We are in a prime moment for selling technology. The industry offers many great opportunities for ambitious sales professionals. Adding to the allure, many leading companies offer terrific benefits, perks, and compensation packages, both for those experienced in sales and newcomers to the field. Of course, this also means that getting in the door can be difficult. Here are some tips for landing an interview at a top tech company.
1. Consult with a recruiter who works with tech companies.
Recruiters can connect you with job opportunities. But that’s just the beginning of how they can help. They want to help you get a job, and they would start by looking at your resume and providing interview hints.
Because recruiters work closely with tech companies and hiring managers, they understand what companies are looking for. By asking them the right questions, you can figure out how to best position yourself for the job that you want.
Keep in mind that not all recruiters can provide equal value. Be receptive to recruiters when they reach out to you, but make sure to do your own research as well.
2. Research companies in your city, including newer start-ups.
There are resources to help job seekers find companies in their city, such as Built in Boston and the San Francisco Startups List. Browse through these lists to find out about exciting companies in your city. Even if a company that interests you doesn’t have a relevant opening right away, it’s worth keeping an eye on to see if anything opens up.
You are probably already familiar with the big companies in your city. You should also take the time to learn about up-and-coming companies as well. Frequently, these companies offer highly competitive compensation and benefits and more opportunities for career growth as they start to scale.
3. Learn about the different sectors of the tech industry and target your job search.
With so many tech jobs out there, it’s helpful to narrow your search. Research different sectors with an eye towards where you might find good opportunities. (Of course, you should also consider your relevant experiences and interests.)
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few sectors, start keeping up on industry news. This will help you find opportunities and help you shore up your industry knowledge for interviews.
4. Improve your LinkedIn profile and start networking there.
Even if you keep your LinkedIn profile updated, look at it critically before embarking on your job search. Make sure your profile picture is high-quality and professional. Your headline and description should be informative without being generic. If you need help figuring out how to do this, look at examples of great LinkedIn profiles from other sales professionals and use them for inspiration.
Once your profile looks good, start reconnecting with people in your professional network. You might want to ask them for skills endorsements. To further expand your LinkedIn network, join relevant groups and participate in them appropriately (i.e. not in a way that reeks of self-promotion).
5. Revamp your resume so that it focuses on your tech skills and experiences.
When updating your resume, make sure that it’s appropriate for tech jobs. Highlight your technical skills and any relevant job experience you have in the field. Even if you don’t have much formal work experience in tech, you can show your interest in the summary/objective part of the resume.
6. Research every company you apply for and show your work in the cover letter.
Sending out the same generic cover letter to dozens of companies is a great way to not get many interviews. Before applying for a job, spend some time researching the company’s product, mission, and history. Use this information to inform your cover letter, and even your resume if possible.
In today’s world of job boards, it’s very easy to apply to jobs en masse. By personalizing every application, you will stand out in the crowd as a conscientious sales professional who knows how to create a personal pitch.
7. Carefully read the company’s job descriptions and echo similar language in your application materials.
To increase your chances of getting an interview, show that you understand the job. Job descriptions often include hints about the company’s sales culture in addition to information about job responsibilities. Use this information to shape your cover letter. For example, if the company appears to value independence in sales professionals, show how you’ve displayed independence in previous positions.
While you don’t want just to reiterate the job description in your cover letter, focusing on a few keywords can be helpful. Provide concrete evidence of why you are qualified for the position.
8. Leverage your network to find connections at the companies you’d like to work with.
Think about the people in your personal and professional network and try to identify people who may have relevant connections. LinkedIn is a good place to start with this.
When contacting potential connections, be polite and considerate. Don’t start out by asking for a referral, but ease into it after engaging in a genuinely reciprocal conversation. Thank the person for any help they’re able to provide. Even if they can’t help you right now, the connection may be useful later.
9. Attend local meetups for sales professionals in tech.
Deepen your existing network by going to meetups and other sales events in your area. These events provide a great opportunity to meet other sales professionals and recruiters while establishing yourself as someone who is genuinely interested in sales as a field. Bring business cards to events and make sure to provide value to others.
10. Practice for the phone interview.
Most companies will have preliminary phone interviews before inviting candidates for in-person interviews. Don’t just treat this step as a formality. Practice giving answers that sell yourself in a clear, concise manner. While you don’t want to come across as overly rehearsed, know what points you want to emphasize.