Startups are more than just jobs – they’re passion projects. Most startups (and tech startups especially) sit on the forefront of innovation. There’s something very satisfying about being there from the beginning, and helping a startup achieve the highest level of success.
If you want to get in at the ground level and ride the elevator to the top, you’ll find that the approach is a little different from the approach you’d use to get a regular position at an established company.
Don’t Expect Too Much
A startup won’t be able to offer you an excellent starting salary. You’re probably going to work for much less than what you’d be worth at a major national company. Chances are, you’ll be working very long hours and performing tasks outside of your job title and your pay grade. This isn’t because a startup wants to take advantage of you, it’s because they’re working on limited funding and trying to meet high pressure demands.
Startups don’t become glamorous until after they’ve become successful – don’t expect to be a rock star from the moment you walk through the door. You’ll miss too many great opportunities by being dismissive of passionate startups that are working double duty to make it big.
Create a Stellar Portfolio
Startups typically have shoestring budgets, but they’re willing to pay more for top talent. If you have more than one skill that a tech startup may find valuable, showcase a little bit of everything in your online portfolio. This portfolio should be the perfect complement to your resume, serving the visuals that back up the text. Startups are always looking for people who are powerhouses across the board. If you have some experience in coding as well as experience in sales, create a portfolio that’s devoted to both skills.
You never know who you’re going to meet. It’s important to leave no stones unturned when you’re networking. Tons of startups use Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with potential employees, but these platforms are just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t neglect Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat. You could find the beginnings of startups at trade shows or niche expos. Carry your business cards with you everywhere, because you never know when you’re going to run into someone with a promising lead.
Tailor Your Resume
When you’re browsing job ads, you should also be taking notes. They’ll mention the qualifications and experience that they’re looking for in their job descriptions. Write a resume that focuses specifically on those aspects of the job description. The best resumes are straight and to the point. Startups don’t have the time and resources to sift through lengthy resumes, and they’ll appreciate being able to see everything they need to see right off the bat.
Keep an Open Mind
Startups are a little discerning. You may have to begin working with a tech startup through an internship or a temporary position. Sometimes, they’ll hire you on as a freelance consultant for certain projects. If you mesh well with the group and everyone is satisfied, these smaller positions can become long term jobs. Be open to the unconventional – that’s the very spirit of a startup.
Don’t forget that anyone can establish a startup. If you don’t find the perfect opportunity on your own, you can be the one to create that opportunity. The spirit of entrepreneurship is strong, and if you have it in you, you can do it all yourself.
Eleanor Goins is a passionate writer and marketer working at Bizdb.co.nz. With a background in IT administration, she likes to cover tech and startup topics.