I want to be a programmer for my favorite cable sports network. How can I get a job there? — Arjun
Everyone’s got a dream job, but unfortunately for many people, there’s a gap between their current role and the position they’d love to have. Whether you want to be a Core Java Developer for a high-profile sports network, trade stocks for a major Wall Street investment bank, or tame lions at the circus, here are some tips to help you go from where you are to where you want to be.
Learn about their technical environment. Research the company you’re targeting and find out as much as you can about how they work. For a programming position at a sports network, it’s as easy as taking a look at their website’s career section and reading up on the skills they recruit for most.
What languages do they primarily code in (Java, C#, .NET, C/C++)? What operating systems do they run (Windows, Unix/Linux)? What databases do they use (Oracle, SQL)? Do they have a need for mobile application developers?
The more you know about the technical environment of the company you’re targeting, the more you can focus on building your skills in that area.
Make some new friends. Networking is an essential part of today’s professional world, so make sure it’s a part of your search for the perfect position. Seek out contacts on LinkedIn who work for the firm you’re targeting or those who have worked there in the past. They can help give you the inside scoop on the company culture, what they look for in their employees, and how to enhance your profile so that it’s a good fit.
Consider the competition. If you’re struggling to get into your ideal company, consider working at a competitor. Spending time at a competitor will give you a chance to gain industry knowledge and experience with similar applications. Our clients often recommend targeting candidates out of certain competitors for exactly this reason.
Stay alert to new opportunities. In your case, Arjun, I suggest setting up a Google Alert and a saved search on job boards for “sports” and “Java” (or whatever your technical area of expertise). Eventually your dream company or one of their competitors will have an opening, and thanks to the power of the internet working for you 24/7, you’ll be one of the first developers to know about it.
Keep learning. Continuing your professional development through classes, side projects and certifications will help make your resume stand out from the hundreds of other developers that want to work for the same company. If you aren’t qualified for your dream role yet, keep building on your skills so you’ll be prepared when opportunity comes knocking.