Job Hunting in the Wireless Industry in Today’s Economy

Here is a Blog post from one of our readers Chris Coughlin.
Chris Coughlin - Senior Manager of Product Development and Innovation at BrightstarChris Coughlin is a Senior Manager of Product Development and Innovation at Brightstar, a wireless phone distribution company that is the largest Hispanic owned company in the U.S. He has over 10 years experience selling wireless and wire line products for carriers and channel business developers.
Job Hunting in the Wireless Industry in Today’s Economy
Today’s economy is obliviously hard for everyone who’s unemployed or looking to get out of a position that they hate. Wireless is one of those industries, like printing, for example, where everyone knows everyone and you need to distinguish yourself to get the interview or hang your hat on your network and your reputation.
What people in the industry want to know is how are you going to make an impact that will have a direct effect in the next 90 days. Do you have experience in a solution that can be used at another company or transfer from one industry to the other? For example, Logistics management: Do you know a warehouse solution that can save your new company millions? If you’re a salesperson how are your contacts going to bring in new sales to the company you’re interviewing with?
You’re not expected to come in with the next iPod but you do need to make a bold statement of the impact you are going to make. It will set you apart and it will drive interest in sitting down with you. Next you need to put together a business plan on how that’s going to happen. Don’t worry about this being right on if you don’t fully understand the company or industry; instead worry more about having a plan with actionable items that your interviewer can key on. This one act alone, the business plan, can immediately separate you from the heard in the interview process.
I interviewed with a Silicon Valley start up at the end of 2004 and I really didn’t know that much about them but after a couple hours of research coupled with my experience I was able to put together a business plan. During the interview I said I had thrown together some ideas on how I would tackle this position and it immediately took me from being a good talker to a legitimate candidate. 90% of what I had written was on target but some of the key competitors to this company were not. That wasn’t important to the interviewer as it was that I could strategically think about what needed to be done and in a set timeframe.
Let’s talk a little about the industry itself and start with what’s hot right now: The game changers in the industry are accelerometers, QWERTY keyboard phones, application stores and LTE (Long Term Evolution). The companies that are going to grow or be positioned to act quickly when the economy turns around are going to be involved in these areas.
There are two categories to look at:
The popular ones with rock star status: Apple, RIM (BlackBerry), Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, LG, Samsung and Palm.
The beneficiaries of the rock star’s growth: The carriers, application developers like Gameloft, EA, Intel, Novatel, Sierra Wireless and emerging Chinese OEM’s going directly to market, like Asus and MSI.
If you’re in the industry or have industry experience here’s the best steps you can take for a shot with a company:
• Join LinkedIn or if you’re already a member, use your network to check find out if there are people hiring
• Subscribe to the news sources of the industry: Fierce Wireless, Wireless Week, and CNet news
• Check out the leading blogs: Engadget Mobile, Boy Genius Report, and Mobile Tech Today
• Sign up for Google alerts on the companies you are targeting. Search for a company, like Palm, on Google, then click on news and on the left-hand side click on ‘News alerts’. This is the best way to get daily or as it happens news on a company
• Research your target companies: Their web site, news feeds, and Hoovers.
• Subscribe to sites like MobileWirelessJobs.com if you are an engineer.
If you don’t have industry experience then clearly define in a sentence or two how your experience will make an impact at the new company. Become familiar with wireless terms at http://www.wirelessadvisor.com/resources/glossary and get yourself a copy of Newton’s Telecom Dictionary. Secondly, follow the advice above about the industry itself so you’ll know what’s happening now.
When I interview someone I want to get to know a little about them as a person so I can get a good guy check of who they are and then I want to know how much they know about my company and the impact they can make in the position they are applying for. Simple and to the point; in 30 minutes I should have a good idea if this is a person I want to work with and if they are going to help me.
Happy hunting!

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