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Driven By Impact: How to Sell Yourself to a Company

Your weekly recap + an exciting job seeker webinar!

Driven By Impact 🌱

Edition 27: October 19, 2023

Unlocking the Hidden Job Market: How to Sell Yourself to a Company Even If They Don’t Have a Job Posting

Are you weary of ceaselessly scrolling through job boards, only to find yourself still searching for that perfect career opportunity? The reality is that many job openings never make it to the public realm (some estimates say up to 70% are never posted). Instead, companies often rely on networking and personal connections to source their ideal candidates.

So, how do you sell yourself to a company without visible job openings? In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the secrets of the hidden job market, equipping you with strategies on how to network effectively and demonstrate your potential value to these companies.

Brendan, the founder of Climate People, recently met a job seeker who chose a unique approach to finding a job in climate. This job seeker is the inspiration for today’s blog!

Rather than submitting a traditional resume, this individual delved deep into researching potential companies and their products. Armed with this knowledge, he composed detailed messages to the CEOs, providing "unsolicited advice" on how to improve their products. They firmly believe in the principle that to ask something from others, you must first offer value yourself. Remarkably, this method yields an impressive ~80% response rate and around 50% result in engaging conversations and potential opportunities. Although this approach is time-consuming, its quality-driven results outweigh the investment. As the saying goes, if it's not demanding your time, you're likely not doing it right. Here’s a guide on how to follow suit:

Understanding Your Skillset and Market Mapping

Before you initiate any networking ventures, it's crucial to conduct a thorough self-assessment. What are your unique skills, experiences, and passions? How can you find your place in the climate industry.

We’ve written a lot on this, here are some more guides on how to do this well:

A condensed version if you don’t have the time to read back through previous guides:

Do this by scrolling through the different climate sectors and seeing which pique your interest. Once you've identified your niche, investigate companies that resonate with your values and where you see a place for your to make an impact. The objective here isn't to scout for job openings, but rather companies where you feel you could be a valuable addition to their team.

Seems elusive, but say you’re in marketing and come across a really cool company with a terrible website, no social content, and no non-technical people listed on their about us page. This could be an opportunity for you to help them! These are the types of companies you want to be flagging at this step in the process.

Another example, if a company lacks a policy person and actively seeks grant funding, and you have relevant experience at a similar start-up, it's your chance to sell the unique value you can bring.

Articulating Your Impact Statements

Before reaching out to companies and initiating networking conversations, ensure you have a clear understanding of the impact you could make. Articulate your impact statements by highlighting your successful experiences and achievements. For instance, if you're intrigued by the intersection of biology and climate change grant writing, you should think through and be able to emphasize your ability to secure non-diluted funding for bioscience projects. These statements provide tangible proof of your potential contribution to the company.

What sets you apart? This networking conversation will be your opportunity to show them the tangible value you can add to the company. Have examples of previous work and be able to apply this to the company you’re talking with. It’s your job to research the company and come prepared with ideas/suggestions and once again, concrete examples of how this has worked for you in the past. You need to immerse yourself into the company and directly relate your past experience to their products and tangibly show how you can help them! You can do this via email prior to reaching out or save it for the conversation - test and see which approach yields better results for you.

Doing your homework on both your skillset and the gaps that exist within the company is key to selling yourself during these conversations. Dedicate the bulk of your time to this step to ensure you have a strong grasp on your abilities before you even begin reaching out to companies.

Emphasizing Networking

Networking is your golden ticket to accessing the hidden job market. Dedicate at least 80% of your time to cultivating relationships with potential employers and 20% applying to jobs. Participate in industry-related events, become a member of professional organizations, and engage actively on platforms like LinkedIn. Networking is supposed to be fun and all about making genuine connections. It’s not critical to do every thing in this guide, rather, focus on the things that bring you joy and work for you!

Reflect back on your target companies and pinpoint a few people from each that you’d like to reach out to. It’s a good idea to go after people who you envision yourself working with. I.e. - if you’re an executive-level person, it would be smart to reach out to those in the c-suite. Whereas, if you’re more entry-level, you should target those with mid-management positions in your industry.

Recommended Outreach Template

Dear [name],

I recently discovered [company name] and I am truly impressed by the incredible work you do. My longstanding interest in [climate solution], combined with my experience and background in [something relevant], has fueled my excitement to connect with you.

I was wondering if you could spare around 20 minutes to tell me about [company name] and your role within it. I am keen to delve deeper into what you are building and offer valuable insights from my experience in [something relevant]. With several years of expertise in [your industry], I have accomplished significant milestones and believe I can confidently contribute to your endeavors.

I eagerly await your response and the opportunity to exchange ideas!

Best regards,

[Your name]

A real-world example that I, a marketer, would use if I were reaching out to the founder of Climate People about an opportunity:

Hi Brendan,

I hope you're doing well! I've been a follower of Climate People for a while now, and I'm always amazed by the incredible impact your small team achieves.

I'd love to grab 20 minutes of your time to learn more about your inspiring work. Additionally, I'd be more than happy to share some insights from my 5 years of experience in startup marketing. I know firsthand the challenges of developing a content and marketing strategy with limited resources, and I have a knack for efficiently getting things done.

Let me know what time works best for you, and I can send you an invitation. Looking forward to connecting!

Best regards,


Another strategy is being less direct in your outreach message and saving that for your networking conversation. A good template for this approach is:

Hi [contact’s name],

I've been a long-time follower of [company name] and greatly admire the impactful work you do [for x reason]. I wanted to reach out because you hold a position that I aspire to in the next five years. If you have a moment to spare, I would love the opportunity to gain insights from your journey and how you achieved such success.

Looking forward to connecting!

Best regards,

[Your name]

Use your network to introduce you to individuals associated with your target companies. Even connections that are a stretch are better than cold outreach. Maintain your relationships with these connections and offer to assist them as well so you don’t feel like your introduction is a big ask. Networking should be a daily function of your job even when you’re not searching, this way you’re constantly building a community of people that are on your side.

Timing: The Key Factor

Another thing to consider when trying to break into the hidden job market is your timing! It’s key to consider the companies’ funding stage and align your networking strategy with that timeline. From what we’ve seen, climate start up founders typically bring on their core technical hires in the early funding stages and bring on the more supporting roles later after they have secured more money.

For instance, if you're eyeing a Chief of Staff role, these typically become available during or after series A funding, you should narrow your company map to those with that amount of funding. Similar with product, marketing, sales, HR, and other supporting positions.

Whereas, if you a founding engineer looking for a new job, it might be smarter to target those pre-seed to series A companies. Your goal should be to emphasize your ability to build, scale, and hit the ground running with minimal oversight.

Funding stage is oftentimes public knowledge! You can also look and see what types of roles they have posted and gauge your positioning based on that. Networking conversations will help you pinpoint the various companies’ gaps and hiring needs so you can pivot the networking conversation and position yourself as a solution to their problems.

Real-Life Examples of Tapping into the Hidden Job Market

To better illustrate these strategies, let's delve into some real-life examples of individuals who successfully marketed themselves to companies without visible job openings. These are all people Climate People has worked with, made anonymous.

A Master of Connection

A grant person with a master's degree in genetic biology, aspired to work at the intersection of biology and climate change. They couldn’t find a position that perfectly aligned with their expertise. Rather than becoming disheartened, they chose to showcase their unique value – their background in securing non-diluted funding for bioscience projects. With this strategy, they were able to demonstrate how their skill set could benefit these companies, even in the absence of a defined role. From these conversations, they landed the job!

The Generalist with a Focus

A generalist with experience in customer success and process improvement, sought to find climate solutions where they could make an immediate impact. While their skills were diverse, they were particularly knowledgeable about cities, buildings, waste solutions, and sustainable mobility. Recognizing that generalists often face stiff competition, they decided to focus their search on smaller companies where their specific knowledge areas would be advantageous. By networking extensively and highlighting their niche skillsets, they were able to stand out and land the job despite it never being advertised.

The ‘Climate Recruiter’ Turned Marketer

And then there's me! I stumbled across a position for a climate recruiter. Even though I didn't have direct recruitment experience, I reached out to Climate People’s founder anyway. Throughout our conversation, I learned more about the climate jobs industry and was able to pitch my marketing skills as a valuable asset. This allowed me to carve out a unique role within the company and I started a few weeks later!

Thinking like a recruiter

At Climate People, we often encounter exceptional candidates even though we may not have an immediate job opening that matches their background. However, we maintain strong engagement with our current and past clients, enabling us to understand their hiring challenges and timelines thoroughly. If we believe a candidate would be a great fit for one of our clients, even if they haven't explicitly expressed the need or posted a job, we can share the candidate's profile and provide a compelling explanation of why they would be suitable. Countless of these job seekers have landed jobs in climate because of this! This showcases the value of working with recruiters and further supports why this approach is highly effective for job seekers.

These examples underline the importance of recognizing and selling your unique skills and passions, regardless of whether a job posting exists. The key is to identify potential employers, understand how your skills can add value to their operations, and then make your case compellingly. Remember, the hidden job market is waiting for you to unlock it. With the right approach, you could be just one networking event or email away from landing your dream role.


Join us for an exciting webinar where we unveil the 2023 Climate Job Seeker Playbook on 10/24 at 12 pm EST!

​The Climate People team invites you to explore the depths of the playbook, engage with fellow participants in breakout rooms, and have your climate job search questions answered.

​During this session, we will unveil our highly-anticipated 30-page how-to guide, equipping you with the essential tools for your climate job search. Gain exclusive access to our comprehensive playbook, covering a wide range of topics including:

​- Establishing a solid foundation for your job search
- Understanding the essence of a climate job
- Mastering networking techniques and templates
- Excelling in interviews with best practices
- Navigating offer negotiations successfully, and much more!

​Don't miss out on this invaluable opportunity to level up your climate job search.

→ Join us for a live workshop on "How to Become More Confident" in your job search, featuring esteemed life coach Katharina Hellman! Gain invaluable tips and tricks to overcome self-doubt, debunk career misconceptions, and elevate your confidence. Mark your calendars for the event on 11/13 at 11 am EST. We look forward to seeing you there!

→ Join Climate People on 11/9 at 12 pm EST for “Impactful Interactions: A Networking Workshop” event with Laurie McGinley. Even if you loath networking, you'll walk away feeling better about it with tools to tap into the opportunities that effective networking brings into your life. Register for the event here, you won’t want to miss it!

→ Missed last week’s edition? It was a jam-packed one! Check it out here.

Sign up for November’s “Breaking into Climate” session if you haven’t attended one yet! We go over the climate basics and help you set your job search up for success.

**We do not accept sponsors for this newsletter, all of these external promos are our genuine recommendations 💚**

→‍ Biden-Harris Administration Announces $3.5 Billion for Largest Ever Investment in America’s Electric Grid, Deploying More Clean Energy, Lowering Costs, and Creating Union Jobs. This is HUGE - read the press release.

→‍ Climate Tech VC, a climate economy news source, has a running list of Climate accelerators. This is a great place to do a market map of companies and pinpoint where you want to kickstart your networking.

→ Climate People’s friend Nicole Kelner recently launched her climate coloring book. Check it out and buy your copy here!

The Power of Passive Buildings: A Sustainable Solution to Energy Efficiency

According to Project Drawdown, the built environment sector contributes approximately 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. Passive buildings offer an energy-efficient solution while prioritizing indoor air quality. These buildings minimize energy losses with high-performing insulation, 3-pane windows, and advanced airtightness techniques. Performance-based energy standards by the Passive House Institute in Germany verify their efficiency. They use up to 80% less energy compared to conventional buildings.

Last week, Boston's Winthrop Center was named the world's largest passive house office, as reported by Canary Media. Comparable buildings in Boston consume 150% more energy than Winthrop Center's office space.

The adoption of energy-efficient lifestyles and passive buildings marks a turning point in reducing emissions in the built environment sector.


Reply to this email with a bit about your climate journey! We respond to each and every email we receive.

Have any feedback? We’d love to hear it!

Want to share your work/resources? Send it over and we will slate it for a future edition!

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➵ Are you ready to make a significant impact on the global climate crisis? Our client, a pioneering global technology and climate impact organization, is currently seeking a highly skilled and passionate individual to join their team as the Head of Business Development. This leadership role offers an unparalleled opportunity to shape business development strategies, manage global sales processes, and contribute to revenue generation in alignment with the company's strategic goals. Preferred candidates will have prior experience in at least one of the core segments: Financial Services, Carbon Project Market, Corporates with Supply Chain/ Land holdings, Carbon portfolios.

➵ Join a dynamic advisory firm that has secured over $1.7B in government funding, focusing on industrial decarbonization and clean energy programs. We're seeking a Senior Grant Manager who can lead the process of content creation. You'll manage the entire grant writing and submission process, develop impactful white papers, and strategize on how clients can address key policy goals. If you have a knack for crafting compelling narratives, a track record of successful grant proposals, and at least 4 years of experience in federal government grant or technical-policy writing, this is the opportunity for you. A degree in a hard-science or engineering domain is required.

Our client, a pioneering startup in the cultivated meats industry, is seeking a Process Modeling and Optimization Engineer to join their dynamic team. This role involves creating robust data pipelines, developing reliable control algorithms, and optimizing cell culture processes. The ideal candidate will have an MS or Ph.D. in a relevant field, experience in numerical simulation of dynamic systems, and expertise in statistical modeling. This is a fantastic opportunity for a self-motivated individual with a strong entrepreneurial spirit to work in a fast-paced, creative environment and play a pivotal role in the commercialization of next-generation bioreactors.

➵ Join an innovative global consultancy that's making a difference by helping companies secure large-scale grant funding for impactful climate solutions. As Lead Grants Manager, you'll leverage your expertise in grant writing and management to develop and scale high-impact projects. This role involves proactive collaboration with clients to refine project strategies, enhancing funding opportunities. You'll also coordinate with senior staff to bring forth top-quality proposals. Ideal candidates have at least 5 years of experience in a similar role, hold a BS in a scientific/technical field (advanced degrees preferred), and possess a strong understanding of the urgency to address climate change.

That's all for this edition! Stay tuned for next month's roundup. Thanks for doing your part in mobilizing a workforce transition to work on climate!J