FEBRUARY 28, 2022
Shaking Things Up: How to Position Yourself for a New Job in Solar
Solar energy has growing opportunities to land your dream job – not just “a job,” but THE job.
Whether you’re just starting your career or want to pivot your professional skills into something more rewarding, you don’t have to be a renewables expert to break into the industry. You simply need a strong resume, the right interview techniques, and a solid networking base to set yourself apart and secure a rewarding career in solar.
Solar Jobs for Women
The solar industry is competitive, but as demand for solar continues to grow, so do jobs in the renewables industry. With so much room for opportunity, there has never been a better time to make the transition into clean energy.
Industry experts recognize the value and unique perspectives women bring to clean energy and are actively implementing strategies and initiatives to attract a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce.
With many points of entry for qualified candidates, the solar industry is an attractive option for professionals across a wide range of career backgrounds. Much like organizations in other industries, clean energy companies hire talent for many roles: project development, engineering, finance, real estate, legal, project management, and field positions. And for technical roles like engineering, some backgrounds – for instance, civil engineering – translate particularly well and are in high demand.
We combined our expertise with tips from Women in Cleantech & Sustainability’s January webinar on “Breaking into Sustainability Careers” to create an actionable resource for anyone looking to jumpstart their renewables job search.
So, let’s dig in. What are some of the best ways you can set yourself up for success?
Setting Yourself Apart in Renewable Energy
The first step in any professional journey is building a solid career plan. Research the industry to identify strategic entry points leveraging your existing experience. Here are some methods you can use in your research:
- Clearly define why you want to work in renewables and what success looks like to you. For some, it might be fighting climate change, and for others, it’s all about growth opportunities, flexible benefits and stability.
- Research companies in the industry and identify ones with which you closely align. You’ll want to take into account how each company aligns with your personal goals and expectations for a career in renewables. This step will help you focus your job search and ensure a quality match.
- The numbers don’t lie: Women tend to be more selective than men when applying to jobs and often avoid applying to positions for which they are not 100% qualified. Don’t be paralyzed by perfection. Instead, seek competence in the core skills required to build confidence in yourself and prospective employers.
- Hone your resume into a concise document that is accomplishment-based and not just a list of job responsibilities. Specifically, your resume should highlight how your accomplishments relate to specific job qualifications.
- Similarly, craft a compelling LinkedIn profile highlighting accomplishments and professional areas of expertise. Your LinkedIn profile can also serve as a key platform for engaging with other industry professionals, staying up to date on renewables news and keeping tabs on companies you’re interested in. Sharing posts, interacting with others in the industry and following renewables companies demonstrates your investment in your chosen career path.
- Your personal statement will set the tone for your entire resume. Make sure you share a high-level view of your past, present and future, with 1-2 sentences dedicated to each.
- Prepare for interviews by engaging with recruiters and researching the companies, roles and individuals you’ll be speaking with. When speaking with recruiters, prepare to answer questions about how your skills match the job description and why you’re interested in a role at the company. Consider asking recruiters questions such as:
- Which job requirements are most important to be successful in this role?
- What does the day-to-day of this role look like?
- How would you describe the organization’s culture? What are its values?
- During an interview, confirm your interest in both the company and the position for which you’re applying.
- Be prepared to provide references who can offer a quality review of your work and your potential to prospective employers. These references should be able to confirm the transferable skills you’ve identified throughout the application and interview process. Always give your references a heads up if you anticipate a prospective employer will be contacting them to ensure a timely response.
How to Pivot into Solar from a Different Industry
Breaking into a new industry can be a daunting task. But with so much opportunity, it’s important to remember that many professional skills are transferable across sectors. Here are a few steps individuals seeking a renewable energy career can take to ease the process:
- Keep up to date on common skill requirements in industry job postings and clearly highlight how your skills transfer in your LinkedIn profile, resume and any other application materials.
- Ask someone working in renewables to review your materials and give feedback on your resume. Finding a qualified mentor will help you find more solar jobs.
- Develop position- or industry-specific skills in high demand among renewable energy companies. Highly sought after technical expertise includes GIS, AutoCAD, PVBid, Salesforce, Procore, and Helioscope.
- Depending on the role you seek, target skills to hone and increase your knowledge in areas like project management, estimating, land development, negotiation, business development, finance, and stakeholder management. Take advantage of online learning opportunities, such as SEI’s free Introduction to Renewable Energy course.
- Consider obtaining a credential relevant to the industry. For example, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) provides training and certifications for individuals currently working or seeking a career in the solar industry.
- Network with professionals in the industry to better understand the companies they work for, their recruiting and hiring process and potential career opportunities. Connect with them on LinkedIn and attend in-person industry events and online webinars. Some of our favorite organizations include Women in Cleantech & Sustainability, Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE), GRID Alternatives and Women+ in Climate Tech.
- Monitor industry trends by regularly reading solar newsletters and content. Check out Borrego’s Energy Insights blog for the latest industry news and best practices, as well as unique perspectives from our employees. We also recommend newsletters from Solar Wakeup and Canary Media.
Renewable Energy Jobs at Borrego
Diversity, equity, and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords at Borrego. We believe improving gender diversity makes us a better company and reflects our corporate values. Part of our mission is to power positive change through recruitment and talent acquisition, and we’ve already begun to see some progress from our employee-led DEI efforts. Borrego prides itself on providing the best opportunities for women in solar energy. And good news – We’re hiring! Start your search on our careers page, where you’ll find all the latest job listings. Follow the steps we’ve outlined above, and we’re confident you’ll find success in solar.