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Apply for a Tech Position That Doesn't Exist

Apply for a Tech Position That Doesn't Exist

By Jack Donovan, Wired How-To Editorial Assistant and Programmer

One of the best things about technology is its propensity to create opportunities where there were none before. With Web 2.0, the rise of social media, and the growing adaptation of software in everyday life, there is a plethora of jobs to be had by this generation's tech-savvy population. But sometimes snagging those jobs requires convincing those maintaining the status quo that we know what we're talking about. Persuading a company that it should open its doors to geek gurus can be a frustrating endeavor, but these tips should help you land your dream tech job, even if your position doesn't exist yet.

Clear a Path

Any old enterprise company is bound to have existing positions for CIOs, security managers and software engineers. But there's a slew of job titles that upper management may not have heard before, or may have disregarded as passing fads or buzzwords. Here are just a few to get you thinking of ways you could blaze your own trail.
  • Social Media Manager: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — you use them casually every day, and now it's time to bring all of your practice to the field. Professional social media is a relatively new phenomenon ripe for conquering, so become a hashtag ninja, spread the friend requests, and communicate with your customer base to bring a new level of interactivity to your company of choice.
     
  • Interface Scripter: With the slick capabilities of HTML5 and ActionScript 3, basic web code doesn't push as far as it used to. Instead of offering to join the ranks of a company's web developer pool, become well-versed in Flash/HTML5 animation and scripting so you can tout an engineering flair that the basic web jockeys can't.
     
  • Cloud Administrator: Cloud storage is quickly becoming the biggest web trend since Web 2.0, and your average system administrator may not be able to harness the precipitative power that's enveloping the internet like a thunderstorm. Experiment with new cloud architectures like Windows Azure and then tell your new boss that you're ready to make it rain.
Find the Gap

A good place to start when you're considering different positions is to ask the employees of a company where she thinks technology could be better utilized in the workplace. Try inquiring with a public representative or search social media channels for individuals to follow who list their affiliation with your future company to get a feel for how things work and where there is a technological hole that you could fill. Be casual about it; you're not pitching yet, you're just doing some research before you move to apply. Don't be pushy either, as a relentless nosy average Joe won't make a great first impression on the company's core team.

Pitch Protocol

Telling a company that they are better off hiring you for a non-existent position is a pretty gutsy move. Execute with confidence, and make sure you know who you're talking to. Do some research into the company's hierarchy and secure a meeting with a hiring decision maker at the company by e-mailing her directly. Be careful not to shoot too high — you may simply look like spam to the CEO. But pitch your proposal to the person who will be equipped to receive it (or pass it along), such as a project lead or HR rep. Start out with a simple inquiry and explanation of why you're reaching out, and as communications progress, casually attach your cover letter and resume so they know that you mean business and that you have the means of achieving your proposition.

Strength in Numbers

One of the best persuasive tools you have at your disposal right from the start is the dozens of real-world success stories from companies that have welcomed tech positions into their arms. Appointing an official company Twitter manager will seem much less silly after they see the thousands of companies present on Twitter with millions of followers that benefit every day from the streamlined customer-company interactivity that Twitter's architecture allows. A few good examples would be PlayStation's Twitter, which it uses to reply to fans and retweet them several times per day, or Temporary Residence Ltd, an independent record label that will replace a defective record if you simply let them know via an @reply.

Flex Your Geek Muscles

Whether or not the company that you apply to fully comprehends your proposed tech position, it's going to want to see that you have the skills to pay the bills. For the programmers, an app that you've created is always a golden ticket, and for more social disciplines, it's always good to be able to show your web clout. A follower count, connections to internet celebrities, and notable presence on at least a semi-popular site will speak louder than words to your less tech-oriented employers.

Let Them Try Before They Buy

The great thing about lots of modern web technologies is that they require little to no resources to utilize. A majority of common gadgets can tweet, any computer can compile code, and wireless signal is part of our atmosphere more often than not. Use this to your advantage and offer a company a free trial of your services, so they can see what it's like to have you on their team at little cost to you. Chances are that they'll get used to your addition and feel compelled to keep you, especially if you're cut out for the job and display a good deal of success in a short time — which you should monitor meticulously with analytics.

Pro Tips
  • Try to apply for a position that exists somewhere else, so your company is confident in the stability of your proposed job.
  • If the company denies your application, offer freelance work so they don't feel obligated to sign you on right away.
  • Persist. These days, if you're good at something related to technology, somebody is looking for you. You just might not find them the first time you try.
Apply for a Tech Position That Doesn't Exist” was originally published on Wired.com's How-To Wiki.

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