There’s no doubt that the Renewable Energy sector is one that’s rapidly growing, and the career opportunities are plentiful. Over the years, jobs within Renewables have been steadily growing year-on-year, with 7.3 million back in 2012, and 12 million in 2020. With more urgency around climate change leading to an increased demand for clean energy, this is a fantastic sector to grow your career in.
At Carbon60, we’ve been placing candidates in this sector for over a decade, at some of the biggest businesses across the world. I’ve personally never seen such a huge demand for workers. At the same time, the level of competition has really increased. People recognise what an exciting area this is to work in and are keen to progress.
In this blog, I thought I’d share some top tips – as well as common mistakes I see – when receiving CVs. Feel free to check out the short video below as well!
Tailor your CV
I’ll start with the most important tip I give to candidates. Always keep in mind that businesses aren’t looking for someone who simply wants a job. They’re looking for someone who wants to work for them.
That’s why your CV should always be tailored. One of the biggest mistakes I see is candidates sending a clearly generic CV over – either to recruitment agencies or direct to clients. This shows a lack of care and a lack of real interest in the role. It also doesn’t show how your skillset can benefit that particular business.
I’m not necessarily suggesting that you do a mass rewrite. But you should certainly look at the core competencies and key duties that are on the job specification, and match these up on your CV. The same applies when mentioning your key achievements – relate it to what’s on the job specification. For example, you might be applying for a Construction Manager or Project Manager role. Highlight previous successful projects that you’ve delivered, with an emphasis on the end result and impact you had.
Remember, companies are advertising these jobs because they have a need or problem – so you need to position yourself as the solution.
Keep it concise
I’m often asked about the right length for a CV. My advice is to keep it to two pages, maybe three at a push. Believe it or not, I have received CVs in the past that are up to 10 pages long, and this doesn’t help anybody. You want your CV to engage the hiring manager, and the moment they see a document which is too long, there’s a chance that it actually won’t be looked at properly.
You may have been working for quite a long time, and therefore wondering what parts of your career history you should and shouldn’t include. I would say to go back to no more than ten years, as long as it keeps your CV within the 2-3 page limit. You can then add a line at the end saying that information on previous roles are available on request.
Also remember to keep the roles as relevant to the Renewable Energy sector as possible. For example, if you’re applying for a Site Engineer role – be it Civil, Mechanical or Electrical – there’s no need for you to put details of your retail assistant job when you were a teenager.
The slight exception to the rule above is if you don’t have prior experience in the industry and are changing careers. Then you obviously do need to put down roles which aren’t as relevant – but tailoring your CV becomes even more critical. For example, perhaps you’ve spent a long time working in the finance world but want to move into engineering. You might then want to highlight your numerical and problem-solving skills, as well as your ability to analyse data, as these are things which are also required in engineering.
While your CV is a tool that helps you sell yourself, avoid exaggerating or making things up. Remember everything can be easily checked nowadays, so it’s best to be honest about previous roles and qualifications.
Be clear on the details. Perhaps you’ve done a practical training course of some sort? Make sure you correctly state the exact course you did, the certification you achieved, and the year you achieved it.
Honesty also means being open about gaps in your CV. If there’s a short period of time where you were out of work – for example a couple of weeks or months – this isn’t a major issue. But if it's a significant gap, don't be afraid to explain it.
You may also want to mention the skills you did pick up while you were out of employment. Many people think that workplaces and classrooms are the only place where you learn things, but this isn’t true. For example, if you spent time away looking after your children, talk about skills such as discipline, organisation and multi-tasking that you’ve needed. If you’ve travelled, you may have picked up international knowledge. This could be quite useful for a business looking to increase their global presence.
Crack the keywords
Many CVs go through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and are scanned for specific keywords. Therefore, it’s important that keywords related to the industry and the role are mentioned in your CV. This doesn’t mean stuffing them all in at random places though. Try to naturally incorporate them into the relevant sections. Here are some examples of general keywords I expect to find on CVs:
- Battery energy storage systems
- Grid connection
- Renewable energy
- Solar PV
- Wind Turbine
Keywords aren’t just important because of the ATS either. When hiring managers are looking through CVs manually, they will always appreciate references to key skills or industry specific words, as it shows you are switched on and know the Renewable Energy sector.
Focus on the formatting
You want to make things are as easy as possible for both the employers and/or the recruiters who are trying to help you. This means laying your CV out in a nice, clear manner, with lots of white spaces separating out the different sections. Avoid images, graphs and charts – while you may think they look nice, they don’t usually add any value and can make your CV unnecessarily lengthy.
Try to save the file in a Word or Google document. This is because recruiters are often required to copy and paste them into a specific template, and a document makes this easier to do.
Start with a punchy summary or introduction. This should just be a short paragraph that gives an overview of your career, experience and ability in relation to the specific job.
When going through your previous roles, provide the start and end dates with both the month and the year clearly stated. Sometimes CVs just show the year and that doesn’t always give the client enough information about the length of the roles, especially if you’ve had a lot of short-term contract jobs.
Finally, ensure the spelling and grammar within your CV is all correct. If you’re applying through a recruiter, we can correct any errors for you (although this still isn’t a great first impression). If, however, you’re applying directly to a client - this won’t go through that proofing process so could cost you. The spellcheck function is a great asset to you in these circumstances!
The market is competitive, but hopefully these tips can help you with any applications you’re about to make within the Renewable Energy sector.
If you need help with starting your CV, we have put together a template that can give you the building blocks to write a great one!