(editor’s note: this was published on their Jobs page which they no longer support)

As a located in Boston, a city that has many entrepreneurial companies working on emerging technologies, I often chat with career coaching clients who are interested in getting attention from “hot” companies.    It just so happens that one of the companies that’s frequently mentioned is HubSpot, since my office is about a mile away from theirs.

“Kathy, I found this amazing company nearby; they’re really involved in social media and marketing and they seem really cool!”   (I promise I’m not making this up; this conversation has happened more than 20 times in the past year.)

Me: “Let me guess, is it HubSpot?”

Them: “You know them? Awesome!  How do I get employed by them?”

And this is where it gets interesting.  I ask, “Do you have a blog or do you Tweet?” and often, the answer is either “No, although I want to” or ‘Yes, but it only has about five posts on it’.  Or “yes, but I never know what to post so it’s pretty random at the moment.”

Me, gently: “Ok, then” (supportively), “do you read any blogs regularly and comment on them?”   (Them: Here and there) “How many Twitter followers do you have?  Do you upload videos to YouTube?   Did you attend any FutureM events this past year?  Have you attended HubSpot University?”  (Them:  Well, I’ve been meaning to….)

You’re probably thinking: Wow, she’s tough.   And you’d be right.   It might be easier to get into HubSpot than I think, but I want my clients to have their game faces on by the time they go in for an interview for HubSpot, or any other company, for that matter.

When I was a recruiter, I wanted to hire people who knew their stuff.    Now as a career counselor, I talk to a lot of people who are interested in new fields, from social media, to green/clean tech,  nanotechnology, medical devices, etc.  And one thing I can promise you… companies want to know that you’re in it for the long haul, and not just latching on to the newest idea without educating yourself on the field.

Let’s say you want to work in clean tech/ green tech.  Can you name the top five companies, the top five current influential thinkers/bloggers, and the top five concepts that are hot in the industry at the moment?  Before sending in a single resume, you need to be able to answer those questions.  Even better, you’d attend a conference in the field (if the conference fee is too expensive, consider visiting the exhibit hall which is typically free, or look for a virtual conference or webinar series).  Make it a point to know what’s going on in the industry, so that when you write your cover letter/email, have a phone screen, or go in for an interview, you’re bringing something to the table.

Spectators SAY they’re interested in a field, but don’t put in the time required to be knowledgeable.  Players, on the other hand, contribute to knowledge in a field; they’re active in the conversation, they cross-pollinate ideas on blogs and in-person conversations, they network with other industry players, and they’re spending time every week immersing themselves in the latest and greatest.

It takes a lot of effort to be a Player and not a Spectator. You have it in you, go get on the field!