The growing importance of sustainability in today's business climate has led to the emergence of new roles centred around sustainability and environmental protection. Professionals seeking such roles must equip themselves with a unique blend of skills. These skills, broadly categorised into hard skills and soft skills, are the key to succeeding in the dynamic landscape of sustainability professions.
While hard skills provide the technical know-how, it's the soft skills that often distinguish a successful sustainability professional. These are the interpersonal attributes that enable individuals to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. This article aims to delve into the significance of soft skills in a sustainability professional's resume and highlight some of the most sought-after ones.
Note: Remember, these soft skills are not a substitute for the required technical expertise. They are, however, an added advantage that can significantly bolster your sustainability credentials.
The nature of sustainability roles often places professionals in positions of influence rather than ownership. These roles require individuals to work across the organisation, raising awareness, securing buy-in, and driving accountability for shared environmental goals.
Such responsibilities demand not just a strong scientific and analytical foundation, but also the ability to educate, empower, and equip people across the business to own the sustainability agenda. The ability to spark cultural change, create internal movements, and build consensus among different stakeholders is what sets apart a successful sustainability professional.
Here are some of the most desirable soft skills for sustainability professionals:
Strong communication skills are crucial in conveying complex environmental issues and strategies effectively. They guide the understanding of environmental issues and the development of approaches to solve the problems. Good communication skills also help in making a compelling emotional case for sustainability, which, when paired with a rational business case, can drive real, lasting change.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Sustainability professionals often work with multiple teams within an organisation. Hence, the ability to work effectively in a team, collaborate with team members, and manage projects efficiently is highly desirable. The ability to hold space for transformation during group sessions or gatherings can help in fostering a sense of shared responsibility and commitment.
Problem-Solving and Innovation
The ability to approach environmental problems with innovative and efficient solutions is a valuable skill for sustainability professionals. A knack for analytically and creatively solving problems, coupled with an adaptable mindset, can help professionals navigate dynamic environmental challenges.
Leadership skills are essential for sustainability professionals, as they often need to mentor, train, or guide others1. Strong leaders can foster a positive work environment, delegate tasks effectively, and provide constructive feedback that drives growth.
Time management is a critical skill that demonstrates a professional’s ability to manage multiple commitments, organise their workload, and deliver results under pressure.
These are just a few of the many soft skills that can bolster a sustainability professional's resume. Other equally important skills include adaptability, project management, vendor management, outdoor skills, recycling skills, and technical skills.
Developing soft skills is not just about adding another feather to your cap. It's about gaining a competitive edge in the job market, increasing your chances of workplace success and opening doors to career growth. Employers appreciate candidates who can bring new perspectives, spark innovative ideas, and contribute to the organisation's growth. By investing time and effort in developing these skills, sustainability professionals can unlock their full potential and achieve remarkable career growth.
Showcasing Soft Skills on Your Resume
When it comes to showcasing soft skills on your resume, it's crucial to tailor them to the job at hand. Remember that each job will have its specific set of required soft skills, and you need to match those in your resume.
It's also important to back up these skills with experiences. For instance, if you're claiming to have strong leadership skills, provide examples of instances where you've demonstrated these skills in your past roles.
In the quest for sustainability, professionals are required to develop an integrated and holistic vision of the issues and present innovative and collaborative solutions. While technical knowledge and expertise form the bedrock of a sustainability professional's skill set, it's the soft skills that often make the difference.
So, whether you're a seasoned professional or a recent graduate seeking to break into the field of sustainability, make sure to highlight these soft skills on your resume. They might just be the key to landing your dream sustainability job.