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Cracking the Tech Career: Insider Advice on Landing a Job at Google, Microsoft, Apple, or any Top Tech Company by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

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2Advanced Positioning and Preparation

Landing a job at a tech company may start with an interview, but to land an interview, you need be thinking months or years in advance. Waking up one morning and saying, “You know what? I'd like to work for Google,” doesn't work—not if you haven't already done the right things.

In this case, doing the right thing means establishing, ideally, all four parts of a framework:

  1. Relevant skills
  2. Prestige/credibility
  3. A technical connection
  4. Something special

Let's talk about each of those—and how to obtain them.

A Positioning Framework

The exceptional candidate has coverage of all four areas: skills, credibility, technical connection, and something special. A typical successful candidate, however, has only two or three of these—but is hopefully exceptional in one of these areas. You can compensate for weaknesses in one with strength in the others.

Relevant Skills

If you want to be a software developer, you need software development skills. If you want to be a marketer, you need marketing skills. These skills can come from your college work, volunteering, launching your own business or side project, or your professional life.

These skills can include the following:

  • Field-specific skills. You'll position yourself best for these companies if you develop a specific, tangible skill. If you want to be a marketer, learn about marketing. If you want to be in sales, help a local organization raise money. Without a tangible skill, you'll likely blend in ...

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