How do you go about getting a startup job? If you’ve read any of the pieces in the media about what it’s like to work for a startup, you might be interested in the possibility of adding the industry to your job search list. Startup employment isn’t all game rooms and edible perks, it’s an exciting opportunity for workers. Helping a company get off the ground – and putting in the hours necessary to do so – is a thrill to plenty of people. We’ll go through some of the best tips below, but keep in mind that standard wisdom still applies. It’s still a good idea to have a stellar resume and host it on a resume database, and it’s still important to mind your p’s and q’s at every stage of the hiring process. With that said, here are some tips that might surprise you that can get you hired at a startup:
1. Show What You’re Worth
Founders are going to want employees who bring demonstrable value to the table, especially if they’re running on a lean staff with no room for dead weight. If you have your eye on a particular startup, do your research – then do some more. If you can set up an informational interview with the founder and come into it with a pitch for a new solution or method that’s relevant to the company, you will be a very impressive candidate indeed. It might take guts to stand up and present an idea to better a business to its very own CEO, but that’s often the kind of attitude that will get you far in the startup world.
2. Don’t Always Wait for a Posting
You should definitely set up job alerts for the type of position that interests you, and you should be diligent about applying. However, if there’s a job that sounds like a dream to you, and one you know you can do well at, try applying even when there’s not a vacancy.
“Being confident in knowing you are a great fit for a company AND having the ability to pinpoint areas of opportunity before the company even posted a job is… well, ballsy,” motivational writer Breena Fain told Business Insider. “But it’s incredibly effective. Reach out to companies you like early, build relationships with the employees and create a connection that will allow you to have a leg up on the competition.”
3. Build Real Relationships
In the startup world as much as anywhere else, who you know counts. It also matters what they think of you. However, entrepreneurs may be a little more accessible than CEOs of huge firms, so you have a head start on the networking portion of your job search. You can often contact entrepreneurs directly According to Seth Godin, author of the book Linchpin, it’s important to be generous and provide value to people you want to impress.
Business Insider recommends you take some actions that have no direct benefit to you. If you can help someone out, they’re likely to return the favor when you need it. So if you know who the local big players are in the startup scene, try out a few kind gestures. If you connect online, send them something you read you think they’d like, or promote their business on your social networking profile without being prompted or paid. These little favors can grease the wheels of startup hiring, and make your passion and value obvious to the entrepreneurs you need to impress.