Regardless of whether you are talking about solar energy or wind power, the renewable energy sector is booming, even during the economic downturn. Christian Röther and Axel Sonnenschein, the founders and partners of Sunjob CONSULT, offer their insight into current developments in the sector and give tips for preparing as well as possible for making your application.
Christian Röther and Axel Sonnenschein, founders and partners of Sunjob CONSULT, offer practical information and advice.
C. Röther: “First we draft a detailed applicant profile - as independently as possible from the position the candidate has applied for. Perhaps he or she could be considered for other jobs that are even more attractive. As consultants, we see our job as pointing out new avenues.
The next step is to have a detailed interview. We talk to every candidate individually, present the job and employer and include other soft factors such as corporate culture.
Then we submit written presentations to the company on the selected candidates and are available to support and advise clients and candidates during the next stages of the process. Even if the candidate does not get the job, we stay in touch.
A. Sonnenschein: “Something quite important: before we suggest our pre-interviewed candidates for a new position, we always consult them. Perhaps they’re no longer up for a move, would like to explore other avenues or have acquired additional qualifications. We clear all that up beforehand.”
A. Sonnenschein: “The application form should be faultless. It sounds banal but in practice we actually experience examples of the letter being sent to the wrong person – a small copy and paste error with major consequences. We also don't get the best impression of candidates whose applications contain typing errors.”
C. Röther: “The CV plays a key role for us. It should contain information about achievements and experiences that are directly linked to renewable energy. But our consultancy is also about bringing out an applicant’s potential, perhaps even directing them towards an area of activity they haven’t yet discovered for themselves.”
A. Sonnenschein: “The application should relate directly to the advertised position. Show that you’ve considered the position in-depth, pick up all the points contained in the person specification and say what makes you qualified for the job.
We sometimes have to remind applicants that Human Resources employees in a large company cannot be familiar with the technical details of all job profiles.
Show the parallels between your work to date and the vacant position. This is even more relevant for people wanting to change careers: someone from the telecommunications industry who has had responsibility for putting up cell phone poles has overcome the same kind of problems that crop up in getting authorisation for solar parks. They’re familiar with international building regulations, have negotiated contracts with the authorities etc. Make these links explicit in your cv.”
C. Röther: “Absolutely. It starts with data protection: online applications are sent via a secure link and information is never passed on to third parties who are not involved.”
A. Sonnenschein: “On an interpersonal level too, discretion is of utmost importance. Candidates can apply from a permanent job and retain their anonymity. In a small sector where rumours rapidly spread, it’s vital protection.”
C. Röther: “German renewable energy specialists enjoy an excellent reputation around the world. Various factors – legislation, market situation etc. – mean that we’re years ahead of many countries where “Made in Germany” is a sign of quality. American companies, for example, are looking in Germany for application engineers for solar modules, even if projects are being set up in Italy. There are fantastic opportunities available for skilled candidates.
At the moment we’re finding more and more candidates for US and Arab companies. Applicants should have knowledge of other languages – no one expects fluent Japanese, but English is a must. On top of this they should have as much overseas experience as possible and of course a basic openness to other cultures.”
A. Sonnenschein: “Most questions candidates have around this concern the employer’s culture and mentality: ‘What hierarchies and unspoken rules apply in Korean companies for example?’’
We’re happy to pass on anything we know about that as well!”
A. Sonnenschein: “Stay tuned and stay in touch! We’d like candidates to let us know by e-mail for example if they’ve moved house, have done further training or have new responsibilities. Perhaps it is precisely this skill that will open the doors to your dream job.”