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I have a good amount of experience developing software (5 years) in the corporate/enterprise world and would like to start working for a software publisher such as Microsoft, but never seem to get much of a reception when I talk to recruiters or respond to ads.

I don't think it's specific language experience that's holding me back; I've spent the past 2.5 years doing web development in C#/.NET. Before that, I worked with mainstream technologies (C, C++) as well as legacy ones (MVS JCL, COBOL, etc.). I'm concerned that it might be my academic background (physics) or my relatively limited experience with any one specific platform that's holding me back.

My specific questions are:

  • How should I market myself to get the best response from recruiters and hiring managers?
  • What type of additional experience would improve my chances of getting interviewed/hired by software publishers? Should I try to start focusing on a single technology/platform instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, as I am now?
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closed as off-topic by Ampt, MichaelT, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Dan Pichelman, GlenH7 Oct 16 '14 at 0:58

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@Aaronaught: Software publisher does not seem to be the right term except for select industries such as game studios. A Gaming Software Publisher, for example, handles marketing and promotion, sponsorship, regulatory approval and international sales for the game studio that produces the title. The studio is a company in its own right and is nearly autonomous in the creation of that software. A better term might be "Software Vendors" (ISV) or simply "Software Companies" ? (wiki-link omitted due to limitation) –  rwong Jul 30 '11 at 23:46
@rwong: The Wikipedia article has a big [citation needed] warning, and in this case its content is quite wrong. I don't know who wrote it, but it has absolutely nothing to do with either the US Bureau of Labor definition or the Industry Canada classification. ISV is definitely the wrong term, because the OP specifically mentioned Microsoft and major publishers like Microsoft are not considered ISVs. "Software company" is also wrong because they don't necessarily distribute. –  Aaronaught Jul 31 '11 at 1:07
In general (and in my experience), software publishers redistribute software written by independents. Maybe software house instead? Yes, it's also got a {cite}, but it's a little more general, which I think would be a good thing here. –  Dori Jul 31 '11 at 8:59
@Dori: That's just not a correct definition. One of you wants to change the wording, go ahead - it's not my question - but "software publisher" is the correct term, and Wikipedia is not a dictionary. –  Aaronaught Jul 31 '11 at 14:38

1 Answer 1

If you're not getting a good reception from recruiters or hiring managers, then it all depends on when you feel they grow cold on you. If they're not even calling you up when reviewing your resume, then I'd suspect a poor presentation within the resume or that you're submitted through the wrong channel (i.e. are you just submitting to a "jobs" link on their web site? That's likely a 'black-hole' submission that will yield poor response rates.) Ideas:

  • Have some friends in the industry that you respect (mentor-type folks) that can review your resume and give you feedback on what they think of it.
  • Establish networks on LinkedIn and look for connections you can make to folks in these companies you want to work in.
  • Participate in projects that offer you the ability to refine the skills you have now, learn new ones, and have the potential for leaving behind "public artifacts" that have your name showing up in web searches on cool projects.

If you're getting to the interviews and there's good reception to your resume and phone screening, then I'd look at how well you interview. Given that you consider a Physics education as a weakness instead of a strength, I'd immediately suspect a lack of confidence when interviewing. Your Physics education IS a strength -- play it up. Practice interviewing by doing more interviews-- don't just go for the large corporations like Microsoft, interview at smaller ones that are doing interesting work.

And, if you've got programming skills and a Physics education, talk with recruiters looking for candidates for "Quant" Finance jobs -- those are great jobs for self improvement, IMO. Good luck!

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