How to Get Hired at a Startup

As Miami’s career fair slowly approaches in roughly 19 days and 20 hours (not that I’m counting) the senior class is diligently working on their resumes and practicing their interview skills in hopes of landing that perfect job in that perfect city. Although, not all companies hire through traditional methods. Today, a lot of organizations are ditching the formal job descriptions and strict hiring requirements to be able to focus more on passion and culture fit with employees. One area of business that takes on this new method is startups.

So, you have decided you want to throw yourself into a life of agile scrapiness and new creations? Good for you! But, how do you get hired by these companies? Here are three key things vital to the startup hiring process:

1. Know yourself. If you want to work in the startup world, there is no such thing as just “taking a job”. You have to know what you are interested in working on, what kind of worker you are and what type of environment fits you best. If you aren’t passionate about the job at this level of a company’s journey, it will NEVER work out…there is a reason why they call it “startup LIFE”.  Knowing your dream job will help you go into the company search with more confidence and certainty.

2. Network. Hate to break it to you, but if you see a job posting for a position in a startup, the company is probably just doing due diligence. Most small companies are hitting up who they (or their network) know because they want to see proven skill level and hire someone they trust. It’s important that you spend time getting to know people in the startup circles by going to events, talking about your interests and well as showing interests in the companies. Once you have built up your repertoire of contacts, you can get the word out about what you are looking for. The good news is…startup people are awesome and LOVE to help hardworking people achieve!

3. Show them they need you. Startups are all over the place and that’s what makes them great. Even though they might have a strong growth plan and already have good team members, that doesn’t mean they aren’t missing anything that is vital to their success. If you can show a company what they are missing and how you can help, you’re golden. For example, I would say:

“Hi Blah Blah, I have really been enjoying following the journey of Blah Blah & Co. and I think your team is headed for success. Although, I noticed that in comparison to your competition, you are getting two times less organic search traffic, which has caused you to fall behind in social media followers. Since the largest demographic of Blah Blah & Co. is 20-24 year olds, we can expect that they are heavily relying on social media to help them in their purchasing decisions. With my strong writing skills and experience helping companies grow their social media, I can help Blah Blah & Co. gain more organic search through relevant blogging and raise social media by X amount this month. Hire me.”

Most of all, it takes confidence to work in a startup. In the words of one of my great professors, OWN IT. Know yourself, know your skills, know where you want to work and jump in. Scary? Yes. Risky? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

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