Hinton Human Capital

6 critical skills needed to be a successful environmental professional in the global “green” economy

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The “Green” economy is on the way and America has a shortage of environmental professionals. As the stimulus package takes effect, companies will need these professionals to have well rounded skills and the ability to produce results. If you are looking to get hired early in the American economy's “Green” upswing, it is vitally important that your resume showcases your achievements, experience and skills in at least three of the following six skill areas:

1. The ability to create and manage business relationships: In the economy, money follows relationships. Top environmental professionals use their expertise and interpersonal skills to create beneficial relationships with the clients, stakeholders and sponsors of a project. While they may not always be the key person in the sales relationship, their ability to communicate technical information in layman's terms and management of expectations will play a critical role in delivering a successful and profitable product, service or solution.

2. Strong Technical skills: Top professionals will have to understand and execute basic and advanced skills required for their projects. The economics of the profession and a shortage of support staff are requiring that environmental professionals become “Seller/Doers” in a corporate setting or as an entrepreneur.

3. Financial Management: The “Green” economy will attract investment from many new funding sources. Environmental professionals will need a better understanding the financial objectives of their managers, clients and stakeholders. They need to know how to manage budgets and can present their ideas using Return on Investment (ROI), Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and other financial calculations. These skills will be important since many projects will require private investment and these investors will require higher level of financial transparency.

4. Management: Managing takes leadership, empathy, adaptability and diplomacy. Top environmental professionals will be concerned with managing people, processes and policy; efficient use of resources and ethical business practices. The “Green” economy will be global and these professionals will have to be adept at organizing tasks, managing people and interpreting the new domestic and international environmental regulations to deliver profitable projects. Their clients will implicitly trust their judgment to help them navigate the “Green” political landscape.

5. Strategic Leadership: Top environmental professionals anticipate new markets, customer needs and new applications for their product or service. For them, it is not enough to build the solution for today's problem but to develop the next generation of upgrades, patches and innovations before the market moves.

6. Foreign Language: The “Green” economy will be global. Those who can conduct business (Read, speak and write) in the native language of their clients will see great success. Particular languages to learn are Arabic, French, Mandarin, Russian and Portuguese and Spanish.

Stephen Hinton is the Managing Director at Hinton Human Capital, an Executive Search and Consulting firm.

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