Although applying for jobs is not the most enjoyable activity, applying to startups can actually be really fun. It’s an opportunity to express your quirky personality or sense of humour. The person hiring at Startup A (very unlikely having anything to do with HR) wants to picture you as a future member of his team, which is more than likely a tight-knit family. If you’re a ping pong master or love to teach others about craft beer tasting, feel free to add that in your extracurriculars section!
Here are some other useful tips for your job hunt:
Always include a cover letter
I know it seems like so much extra work to tailor a cover letter that goes with the company and position, but I promise it’ll make the difference between at least getting your application looked at or thrown to the side. Having been a person in charge of hiring myself, it shows great motivation to see someone put their time into researching the company and tying in exactly how their skills match what the job description is looking for. Also, it doesn’t hurt to use the startup’s tone (which you can easily determine by looking at their website).
Example: “Startup A is looking for a scrum ninja” could mean your application begins with “5 Reasons I’m Startup A’s Next Scrum Ninja”.
Also keep in mind that statements like “I get work done in lightening speed” MUST be followed up with concrete examples. Don’t just say ‘what’; always follow with ‘why’.
Design your CV
Submitting a boring, multi-page CV is slowly becoming a thing of the past. There are so many awesome platforms out there that allow you to easily make an ‘About me’ page incorporating your CV, a little more about yourself, and even a link to your Instagram and Twitter if you feel it’s appropriate. Check out about.me or flavors.me to start your page for free!
Use digital to your advantage
Twitter has given us the most useful tool to reach out to individuals like never before. In earlier days you’d more than likely need a direct email address to reach anyone, since general email enquiries often don’t get answered. But tweeting at individuals who you know work at certain companies or tweeting at the company in general, especially a small startup, means you’re more than likely to get a response.
Example: Hey @GoCardless – I’ve just applied for your customer support internship. Hoping to hear back from you!
No joke, someone did this for a front-end developer position at my previous company and we were super impressed. He majorly stood out from the 50 other applicants and needless to say he got an offer.
Get out there!
I can honestly tell you that applying to jobs and reaching out to people online can only make up about half the equation in your job hunt. There’s no choice really: you gotta get out there! Attend meetups, other events in your industry, job fairs, or anything at all that will expose you to the people who you want to work for and with. This way you can put a face to your name, have the chance to show your personality a bit more, and connect on LinkedIn with someone you’ve actually met. This makes following up so much easier. For more on events see John’s previous blog post.
Don’t forget to follow up
Nothing will solidify your interest in the position more than by sending a follow up email a few days after applying. It’s simple to do and gives that little boost of effort that could make the difference between landing an interview or not.
Applying to startup jobs isn’t a time to hold back and be conservative about yourself. Be bold! That’s how some of the most talented people landed their dream jobs. Startups want goofy, unique, fun people to join their team. I’m confident if you be yourself you’ll undoubtedly end up where you belong.