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How to get hired in the solar industry

I am still getting trickles of emails coming in from my post about how to get a solar sales job over two years ago from some very dedicated and creative people. Because of this, I felt it would be best to follow up with some very specific next steps for those of you still looking to make that career leap into the solar field. The following advice was adapted very closely from Derek Sivers’ aptly entitled, “How to get hired”. Use the following advice and get yourself that job! :

1. Look inward

Do some soul-searching to decide what you really want to do within the solar industry. There’s solar sales, system design, marketing, regulatory compliance/paperwork, customer service, support, IT, etc. Where could you fit?

2. Target and research the hell out of the company

Focus on one solar installer or manufacturer and find the one in your area you feel is doing the best. (The company needs to be near you already. If you don’t live near them, move there first, or choose a closer installer or company. Do not do this remotely.)

It doesn’t matter if they’re not hiring. Learn all about them. Read every page of their website. Get on their mailing list. Read every article about them. Study and memorize this info. Your research only takes a few hours, and is a much better use of your time than firing away resumes.

3. Make contact

Start contacting them to tell them how much you want to work for them. It doesn’t matter who you speak to first. Start with anyone. Just start.

Tell them, (in your own way), “It’s my dream to work with you. If you have any aspect that could use a little help, let me do it, and I promise you it’ll thrive. I’m that passionate about this.”

Eventually, contact different people in the company, especially the executives, not just HR.

Ideally, you could be more specific, telling them ways you could improve one of their projects, evaluations, or installation process.

4. Be persistent and succinct

Combine phone, email, and in-person. You must use all three methods, since each has its strengths.

Always be succinct. Don’t take more than two minutes of their time. But always show your passion, and how much you can help them.

5. Vary your message

Sometimes ask advice. Sometimes give advice. But always make it clear how much you want to work there.

6. Do this every week

It’s OK to be almost annoying. Polite manners don’t prove passion. Do this until hired. Eventually they will be hiring, and they’d be damn foolish not to hire you.

Especially when faced with the alternative of opening up the floodgates to help-wanted ads, they’ll much rather go with this person who has persistently proven their passion. (Could do this with a few installers at once)

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5 thoughts on “How to get hired in the solar industry

  1. P K Kaushal says:

    I am from India on visit to US and Canada for couple of months.I am a retired power engineer and post retirement experience of having recently installed 7×2 MW grid connected solar PV plants in east Indian state of Jharkhand. I will be keen to help any American agency interested in fast expanding solar business in India which has grown from 2 MW to more than 1080 MW in a span of two years (grid connected) Off grid solar capacity has also grown manifolds.There is tremendous support to the solar industry from Govt. of India.It has great business opportunity.

  2. dana udovich says:

    i am a retired mechanical engineer. bme gt 1981. due to the economy and boredom i would like to get back to work.

    my 30+ years experience is in manufacturing and quality assurance.

    after seeing the interview of Arne Jungjohann of the Heinrich Böll Foundation by dylan ratigan on his last show…

    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/dylan-ratigan-show/47925054#47925054

    i have had my interest piqued in solar power yet again.

    the final straw was when i read that south carolina electric and gas is seeking yet another rate hike. it seems they have gotten a 7% rate hike every other year over the past 10.

    recently it was reported that they have built brand new offices. my guess is that their ceo’s have seen increases in their salary and their golden parachutes. enough is enough.

    after seeing the gains that germany has made with solar power in an environment that does not even come close to what we have to offer in the usa, i am convinced that we can do even better here.

    i can see the usa leading the world in proprietary energy research and manufacturing. america can be reborn.

    it is abundantly clear that if we depend on washington to change direction, lobbyists and the republican party will never allow that happen.

    germany has been able to make huge gains in renewable energy. i dont see any reason why we can not do the same. for that to happen it is going to have to be a grass roots movement. it will need to be initiated by the people. i want to be part of that movement.

    if anybody has a position that i can fill please contact me. i am ready and raring to go.

  3. leon says:

    I am interested in the installation of solar panels as a business and a new job or trade, so how can I get into the busines?

  4. Brian says:

    This is absolutely brilliant advice. The solar power industry has been a spectator sport for me for a while, but I’ve recently begun seriously studying in preparation for a career change.

    As soon as I feel competent enough with the technology, I’m going to follow this advice as closely as possible. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    What’s the general consensus the NABCEP PV Entry Level Program? Do you think potential employers value it enough to justify the cost of taking a NABCEP qualifying course then paying for the exam?

  5. Mike says:

    I read this idea for solar electricity in streets and parking lots. How would you go about getting into a “job” like that, where you are innovating? The idea was at http://bit.ly/9tQTrq

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