Tips for Successful Startup Job Search
We often hear that promising startup jobs are hard to find but once you find one, it will help shape you into a seasoned professional in your respective field and give you unmatchable wisdom. However, not many people actually look for startup jobs, but instead prefer to work for well-established companies.
Even though big corporations and well-established companies can offer you iron-clad job security and many more perks, the tasks are not as challenging as those you may have to do if you join a startup. This article will help you with everything related to a startup jobs search – from reasons why working for a startup is beneficial for your career to the tips and tricks of finding a great startup job.
Now before you move on to read the article any further, pause and ask yourself: ‘Am I a startupper?’ Startuppers are individuals who love to work with budding entrepreneurs and help their company live up to its full potential. Such individuals have to multitask, work long hours and be able to work under challenging circumstances from time to time.
Simply put, if you find joy in not knowing what is to come, have the motivation to go forward on your own, love challenges and seek solutions to problems using innovative techniques, then working for a startup is where you will thrive. Did you know that almost 70% of gross job creation in the US is credited to startups?
Many professionals want to work for startups in order to gain experience and expertise, but finding one that is right for them is what baffles many. Before you learn the tricks of the trade for finding startup jobs in line with the unique set of skills you possess, below are many reasons why you should work for a startup company at least once in your professional career.
In this article, we will explore 1) why you should choose a startup over a corporate job, 2) tips for a successful startup job search, and 3) what to expect when joining a startup.
WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE A STARTUP OVER A CORPORATE JOB
There are several reasons why a startup job might be more suitable for you and your career compared to a corporate job. Here are a couple of reasons:
1) More Responsibilities
When you join a startup, you are most likely going to have to work with a small team, which means each member of the team will have more responsibilities than you would normally have. Even though this seems like a daunting task, you will have the opportunity to fully utilize your unique skill set because each member of a small team will be a specialist in a particular field.
You will also have to pay attention to problem-solving by understanding the problem and proposing viable solutions to it.
2) Better Opportunities
It’s a given; small startups will not pay you a hefty salary plus benefits like big companies, but a lot of golden opportunities will come your way from time to time. The benefit of working for a startup is usually based on incentives; meaning the reward is not reaped in dollar but the skills you learn by experimenting and pushing yourself to new limits.
The amazing skills you learn will probably outweigh the pay cut because they will help you blossom into a seasoned professional who is an all-arounder.
3) Train the Spotlight on Your Many Different Talents
Job descriptions and the role of the employee are well defined as far as big corporations are concerned, but this has a major downside too. It’s likely that you will be stuck doing the same main task day in and day out without getting the opportunity to try something new. On the other hand, you can think of working for a startup as a big adventure everyday because you will always get the chance to do something new.
Doing so will not only enhance your knowledge but also build your skill set. When it comes to working at a startup, you can be rest assured that there will never be a dull moment. You will always be welcome to take over challenging tasks.
4) Getting to Know Insights from True Innovators
Entrepreneurs are not people you meet every day. While most of us prefer to work jobs, they intend and plan to do something out of the ordinary. This is because entrepreneurs are true innovators, and they have a wildly different professional makeup and mindset from the rest. An entrepreneur will identify a problem and come up with a great solution to counteract that problem while keeping profitability in mind.
This is one of the reasons why working for a startup can be greatly satisfying – you get to work with a new entrepreneur and understand the way he thinks and how he sees the market and new opportunities. You will also get to know how they figure out things, solve problems, work in challenging situations, and most importantly, create a business of their own. Who knows, you might be the next budding entrepreneur someday.
5) Train the Spotlight on Your Many Different Talents
Working for a big company can be a lot less rewarding in terms of work recognition. It’s likely that your boss might not care enough to appreciate your hard work or maybe your colleague will snag the credit in his name. Either way, work recognition is not one of the strong suits that big corporations usually possess.
When you start working for a newly established company, you will work in small teams in which everyone is a master of his or her field. When you do a great job, work recognition is something that will come to you naturally. You will not have to fight, compete or beg for it. Your boss will give you credit where it is due.
But there is a catch – if you mess up, your peers and boss will take notice almost instantly. So make sure, you never slack off when working for a startup.
6) A Relaxed Work Atmosphere
Are you someone who hates dressing formally when going to the office? Would you prefer to wear sandals and a t-shirt to work rather than wearing a suit? If yes, then working for a startup would probably be your dream job. New startups usually focus on getting things done rather than focusing on how it is done. The work staff also thrives when the rules and regulations are relaxed, and they get to work in a relaxed, friendly work atmosphere.
7) Self-Sustainability, Ownership and Hard Work
Hard work, tenacity, and creativity are worth a lot, but working for a startup will empower you. Once you spend a few years with the newly established company, the company’s success will become your success. You will be proud to see how your hard work will all be worthwhile when the company finally reaches greater heights.
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL STARTUP JOB SEARCH
Now that you know the perks of working for a startup company, here are some great tips that will make your search for startup jobs a success. You may think that looking for a startup job is pretty similar to looking for any other job – cast a wide net, be professional, start networking and keep your resume up to date. While that is true, there are pointers that you must pay due attention to.
1) Networking and Its Importance When Looking for a Startup Job
Networking is critical and the single most important thing to consider when looking for a brand new startup job. But make no mistake, by networking we certainly do mean you go to great lengths by getting in touch with your past colleagues or a hot new contact. The best part of networking for a startup job is that someone who is not even linked to your professional life can help you get a startup job if you play your cards right.
Seeking help from the right people is just as important as networking. How many times have you helped someone land a gig by getting them in touch with the right people? The same thing applies to those looking for startup jobs. Just let people with good leads and connections know that you are seeking a job at a startup. In no time you will see how everything works out just fine for you.
Also, give specific details as to what you want to do right from the start to avoid disappointment and issues later. Attending startup events is also a great way to meet budding entrepreneurs and startup people one on one. You can attend local tech meetups to get in touch with new contacts face to face. You can also consider heading a major conference to meet new people who might help you land a new startup job successfully.
If going solo at new startup events is out of your comfort zone, try meeting new entrepreneurs locally. Make sure you visit local companies near your residence and talk to the founders personally. This will make a good first impression and help you in landing a dream job at a local startup nearby.
A local startup recruiter may also help you with landing a startup job in line with the unique skill set you possess and your preferences.
2) Do Proper Research
The next step to searching for a startup job successfully is to do proper research. Before you apply for a job at any company, make sure you spend some time on the internet to look for new companies, better opportunities, and job positions. This will help you pick the right job that is better suited to your capabilities.
You can also check out the AngelList for more information on new startups. Even though the main purpose of having an AngelList is to keep a track of investors, you can also use it to find new startups you might be interested in working with. You will also get valuable insights regarding the company’s founders and background too.
3) Pay Attention to Word of Mouth
You can rely on the internet for tracking new companies and job opportunities but at the same time, do not underestimate word of mouth. Listen closely to learn about new opportunities or job openings and apply promptly to increase your chances of landing the job. When you take word of mouth into account, only pay attention to those whom you trust.
4) Social Networks
Another great way to find information regarding new startups and job openings is to scour social media networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. You can implement hash tags and other search functions on Twitter to weed out companies where you would be interested in working. You can also get to know about the background of the company and other essential information.
Participating in relevant LinkedIn groups is just what you need to grow your business circle. But that is not all; it will also help you get hold of new job openings, meet new professionals and stay up to date on the best business practices.
5) Prepare Yourself and Make Sure You Have the Skills for Startup Jobs
New companies are always in search of experts and specialists in their respective fields to move the business forward by creating innovative offerings. In order to get headhunted by startups, you must increase your knowledge, polish your professional skills and keep yourself up to date to make them an offer they cannot refuse.
A professional with a creative side is always a winner in the corporate world. That is why, if you want to succeed in getting a startup job of your dreams, you must bring out your creative side and use it along with the knowledge you posses.
6) Take Initiative
With startup jobs, you cannot wait for job openings. You will have to put yourself out there and fight for what you want, literally. With hundreds of candidates applying for their dream job, you must be proactive and stay focused. If public listings do not show any new job openings, at least email your resume to get under the company’s HR department.
If that’s not enough, you might want to consider moving to a metropolis where startup job opportunities are always pouring in.
7) Look for Funding Announcements in the Media
If you hear that a startup company has received hefty funding, the chances are that the company is looking for top-notch talent to take the firm to even greater heights. Therefore, this is probably the right time to apply for a job at that particular company. Now you must be wondering where you will be able to get this news.
Funding announcements are usually published on the official website of the company, AngelList, media outlets, social media and even your local business newspaper.
8) Never Apply for a Job Straightaway, Take Time to Think
Even though it may seem counterintuitive, do not apply for your dream job right away. But at the same time, do not wait so long that you miss out on the opportunity. As soon as you read about a job opening, invest some time into doing proper research on the company where you are applying for a job.
Pay special attention to the history, culture, business and needs of the company. This will give you a rough idea on what to expect once you get the job. If not, it will at least help you give a great interview and make the best first impression possible.
9) Patience Is a Virtue
Patience is indeed a virtue when it comes to doing a successful startup job search. Don’t pounce on the first job opening you see and apply right away. Always weigh the pros and cons of applying for a particular job before you email your resume and save yourself from regrets later on.
In 2012, there were approximately 514,000 new startup job openings up for grabs. So be patient, relax, take some time to think and find the job that is right for you because it will help you blossom into a well rounded, seasoned professional in your respective field.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN JOINING A STARTUP
Even though joining a startup seems like it will be all fun and games because you will not have to worry about stringent rules and regulations and have a warm, cozy work environment, it is important to be realistic and know exactly what it will be like to work for a startup. Here are all the good, the bad and the ugly facts on what to expect when working for a startup.
1) Gather Information about the Founders of the New Company
First and foremost, the most important thing to do is to gather as much information as you can about the founders of the company. Pay close attention to their social media posts and the newspaper or Google – or whatever your source is, to know all the details. The main objective of gathering information about the founders is to know about their previous successes and failures as well as their professional backgrounds.
Also make notes of where they have worked, so you have it all figured out right in front of you.
2) Check Who Will Handle the Finances
Experts believe that startup companies literally plow through money. Believe it or not, startups can go bankrupt way faster than the revenues start pouring in. So when it comes to financial matters, you must make sure the prospective company has got all bases covered. Now you do not have to be a financial analyst to predict the future of the company. If the firm is a tier one venture capital firm, you can rest assured that the company has a bright future as far as the finances are concerned.
3) Research the Potential Success of the Service or Product Being Offered
In order to do a thorough analysis of the company, you must do some research on the company’s products or services that are currently being offered. Check if the market that the firm is dealing in is crowded or not and how other startups have performed in this particular market before.
If your research shows that the market is crammed with competitors at this point in time and has no clear benefit or edge over the others, then the firm will have to struggle in order to find customers.
4) Weigh the Pros and Cons of Joining a Startup
As we have discussed time and again, working for a startup is not a piece of cake. You will have to slog it out for long hours every day, the pay may not be as high as that being offered by any big company, you may have to multitask and the compensation plan may not be what you expected.
Before you sign the contract and agree to work, make sure that you weigh all the pros and cons of joining a new company. By doing so, you will not have any regrets later if something goes wrong a few years down the line, plus you will have job security and a stable career.
5) Justify Why You Want to Work for a Startup
People join startups for a variety of different reasons and self-examination is a major part of the decision-making process. Do not join a startup in the hopes of earning a big payout or freedom from stringent policies of bigger companies. Whatever the reason, you must work for a startup only if you know what you are getting yourself into.
Consider this: if you want to be a big fish in a small pond rather than surviving the other way round, working for a startup is the best career move you will make.
6) Watch Out for Red Flags
There are certain red flags that you must always be on the lookout for when joining a new startup. Try to gain insight on whether you are replacing someone or being hired for a new job. If you are replacing someone, try to find out the reason why they left. This can give you deep insight on whether the prospective company is the right choice for you or not.
7) Consider Compensation
Whether you are joining a big corporation or a startup, the compensation plan is something you must consider wisely. Undoubtedly, the compensation plan of a startup will be very basic and cannot be compared to that of a big, well-established firm. But if there is some promise of a future payment, you may have found yourself a keeper.
8) Corporate Culture of the New Firm
There is nothing worse than being stuck at a firm whose corporate culture does not agree well with you. The corporate culture of a firm can be a deal breaker for many because they can easily determine whether they will love or hate their job at the new firm.
Do make a quiet round around the office if you get the opportunity to evaluate the corporate culture the firm follows.
9) Expect Long Hours
Make no mistake; working for a startup will not be the proverbial bed of roses you are dreaming of. It is going to be difficult because you will be expected to put in more hours than normal. If that is not a deal breaker for you, consider proceeding forward or back out right away.
10) No Standard Hiring Process
Last but not the least; you must know that a startup will not have a standard hiring process. There will be discrepancies that you will notice once you apply for the job. Your job interview, for instance, may be held in a conference room full of people or just by one of the founders in charge of the hiring process.
We hope this article has educated you on all the pros and cons of working for a startup and how it will benefit you in the future. If you apply the tips and tricks discussed in the article related to startup job hunting, you will most likely land a job that will keep. Happy startup job hunting!
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