Start with startups you’re obsessed with. Most people will agree that long-term job satisfaction begins with working at a company you already admire because you’re able to connect with its culture and vision. But this is especially true for startup companies, as the risk involved may serve as a deterrent for some. Sharing the same values your colleagues will keep you motivated and prove that your dedication is worthwhile.
It’s not about quantity, but quality – another adage that rings especially true for startups. While the HR department of a large company may receive large numbers of CVs on a daily basis, startup companies will spend more time screening and select the right candidate because the team member may very well go on to become an integral part of the company.
Create your own position. The beauty of building a company from zero is the ability to put together your dream team. Even if the startup you want to work for isn’t hiring for your position, it’s often worthwhile to reach out and share how you can bring value to the company through your unique skill-set. Sometimes, writing a full job proposal is important to support your cause.
Understand that there is a learning curve. Unlike large companies, startup positions require their employees to dabble in a bit of everything, even if it’s not necessarily their forte. For this reason, many startup newbies have a hard time adjusting to the scope of their responsibilities and tasks. In such instances, it’s important to see the bigger picture, and use that time to build up your value in the years to come. The important thing is getting your foot through the door first, and prove yourself from there.
Sell yourself in unique ways. Unlike that of larger companies, startups are as a whole more receptive to ideas that are out-of-the-box. Exude your personality by creating a wholly unique and fun resume or portfolio. Don’t be afraid to be a little out there – if anyone’s going to appreciate it, it’s startup leaders.
Now, it’s personal. When applying for a startup position, the company’s founder will more likely read your resume than an HR representative. This means that putting a personal touch to your application can actually make a world of difference. Always write a cover letter and be as genuine as possible with why you want the job, and why the company needs talent like you.
No fluff, all buff. Climbing a traditional corporate ladder is extremely different from working at a startup in the sense that there is likely no system in place for moving up in the company. Rather than going through your previous JD as a way to show that you're able to fulfil the position, startup leaders value tangible accomplishments in instances where you’ve innovated, or brought something new to the table. Brainstorm at least two instances where you’ve done so, and be prepared to talk about it in detail.
Do your homework. While it’s important to read up on the history and current status of any company you want to work for, this is especially important for startups because they’re often trying to pull off a pioneering idea or product. This means that there’s no precedent or predictions for the future, allowing you to share your own thoughts, have a voice, and impress the interviewer.
Just relax, dude. In the startup world, showing up to an interview wearing a suit is about as normal as showing up in shorts and flip-flops. Smart casual is the way to go, guys & gals.
Still not completely confident? Never fear! Our recruitment platform Garage Talent is here for you. Contact [email protected] to see how we can help you land your dream job.
Welcome back to Mandy's In-House Notes, a twice-monthly column touching on all things brand-building, entrepreneurship and female-empowerment related, from the mind of Mandy Pao.
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