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If you want to work for a startup, you’re in luck! There are plenty of companies that are growing quickly and hiring like crazy. But at the same time, it can be hard to get your foot in the door at those companies if they already have hundreds of applicants on their desks by the time they post their job openings.
In this article, we’ll cover how to research startups so that you can find ones with a need for new employees that match your skillset and interests. We’ll also share some techniques for getting an interview with them when they do post their jobs online. Ready? Let’s dive in!
Research, research, research
Research is one of the most important parts of the process. You will be researching a lot during this stage, so make sure you have a system in place to organize your findings.
- What do I need to know about my dream company? When you think about it, there are probably many things that come to mind: their brand, mission statement and values; their history or story (if they’re a startup); what kind of work they do; who they work with and why (this will help when you start contacting industry players).
- How can I find out more about these things? A quick Google search might reveal some basic information but if you want more in-depth research then start by searching for press releases on LinkedIn Pulse or BusinessWire—these sources often have detailed bios for company founders and executives as well as press releases with key facts about financial performance over time.
- How should I organize all this information so I don’t get overwhelmed? Keep track of all your ideas in an notebook so that when it comes time to write cover letters or resumes later on down the line, everything will be easily accessible at hand! Take notes from what resonates most with where your career goals lie (e.g., “I’d love working alongside fellow entrepreneurs”) so that way everyone knows exactly what type of personality fits best within each role.”
Talk to your network
Talk to people who work at the company you want to join and ask them what they like about working there, what they don’t like about it, if they would recommend working there and what the company is looking for in new hires. Be sure to ask questions that show an interest in their field so that they can see how much of a fit you are for the role (i.e., “What do most software engineers at your company use?”). It’s important not just to talk with one person but multiple people, as each person will give different information based on their own experiences.
Take steps that help you stand out.
- Be proactive, not reactive.
- Be persistent, not pushy. If a startup loves your work and wants to keep you around, they’ll make the next move—you don’t need to keep bugging them about it or asking them why they haven’t hired you yet.
- Be creative and positive: There are plenty of ways to show that you’re an asset without turning yourself into a yes man who will do whatever they tell you to do without question or complaint. Think outside the box!
- Become a team player: Your job is not only about doing good work; it’s also about helping others succeed as well (and getting along with co-workers). Make sure that any tasks given by your superiors are accomplished efficiently, consistently, and accurately—and if there’s ever anything else on their plate related to yours (like managing client relations), offer up some assistance there too! This will show them how valuable an asset/resource/partner in crime/etcetera-person like yourself can be at times like these…and hopefully land them thinking about how awesome having someone like this around.
Have a portfolio of work to show.
Whether you’re looking for a full-time job or a summer internship, it’s important that you have a portfolio of work to show. Many startups have great websites and social media accounts that showcase their branding. If you can demonstrate your ability to create an engaging brand with them, then they will be more likely to hire you.
Showcasing your work online is important because most people are going to look at your website before they meet in person. It’s also a great way for them to get used to your style and check out what other clients think of working with you. The last thing any startup wants is an employee who doesn’t fit their image!
Do informational interviews.
When you’re dreaming about getting a job at your dream startup, it can be hard to stay motivated. You may feel discouraged when you explore their website and don’t see any open positions on their careers page. Even if no official openings exist right now, there are still ways you can get your foot in the door—and maybe even land a job offer.
To do this, we recommend informational interviews. An informational interview is an informal meeting between two people who have something in common: they both want to learn more about each other’s experiences and perspectives. This makes them great opportunities for networking (which will come up again later). It also gives potential employees insight into how startups function behind-the-scenes; they’ll learn what kinds of skills they need to have or develop; and they’ll see if these companies are actually the right fit for them personally.
In order to prepare yourself for an informational interview:
- Research online—You should begin by researching the industry where your dream startup operates using sources such as Crunchbase and LinkedIn Pulse so that you’re familiar with what types of companies operate within it as well as who works there (including some key players). This will help guide conversation topics during meetings so that nothing seems random or out of place during conversations with others involved at these businesses – especially those from whom might hire someday soon! If possible try reaching out via social media channels too so that everyone knows why we’re here today :)
Have passion for the company and product
Your first job is obviously not going to be your dream position, but it can help you get your foot in the door and show the company that you’re serious about working there. So if you don’t have passion for the company or product yet, try taking an active role in getting to know both better.
If there are other positions available at the company (e.g., “senior software engineer”), apply for those too. They’ll look good on your resume and will also help convince them of your interest in their overall mission by demonstrating that you’re willing to work hard outside of engineering positions as well.
Do your homework!
To get a job at your dream company, you need to research the company. Do this by looking at its website, social media accounts and news coverage. You should also look into its competitors and analyze how they’re doing. Finally, consider how much funding the startup has raised.
To start with the basics: visit the company’s website and study it carefully. What do they say about themselves? Do they have an About page? If so, read it! Who are their team members? Are there any open positions available that might be a fit for you?
Help them understand how you will add value.
You need to convince the startup that you can help them build their company. This is where all of your education and experience comes into play, and where you’ll need to show how those skills are directly applicable to this specific role. If a firm has been around for five years, don’t try to sell yourself as “young” or “fresh.” Instead, emphasize how much experience you have working towards similar goals in other areas of industry.
Again, this may seem obvious—but remember: startups are looking for people who are passionate about what they do. They want employees who work hard and put in long hours because they truly believe in the company’s mission, not just because it’s a paycheck (although that certainly helps).
When writing your cover letter for any job at any time period in any industry anywhere ever ever ever—you should always include some kind of section dedicated exclusively toward showing how awesomely specific your skillset is going make things better at this company specifically!
Stay in touch with the people you meet.
It’s important to remember that you have a personal relationship with the people you meet. You don’t want to be annoying or overbearing, but they are likely your friends as well as potential employers.
Here are some ways to stay in touch:
- Check in periodically with them and ask how their company is doing. If they’re having a good day, ask for feedback on your resume or cover letter. If they’re having a bad day, ask for feedback on your interview skills so you can avoid the same mistakes next time!
- Ask them if they can give advice on how to improve at work or how best to get promoted within their company. It will show that you really care about what’s going on both inside and outside of work; plus it never hurts when someone knows something about your own career aspirations!
Don’t be afraid to take a chance.
If you’re an aspiring designer, developer, or writer who dreams of working at a startup, don’t let fear hold you back from pursuing your dream—startups are a great place for personal growth and learning. Startups have less bureaucracy and may be more flexible than larger companies. They also often offer more interesting projects where you can learn a lot in an environment that’s focused on moving fast and breaking things (in the best way possible).
Identify the companies that have a mission and values that align with yours.
To begin your job search, start by identifying the companies that have a mission and values that align with yours. That way, when it comes time to interview with a company, you can speak about what they do in a genuine way. For example, if an interviewer asks why you want to work at their company, don’t say something like “I heard it’s cool here” or “The benefits are great.” Those aren’t good enough reasons for someone to hire you—or for someone like me who works as a recruiter at one of those companies!
While it might not be easy to get a job at your dream startup, the payoff is great. You’ll have a chance to contribute to the company from day one and take part in its growth, with all of that experience paying off much more in the long run than any other job could offer you. With some careful planning and smart networking tactics, you can land that ideal gig.
If you need any assistance with navigating your career, contact us for a customized approach to your needs.