How To Find Your Dream Job At Any Startup


You’ve heard the siren call of working for a startup and want to get your foot in the door – but where to begin? Is job searching for a position at a startup different than for other businesses?

While all traditional job search rules still hold true – cast a wide net, be professional, network, update your resume – the sheer number and range of startups operating in an agile, fast-paced environment often allow for more creativity, connections and opportunities.

A special thanks to our friends at Hired, the marketplace where tech companies compete to hire you (especially developers and sales pros), for sponsoring these great tips. Do check them out if you are looking to work for a startup.

When tailoring your job search for yourself and your goals at any startup, keep these tips in mind:

1. Nurture your network

It’s nothing new, but network, network, network, then network some more. This doesn’t just mean reaching out to past colleagues or trying to get a hot introduction to a new contact.

The person who helps you get your dream job may not even be connected to your professional life, so nurture all your relationships and acquaintances for a better chance of making a promising connection.

2. Ask for help

How many jobs have you gotten completely on your own? Has there been a time when you helped someone else land a new gig?

Let people know you’re actively searching and ask for help. Don’t beat around the bush when it comes to asking for advice or insight.

Be clear with what you want, what you’re looking for and how you could use some help or support.

3. Do your research

Take time to find and learn more about different companies, opportunities and job positions. In 2012 there were 514,000 new startups in the US (see more stats here).

With thousands of new business starting daily don’t limit yourself to the companies you’ve already heard of: seek out new businesses and positions.

4. Hunt on

Our friends at Hired connects tech companies with potential hires in a fast, easy and discreet way.

The site works with more than 1,500 businesses and hides your application from current and past employers so you can search with privacy in mind.

5. Keep your eye on AngelList

Though mainly used to source information about investors, AngelList is an excellent platform to peruse and monitor up and coming companies, which startups received recent funding, who company heads are and what their background is.

6. Don’t underestimate word of mouth

While everything may seem high tech, nothing beats hearing about an opportunity, or being recommended for a position, from a trusted source.

Again, use your network to gain insight into new opportunities.

7. Search on Twitter

Use hashtag and search functions on Twitter to identify companies you’d be interested in working with then monitor what they’re saying, who’s working for them and they’re working on.

Create Twitter lists to quickly and efficiently filter the tweets in your feed and hone in on potential job opportunities.

8. Connect on LinkedIn

Try participating in relevant LinkedIn groups to grow your professional circle and stay up to date on business practices, new positions and more.

9. Add to your experience

Startups need experts in their field to help create innovative offerings and move business forward. They also can’t afford to have everyone work in silos, however, and benefit when their employees have more than one skill set.

Continue to learn new things and practice your trade to offer companies a package they can’t refuse.

10. Meet up

Look into local tech meetups to connect with new contacts face to face or consider heading to a major conference in the field you want to work in.

You never know what you’ll learn or who you’ll meet.

11. Think creatively about your skills

Why would a company want to hire you? What do you bring to the table that they can’t live without?

How can your expertise and ability be used in new ways that may not be immediately obvious but add value to the team?

12. Don’t wait for an opening

Job openings are always publicly listed. If you’ve done your research and found a company you want to work for but don’t see any listings, still reach out the team to get on their radar.

Perhaps there’s something available they haven’t announced yet or maybe you can fill a need they didn’t know they had. Be proactive.

13. Start local

Stay close to home by searching for startup opportunities in your own backyard.

For the company, it’s simpler to hire someone already located nearby and, for you, it’s less hassle than relocating.

14. Make a move

If you can’t find opportunities nearby and are serious about working for a startup, consider heading to where the hotshots are in spots like California, Boston, New York or London.

Try staying in an area for a few weeks to job search and connect with local companies – you’ll get a better idea of the business landscape while on the ground and prove to companies you’re willing to take their business seriously.

15. Join a business association

Joining a business community or association is another way to network with new people, learn about opportunities and advance your career.

16. Listen

Don’t just broadcast information about yourself to anyone and everyone. Keep your eyes and ears open to feedback, new opportunities, business trends and what companies are looking for.

If you don’t listen you won’t be able to identify a possible opportunity or business need that you could be perfect for.

17. Don’t apply right away

Once you find the dream job, don’t apply right away. It may seem counterintuitive, and of course you don’t want to wait too long, but take the time to fully research the company to get a crystal clear understanding of its business, needs, history and culture.

Use these details to better position your role and skillset within the company and make the best first impression possible.

18. Look where the funding is

If a startup has recently received a large round of funding chances are they’re ready to take their business to the next level and will need more employees to help them do it.

Monitor funding announcements on media outlets, company websites and platforms like AngelList to see where the money, and potential job opportunities, are.

19. Become a fan

Narrow down your search to a shortlist of your dream jobs and become the company’s biggest fan. Connect in different ways, both online and off, and be a proponent of their work.

20. Be patient

Finding a new gig takes time – there’s no way around it. Continue to be patient, proactive and persistent and you’re sure to find the position that’s right for you.


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