Want to work for a growing and innovative company? From the world’s largest fleet of electric cars to sustainable energy solutions for property owners, Palo Alto-based Tesla Inc. is a leader in creating an eco-system of cutting-edge products for today’s consumers. Recruiters for entry-level sales and customer service positions with the company, two of whom are Mihaylo College alumni, visited campus on April 25, seeking talent from the business college’s diverse student body.
For marketing alumnus Evan Brannigan ’13 and entertainment and hospitality grad Kim Wong ’12, the transformative mission of Tesla Inc. prompted them to seek careers with the Silicon Valley startup founded by business magnate Elon Musk. Brannigan, now delivery manager for Tesla’s Costa Mesa location, and Wong, recruiter for the company’s positions in Southern California and Hawaii, returned to campus on April 25 to encourage students to look to their employer for a versatile and flexible career path, beginning with entry-level, sales-related roles. The event was sponsored by Mihaylo Career Services.
“Tesla’s plan is to transform the world with sustainable energy,” said Brannigan, who noted that the company has succeeded in staking out a presence in a field where many have failed due to the barriers to entry. “We started on the high-end, where it was much easier to get started with sustainable transport, though we are now moving in to the middle-income market, with a $35,000 car coming out later this year.”
To thrive as a Tesla team member, motivation, flexibility and prior customer service experience are critical, but most vital is passion for the company’s vision. “Everyone who works here wants to be a part of this change that is transforming the industry,” said Wong. “I love business students because they step right in and come up with solutions for problems, which is what we are looking for at Tesla.”
Building a Sales Career Through Tesla
With showroom locations throughout Southern California, Tesla is seeking students and recent alumni for customer-centered, entry-level roles, including customer experience specialist; delivery advisors, who connect customers with the paperwork needed to take ownership of their car; owner advisors, the core of the sales team based in retail and delivery centers; and energy advisors, who serve as sales associates for the company’s solar products.
Though there are some part-time roles of about 30 hours per week, the company is primarily seeking candidates for full-time employment, which can be well in excess of 40 hours weekly. “Excellence is a passing grade here,” Wong said. “9-5 pretty much doesn’t exist at Tesla.”
“The majority of our locations are in shopping centers because we want you to come in and get engaged,” said Wong. “We forgo the traditional advertising and marketing.”
Though the customer experience specialist is the typical path to get started in sales at Tesla, Brannigan said that versatility is key with the growing company, noting that he has held multiple roles at five Southland locations since joining the company more than four years ago. This isn’t unusual at Tesla: The Southern California district had 139 employment promotions in 2017 and 36 so far in 2018.
“I love that it’s always changing and there’s always new problems to solve,” he said. “The people who move up in our company take on more responsibilities than is defined in their roles.”
Even though these roles are entry-level, with hundreds of applicants, the company seeks several years of prior customer service experience, a good driving record and a genuine desire to build a career with Tesla. Having a well-developed, yet concise, portfolio also gives applicants a leg up.
“LinkedIn is important. If you spend 10% of the time you spend on Instagram and Facebook on LinkedIn, you will get more offers,” said Brannigan. “Also, keep your résumés simple. We only have 30 seconds to review.”
Landing Your Tesla Career
To find job opportunities with Tesla, check out the company’s careers page. In addition to sales positions, there are also paths in such diverse fields as finance, information technology, marketing, supply chain, communications, engineering, law, production, human resources and quality assurance.