THE BLOG
09/25/2009 08:05 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

In a JOBLESS Recovery Think 'Green Jobs'...to Get Back in the Black.

In the 90's, the expression "think outside the box" was the mantra, and it followed us into the new millennium. However, in 2009 and 2010, less new jobs will be created. So, you can think "outside the box" all you want, but if you don't have a job you might end up living in a box!

Everyone I talk to today tells me the same thing: "I have sent out hundreds of resumes, and I don't even get a single call." Why does this happen?

Part of the answer is that search engines including Monster.com, The Ladders.com, CareerBuilder.com and such... have redefined the way we find jobs--just as cable TV has redefined what we watch and how we get our news, how the i-Pod has redefined how we get our music, and how Starbuck's has redefined how we get our coffee.

People who tell me they are sending out resumes and not getting calls are spinning their wheels, not because they are not qualified, too old or too expensive. It's also not because they are not thinking "outside the box." To the contrary, they may be thinking too far outside the box.

Maybe the job you in your head--the one you want, simply does not exist anymore. Figure out what is new in our culture and in business, and create a resume to reflect that industry. "Sell yourself" to everyone and anyone. Some people think of "selling" as a dirty word. However, if you learn to "sell," you will never starve.

The problem is that those of you who are "unemployed" get too much advice and hear too many theories on resumes and cover letters, and what typeface to use, regular mail vs... e-mail. My goodness! Everything thinks they have the answer for you, don't they?

Guess what? Each job that you are applying for requires a different resume, tailored just for that job. Usually not completely rewritten, but just a change in the "objective," or a word or two that copies the "vocabulary" of the company to which you are applying. You can take the "vernacular" of that company directly from a company's website.

This will separate your resume from the thousands of other resumes coming in the door that have not been "customized." (Check out www.BulletproofYourResume.com on how to get a professional, bulletproof resume). Pick just two key ideas that you feel are the most important, or "key words," that it will pick up.

It's not the "kitchen sink theory" of key words on which everyone seems to be so high.

Here is my idea...Create a job that a company may not know it needs, and write directly to the President of the company. For instance, the HOT title of today is "Sustainability." Companies have a Chief Sustainability Officer. Although, I prefer the title I created: Chief Green Officer (CGO), who is the executive who initiates corporations "green" efforts with its customers, vendors and the public.

Never heard of such of job? Well, 10 years ago, who heard of a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)? I made up the "CGO" but believe me, someone will steal the idea and soon enough you will see this position in big companies. Even President Obama "had" a Green Jobs Czar--and he recently got the axe, in part because of Glenn Beck-- so there's one possible opening right there. Send your resume to the President!

Green is here to stay. It's not like the "paperless" efforts we have been hearing about for years, but everyone I know is still drowning in paper! Companies, big and small... are busy formulating their plans to be sustainable or "green."

Companies who have a "green agenda" will save money, which saves jobs. It's more than recycling; it's what you buy, what you sell to your customers and how you treat the earth. Every company needs or will need a "green" point person. How cool to be the first in a position that never existed before. It's not just good for a company's image- it's good for the bottom line.

I don't mean the obvious things like environmental engines, architect and interior designers. I'm referring to the "build green" or industrial designers that think green to create new products. I mean every company needs a "green conscience"--an advocate for their green conscience. What they are buying from their vendors, and what are they providing for there customers? Printing e-mails? Not at a "green" company you're not! Bottled water? Coffee cups? Who is catching all this wastefulness? The CGO of course!

Do you know at my company, our CGO will not let us re-order business cards! Can you imagine? Bring a lunch box, not bags- recycling is not good enough. It's a matter of going a step further. Turn off the computers at night.

Well, pull out your resume right now and re-write it to reflect the needs of a "green" manager for a company. Don't worry about not having the experience. No one else does either, so you are all equal--at least for the time being. It's new. It's like Starbuck's or the i-Phone--no one knew they needed it until it was created.

Be the first to have this type of job, be "green" in a green job. I dare you. Write your own job description, and then create the resume to match it. Explain to a company why they need such a job.

When the government started pouring money into green jobs, and when there is a government "Czar" of anything...jobs follow. (How did we ever end up with a Russian name for an emperor as part of an American nickname for a Presidential post?)

Green means lean! Green means a company cares about the future-- and its image. The future means we care about children, and caring about children is absolutely American. If you don't think that it's a priority in our culture, look in your closet and think how many 12 year old Chinese children it took to make those running shoes in your closet, or some of those clothes you may be wearing.

A Chief Green Officer is the moral backbone of an American business. All you need is a conscience and a computer to do some search engine homework. Go to Bang, Google, Ask, or Yahoo, and start to find out which green efforts companies near you are making. Start with the large companies that have a high profile and explain how they need an individual to spearhead this effort. Become the "green face" of that company.

As a headhunter, author, and TV journalist on the "Green Agenda," I have filled many green jobs specific to industries that manufacture and want to "think green" and want to manufacture sustainable products.

Let's take green to the next level, and see that every company has a green bean! Your business may not be large enough to have a Chief Green Officer, but it could have a Director of Green Thinking, or a "Manager of Green or Sustainable Resources, right? Get going with that resume and let me know what you think. Oh, and please don't "print" this article!

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You're always welcome to write me with your career dilemmas, and I'll answer you on this column.
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Disclaimer: The scenarios and events portrayed in this article are products of the author's imagination.
(c) Stephen Viscusi. All rights reserved. Article can be duplicated in part of full without author's permission.

Stephen Viscusi is the author of two books about jobs and the workplace. Charles Gibson from ABC's World News calls Viscusi, "America's Workplace Guru".

Viscusi is a TV broadcast journalist on jobs, a headhunter and resume spin doctor. His latest book, Bulletproof Your Job: 4 Simple Strategies to Ride Out the Rough Times and Come Out On Top at Work (HarperCollins) has been published around the globe in at least 9 languages including Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese.

Viscusi is also the founder of www.BulletproofYourResume.com.

Viscusi's headhunting and workplace advice is usually considered counter-intuitive to the conventional wisdom. Viscusi is not a career or life coach. To the contrary, his current book, Bulletproof Your Job has been described as the New Millennium's The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, and that's how Viscusi sees the workplace. He's your workplace General.

Each week, Stephen Viscusi volunteers his headhunting career advice to the world.
His disciples can be celebrities, politico, world leaders, heads of industry, and some are just ordinary people who write him for advice. It's like Tony Robbins advising Al Gore or Deepak Chopra advising Michael Jackson (wait, scratch that one).

Even you can get your own advice by writing to Stephen at stephen@viscusi.com, Facebook him or Twitter him at WorkplaceGuru.