Writing a good cover letter and building a solid resume are two universal skills that all job seekers must learn. But depending on the industry you're in, there are some key strategies that might not be covered by general best practices. If you're looking for a renewable energy career, these tips can help you put your best foot forward during your job search.
1. Make the Most of Your Cover Letter
If you're coming into renewable energy from another unrelated industry, it's important to utilize your cover letter as a means to explain your choice to change careers, as well as any gaps in employment that may have resulted from making the switch. Briefly describe why you became interested in renewable energy — keep it to two or three sentences — and mention what you did during your gap in employment (e.g. going back to school).
2. Look at the Job Description
Job descriptions generally include a list of specific skill sets the employer is looking for — these bullet points are your friend. Even if you don't have work experience in renewable energy, it's likely that many of these skills can be transferred to other work and school experience that you do have. Look at your past experience, make a list of skills gained through those positions, and apply them to the list in the job description. For example, someone who previously worked in oil and gas might have electrical drilling experience that they can apply to a job working as a wind energy technician.
3. Don't Dismiss Your Experience
If you're younger and don't have a lot of work experience, you might feel like you don't have any skills that apply to a renewable energy job. But other activities, such as volunteering or extracurricular activities like team sports can be leveraged as valuable skill-building experience. Look for examples of how these activities helped you build skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and working collaboratively with a team. Military experience is also very applicable to renewable energy jobs — veterans can draw many connections between their role during their service and energy technician jobs.
4. Be Specific About Technical Knowledge
Students at Ecotech Institute get the opportunity to learn on equipment that they will actually work with in the field. If you have technical expertise in working with equipment that is used by the company you're applying to work for, make sure it's on your resume, and be specific. This shows that you're ready to hit the ground running once you've been hired.
5. Know How to Structure Your Resume
A well-organized, concise resume makes employers' jobs easier while giving the best possible snap-shot of your experience and skills. Ecotech Institute Director of Career Development Natasha Maier recommends job seekers follow this basic outline:
- Listed skills
- Listed safety skills
- Past experience
- Military experience (when applicable)