I think some part of every IT pro fantasizes about what it would be like to work for a tech company, and not just be the tech in a non-technical business. After all, it would have to be energizing to be surrounded by people who are on the bleeding edge of technology, like Microsoft or Apple, and are working toward a common goal. And despite some stories that paint a less than favorable picture of some of these workplaces, you know there's a little bit of prestige associated with working at Google or places like that.
In her new book, The Google Resume, Gayle Laakmann McDowell gives some great tips on how to prepare for a career or land a job at a top tech company. McDowell worked in Google Engineering for three years, where she served on the hiring committee and interviewed over 120 candidates.
In the book she covers everything from what kind of experience and education you should have to what you should have in your resume and cover letter.
She presents some recommendations to consider when a tech company is in your sights:
Develop a track record of achievement
Whether it be in academics, project work, volunteer work or even athletics, you should be able to show that you have a pattern of setting goals and accomplishing them.
Speak and write well
Good communication skills are vital to your career success. McDowell suggests taking a public speaking course if you're not comfortable with it. And take a writing course to get more practice being about to write clearly and professionally.
Become a leader
You don't have to join a bunch of clubs and work so that the title of President is yours in every case. McDowell says that you just need to find something you can lead and that has quantifiable results. She cites one guy who led a fund-raising process that ended up raising 17 percent more money than the year before.
Find a mentor (or become a mentor)
Either role in a mentoring relationship will teach you something.
Develop a tangible skill
Work on nurturing a depth in a specific skill that will set you apart from everyone.
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.