, so will ancillary organizations. If you don’t have time to spend searching on Google, you can try ChatGPT or follow people talking about climate tech jobs on LinkedIn (like this awesome VC, Taj Ahmad Eldridge, who regularly shares insights about sustainability investment trends).

4. Follow the financing

You can streamline your job search by going directly to VC firms. Many will feature their portfolio companies and open roles.

When browsing through VC firms, it’s helpful to know what stage of company you’re targeting. You may also want to dig deep into your VC’s values and reputation to see if they align with the purpose that you’re seeking out.

Climate Tech VC is a helpful resource where you can browse investors and access a range of educational resources about the market. Crunchbase is another platform to learn about investors and their portfolio companies.

As you research venture financing and deal flow, keep your eyes open for VCs who demonstrate a clear commitment to protecting the environment. If you find investors or firms that interest you, you can consider signing up for their email list

5. Join a cohort-based community

Especially if you’re working at a job that makes you feel unhappy—or you’re recovering from the emotional setback of getting laid off—it’s a great change of pace to step outside of your comfort bubble. Peer-based learning experiences can help you gather new perspectives.

One helpful resource is Terra.do, which is a global professional network. There are a range of online courses for building new skills, in addition to forming a new professional network. Terra regularly hosts virtual career fairs where job seekers can meet employers.

Independent communities seem to be popping up everywhere, which makes sense given the passion people feel for protecting the environment. Check out The Impactful, which recently launched this Climate Career Toolkit.

6. Create your own job by building direct relationships with employers.

Climate tech is, to some extent, a nascent ecosystem—a new economic movement that people are building from the ground up. The foundational objective is, at its core, to make the planet safely inhabitable for more people, for more time.

As with any new movement, people are figuring their stuff out. Founders, especially, may not be aware of the roles for which it makes sense to hire. If you’re a particularly talented tech-human, there’s nothing stopping you from reaching out to the founding team, saying hello, introducing yourself, and sharing the skills that you bring to the table.

You may find that newer company cultures, especially at the early startup stages, are open to hearing from prospective talent — especially since they don’t have recruiting budgets. You’re actually saving them time by proactively reaching out.

Stay focused on the big picture

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made up of the world’s leading climate scientists, recently published the sixth and final part of its report. The message is simple, direct, and clear.

“This report is a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe,” said António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General. Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.”

The IPCC is also optimistic that a warming limit of 1.5 degrees is entirely possible by means of focused, collective action.

How’s that for motivation?

If you end up pursuing a new role at a climate tech startup, you’ll likely need knowledge-sharing infrastructure at your company to make fast engineering decisions. Learn how Stack Overflow for Teams can help.

Login with your stackoverflow.com account to take part in the discussion.