12 Tips For Landing A Job At A Hot Startup
Via Forbes : 12 Tips For Landing A Job At A Hot Startup
A job at a startup can be exhilarating, exhausting, rewarding, and nerve wracking. And although there are many startups obtaining angel and venture funding, it can still be difficult to get a job at a promising startup, especially a technology startup. This article provides a dozen concrete tips for finding promising startups and landing a great job.
1. Establish a Quality LinkedIn Profile
One of the first things you should do is to establish a high-quality profile on LinkedIn. Here are some things to do in connection with that profile:
- Make sure that you have detailed all of your experiences and proficiencies. Companies will search for prospective employees on LinkedIn by keyword, so make sure all the relevant keywords that apply to you are listed (e.g., “social media,” “SEO,” “Java,” “SaaS,” “hardware startup,” “mobile apps,” “html5,” “iOS,” “healthcare IT,” or whatever you are proficient in).
- Start to build up your connections. You want to display at least 50-100 connections.
- Ask colleagues to endorse you or provide recommendations on your profile.
- Post articles or blog posts you may have written.
- Add a professional-looking picture.
- List your skills in order of importance.
- Join relevant professional groups, which will then be listed in your profile.
2. Get on Email Lists That Provide Startup News
You want to keep up-to-date on promising startups, especially ones that have just announced they have gotten a round of venture capital or angel financing. That will typically signal that the company is about to go on a hiring spree. Here are some important email newsletters you can subscribe to for free:
- Fortune Term Sheet
3. Understand the Startup Culture and Issues
It’s helpful if you have a good understanding of issues that startups face, and in particular the cultural issues of the startup you are interested in. So get a good understanding of all the issues startups encounter, from obtaining financing to hiring and firing, sales and marketing, and much more. Become a regular reader on the key startup sites, such as:
- Yahoo Small Business Advisor
4. Attend Networking and Startup Events
You should attend networking and startup tech seminars. This has several benefits: you can meet important connections, learn about interesting startups, and even hear about jobs. Some of my favorites include:
To find some local events, do a search in Google for “startup events” and the city you are in.
5. Check Out Angel List
AngelList is an online resource that allows you to apply for startup jobs. The site also allows you to identify new startups that are looking to raise angel or seed financing. By continually checking the site, you can get an advanced heads up of interesting early stage companies, before they become well known.
6. Connect With Startup Recruiters
There are plenty of job recruiters or “headhunters” who will specifically target job opportunities in startups and growing companies. These recruiters will have connections and knowledge as to which companies are hiring. Ask colleagues or friends for connections to these recruiters, or do a search on LinkedIn.
7. Identify Someone Who Has Connections to the Startup You Are Interested In
One of the best ways to get your foot in the door of a startup is to get an introduction to a key decision maker. So you have to figure out what connections you have that may help facilitate that introduction. Here are some things you can check:
- Check out the LinkedIn profile of the key executives and Board members to see if you have any connections to them.
- Review who has invested in the company (this can often be found by reviewing the company’s press releases). If it’s a venture fund, go to the fund’s Web site and review the bios of the professionals working there.
- Do a search for employees of the company on LinkedIn.
8. Check Out the Specialized Job Boards
There are a number of job boards you can review that specialize in startup jobs. Some of them include:
9. Email the CEO, Founder, or Key Executive
Once you have found a company you like, email the CEO, founder, or key executive. Here are the things you should include in the email:
- Ideally, identify a connection to the person you are contacting—can you say that you are emailing him or her at the suggestion of a trusted colleague?
- Briefly state why you think the company is terrific and why you would like to work there.
- Keep the email short and to the point. Early stage executives are very busy.
- Add your resume or link to your LinkedIn profile.
- Explain that you are a hard worker and willing and able to perform multiple functions (startups have to rely on a small number of people to do many different tasks).
- Provide contact info: a professional-looking email address and your phone number.
10. Follow Up
There is a good chance your email to the company won’t get a response. But persevere and send another email (but be careful you don’t overdo it and become bothersome). Startup executives are busy and are often buried in email.
11. Make Sure You Have Prepared for the Interview
If you are fortunate enough to land an interview at an interesting startup, do the following to prepare for the interview:
- Do a Google search on the startup and read as many articles about them as you can.
- Thoroughly review the startup’s Web site.
- Read the company’s blogs and postings on social media, especially LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Check out the LinkedIn profiles of the key executives, and anyone at the company who you may be interviewing with.
- Test out the product or service of the company, and be prepared to talk about your experience and ways you could improve the user experience.
- Research and understand the startup’s industry and chief competitors.
- Check out the company on Crunchbase.com.
- Practice and be prepared for interview questions you will likely be asked.
12. Send a Thank You Note After the Interview
It’s a good idea to send a thank you email to the people who interviewed you. It shows you are respectful, interested, and polite—and it will make you stand out among other applicants who don’t do that. Just say that you enjoyed the meeting and appreciated the opportunity to spend some time with the person and learn more about the company. If appropriate, you might also ask them if they would mind connecting on LinkedIn.
Copyright Richard D. Harroch. All Rights Reserved.
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