The Expertise Stepping Stone

The Expertise Stepping Stone

Super talented young professionals looking for a renewable energy job often say, “I don’t want to get pigeon-holed!” They have a vision for their future. Most jobs don’t line up. So, they hold out; they don’t want to give up on their vision.

But be careful. Some of those “not-quite-right” jobs can be stepping stones to build expertise. And becoming an expert at something really opens doors.

If you want to do something great in life, you likely will need help from other people. And to get help, you need to give help. To be helpful, you need to become an expert at something.  Expertise will get you a seat at the table with the people who can support your vision. That’s when you can show them that you can do way, way more than the expertise that got them to notice you.

Let’s say, for example, that you want to be a solar project developer.  But, you’re an environmental science major, and most solar firms ignore you in favor of getting a business or engineering major.  You will qualify for solar analyst or project management roles where you’ll develop deep skills in excel.  Take it.  Get your foot in the door!  This will give you a chance to learn about the company, its products, the industry and to develop personal relationships with those who can support your broader vision.  After you get really, really good at this role, start lobbying for that project developer role you really want!

You can change the world one step at a time.  Your first job is not forever.  It’s just your first move.