One of the benefits of living away from the bright city lights is that you can actually see the stars twinkling when you look up into the sky. It’s awe-inspiring to truly imagine the concept of light-years and know that certain stars we see now actually expired eons ago. As a kid, I loved Greek mythology - and so many constellations are named after Greek myths. I maaayy have geeked out by reading a myth, looking up the related constellation, and running outside to see if I could find it in the sky. And then I saw that a college friend had recently stepped away from his role as Chief Space Officer for Virgin Galactic, so now we are exploring space tech together.
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The Space Age began in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to be launched into space. Soon after in 1958, the US created NASA (the National Aeronautics & Space Administration). So ‘space tech’ is the development of any technology that helps further space exploration. Much of the early history of space tech was led by NASA and the governments of other countries, in conjunction with a small number of defense companies.
In 2000, a ‘new’ billionaire named Jeff Bezos quietly launched Blue Origin, a full two years before Elon Musk launched SpaceX. Then billionaire Richard Branson got involved by launching Virgin Galactic in 2004. All three companies want to make space travel more reliable, safer and more affordable, moving it outside the realm of just planetary defense. Blue Origin is focused on lunar bases and space colonies. SpaceX began with the further mission of going to Mars (tho has teetered on the brink of collapse more than once). And Virgin Galactic’s goal has been space tourism, similar to how one might visit the Maldives. Some say this three company race is simply the inevitable result of a few geeky men who have billions at their disposal to help realize their childhood dreams of exploring the final frontier.
Since the early 2000s, these three companies have dominated the discussions about expanding access to space travel. (There was also the cautionary tale of the now-defunct Mars One project aiming to send 100 people to Mars. A friend was named a finalist before the project went bankrupt in 2019 so I’ve been tracking this one for a while). And while SpaceX tops the most innovative space tech companies list, more and more companies are entering space tech with an expanding list of objectives. Some companies are working to impact climate change on the Earth via space. And space tech is becoming a hot set of stocks to invest in.
As with many other areas of tech, more regulations need to be developed. ‘Air traffic control’ is a major one as SpaceX has so many satellites in lower orbit that collisions are predicted to be inevitable. And while it’s a good thing there is a startup working to develop a robot workforce to do satellite repairs, that doesn’t fully solve the collision problem. With the recent launch of Virgin Orbit (a separate company aimed at putting more satellites into orbit), we need to start defining how and when and where satellites can be put into space. We don’t want to have too much space junk!
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How to communicate with a tech recruiter like a pro!
Tech recruiters often operate differently than recruiters in other industries and staying on a recruiter’s good side is crucial to your job search success! Here are a few key tips to guide you:
Should you connect with a tech recruiter on LinkedIn as a way to first contact them?
- NO. Everyone has their own way of using LinkedIn for networking, and tech recruiters are no different. If a recruiter doesn’t know you, they are unlikely to accept a random connection request, especially if there is no intro note.
- Exception: The only exception to this rule is if the recruiter states clearly on their profile that they are open to new connections. Some also put their email address on their profile and tell you to contact them via email instead.
Should you text/DM with a recruiter on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc?
- NO. Just because it’s your preferred way to communicate with friends, that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to communicate with a tech recruiter. I’ve had recruiters tell me bluntly that actions like this torpedoed a candidate. Also, many recruiters need to track their candidate communications so email is still the best way for them to do that.
- Exception: If the recruiter has told you explicitly that it’s ok to DM or text, or reached out to you via DM/text. Make sure you’re still being professional tho, and don’t use too much slang/shorthand to ensure there is no confusion.
How often should you engage with a tech recruiter?
- Before you’ve applied: Little to no engagement. Most recruiters will not respond to pre-application enquiries. If they did reply, it would be to tell you to network pre-application with a personal contact or fellow alum to get your initial questions answered.
- After you’ve applied but before they have actioned on your application: Similar to above, little or no engagement. Having an employee refer you to a role can help ensure that your application is reviewed, but emailing a recruiter directly doesn’t usually do much.
- During the interview process: Regularly but balance being persistent with pestering. This can vary but a weekly or bi-weekly check-in is usually plenty during the interview process. Make sure to let them know if you receive another offer so they can help accelerate your process if necessary.
Email etiquette tip: Don’t just hit reply and say ‘I’m available!’
- If they don’t have the email history in front of them or have to scroll down, you’re making it harder for them to take action on your behalf.
- Take an extra 30seconds to write something like ‘Yes, I’m available at X time on Y date and look forward to speaking with you/the interviewer.’
- I promise you - you’ll rise above many other candidates with that small action.
You’ll notice there was an exception to every example above or a nuance to navigate -- which is common in tech job searching! There are no absolutes, which is why it can be tricky to navigate. Schedule a Networking Strategy call so I can help you strategize if you’re confused or stuck.
- Materials Program Manager, Tesla
- Chief of Staff, ID.me *
- Program Manager, Digital Product, Nike
- Product Marketing Manager, Anaplan *
- Product Manager, Lifetime Value and Personalization, Spotify
- Associate, Business Operations & Strategy, Google *
* Please contact me for a potential referral.
There are still plenty of remote and unexplored places here on Earth, including this one: The Most Mysterious, Isolated, and Dangerous Island on the Planet
Send me your questions! Do you have a tech topic you'd like me to explore further? Or maybe a career or job search question you'd like me to address? Hit reply to let me know!
Bye for now,