Green Tech Job Hunt: Follow the Money

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treasuremapFollowing the money isn’t just a great way to track corruption to its source. It’s also a solid job search strategy.

And it can be a particularly effective way to find a job in industries, like clean tech, where most companies are somewhere in the start-up phase.

Who’s Getting the Dough

Green media sites like Greentech Media, CleanEdge, and CleanTechies regularly publish articles about who’s investing in whom. When a venture capital firm puts money into a start-up, some of that dough will pay people’s salaries. So by tracking venture capital investments, you can get a pretty good idea about companies in your focus area that are likely to be opening job requisitions soon. Then you can target your networking to try to get to know some people at that company.

As clean tech companies mature, many are hoping for a lucrative initial public offering, which provides access to shareholder capital that can then be used for expansion (and pays off the venture capitalists). A successful IPO can lead to hiring more people, thanks to the influx of cash. Again, targeting your networking to get to know people at companies planning or recently consummating an IPO can be a way to position yourself top of mind for a prospective job opening. Track IPOs by checking Hoover’s IPO Central.

Not All Money Comes from Private Investors

While venture capital investments and IPOs provide two easy-to-track ways to identify emerging job opportunities, you might keep your eye on other sources of funding, too—like the U.S. government.

This year’s stimulus bill will pump some $70 billion into various clean tech sectors. Check Recovery.gov to see how that money’s being distributed by category, by state, and by agency. Another great source is Govfresh’s energy feed, which provides a live feed of energy department news. (The site also includes feeds of other government agencies, including Recovery.gov.)

Keep an Eye on the Deals

In addition to tracking private and government spending on clean tech companies, keep an eye on deals. Has a utility just announced a new solar contract? Did a new wind farm just pass a regulatory hurdle and about to start construction? See news that an energy storage provider just inked a multimillion-dollar military contract? Read about a company’s expansion, the introduction of a new product, or aggressive new sales goals? These are all signs that the company may be hiring soon.

Your network can be another great source of information as well—another reason to join the community.

This is the fourth of a five-part series on clean-tech job search strategies by Frank Marquardt, author of The Solar Job Guide.

Read other articles about the Green Tech Job Hunt: Join the Community, Track the Trends, and Succeed with Clear Goals.

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