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CleanTech Hiring: Where to get in?

March 3, 2020

As an executive recruiter in the industrial and natural resources sector, my business has dramatically shifted to Power & Clean Technologies in the last several years.  With the drop in crude prices, I would not say the focus has shifted more toward clean energy, but I can attest to my phone ringing frequently with impressive oil industry candidates asking about making the shift professionally.

How can candidates focus on clean technologies with a resume loaded down in the old, dirty stuff (no pun in “crude” also meaning unsophisticated relative) to clean teach?  A recent article published in Financial Advisor entitled “Powering Up” by Jerilyn Klein Bier (July 1, 2015), laid out the map nicely.  While the article speaks purposefully to investors, the subtext is identifying where the jobs are in renewables and clean technologies.  Specifically, Bier points to:

The equipment-supply side of renewables with a focus on OMES that make wind turbines and solar panels; firms that supply OEMSs with components, such as gearboxes and generators for wind turbines and silicon wafers for solar panels; and producers of the sophisticated factory machinery used by OEMs.

The article further outlines second and third derivative companies involved in renewable energy, focusing on pick suppliers.  These companies are precisely the ones we see hiring at the executive level; companies happy to entertain candidates from the “dirty” side of energy.  Skill sets in manufacturing are highly transferrable and relationships with Super Majors are a throw down, as more of the majors are exploring entry into renewables and especially energy storage.  Bier cites that “40% of Fortune 500 companies have set targets for emission reduction, energy efficiency or renewable energy.”  While a candidate’s oil related relationships with specific players at Shell, BP, or ConocoPhillips are not necessarily the point, understanding the organizational hierarchy, how business gets done, and benchmark environmental, health, and safety standards are great transferable skill sets to sell.

If you are a professional interested in transitioning from your current industry sector into Power & Clean Tech, consider where business synergies exist and articulate them succinctly – in both a short outreach email (3 sentences) and your resume – to recipients in your network and executive search firms.  These are your value adds to the prospective employer.  Where does your professional network overlap with Power & Clean Tech?  If it does not appear to be so much on the surface, consider your current and prior employers’ networks – vendors, suppliers, the entire supply chain.  Put the 6 degrees of separation rule into action and create your own Power & Clean Tech buzz by talking about your skillset and the industry in the same conversation.