So you’ve found your dream startup job ad (obviously on Work in Startups, since we’ve got the biggest selection of UK startup jobs!)
Your CV is all set and you’re ready to apply. But there’s the option to add a cover letter – what the hell do you do? […]
So you’ve found your dream startup job ad (obviously on Work in Startups, since we’ve got the biggest selection of UK startup jobs!)
Your CV is all set and you’re ready to apply. But there’s the option to add a cover letter – what the hell do you do?
Surely it’s not worth bothering as the hiring manager just won’t read it, right? WRONG! There’s been plenty of research into this area and most reports (like this one) suggest about 50% of employers more than give a toss – they actually see it as the second-most important thing (behind a tweaked CV) to making you stand out from the crowd. Employers at smaller companies (AKA tech startups!) are even more likely to read them, as they’re going to be even fussier about who they bring onboard. So, why be on the back foot from the start – get something down if you’re serious about a career in growth, even if it’s brief!
Obviously, a downright bad cover letter won’t do you any favours. Jobs in startups are competitive, and they certainly aren’t going to be given out to broken English, terrible spelling or hilarious mistakes. But, if you can follow these 6 really simple tips / building blocks, then your job application’s far more likely to get the attention it deserves. It won’t take up unnecessary hours of preparation – we promise!
Address the message specifically to the hiring manager or startup founder(s) if you can find them in the ad / on the website, or to the company team if you can’t. “Dear Steve” or “Dear Adzuna Team” is going to get their attention (and show that you give a stuff!)
Tell them what you’re applying for and where you saw the role – set the whole tone of the letter up front. “I’m writing to apply for the Customer Success Executive role which I saw on WorkInStartups“. EASY
Say why you think the startup product or company mission is exciting, and therefore why you applied. That’s right – do some research and then prioritise them first! It’s like being on a date, you just sound arrogant if you talk about yourself straight away. And feel free to mention a referral, someone you met from their team at a startup event, or something you saw about them in the news – again, show that you CARE and show some PASSION. “I came across Adzuna’s mission to help match people to better, more fulfilling jobs and keep Britain working, and it really struck a chord with me. The tech behind ValueMyCV also really impressed me and I saw your team won the ‘Best Public Sector Project’ award at the National Technology Awards 2019 last month – it feels like a really exciting time to join!“
Then drop in a bit about yourself and your GENUINE, RELEVANT experience in a nutshell (name-drop some startup experience or cool tech company stints if you have them of course!) It’s also a good time to explain any career breaks or moves you want to make, in a succinct manner, and state why you’re the best candidate for this role. Don’t get too cocky and put them off of course, but this is your chance to sell yourself! How would you summarise your profile in 1-2 sentences? “I think I’d be a great fit for this role as I’m passionate about customer success, having spent the last 2 years in the Ops team at Company X honing my people skills. I actually started my career in design, but realised it wasn’t for me as I much prefer solving problems for ambitious clients, and I’m keen to keen learning!
Close it up POLITELY and leave your availability / contact details. Makes it much easier than them having to lift your email or phone number from the CV. “I’d love to discuss this role and my application in more detail with you at your convenience. You can reach me on email@example.com or 07710 123456. I look forward to hearing from you. Best, Steve.” Again, EASY
Keep the whole thing brief! They’re busy running a startup! Nobody wants to read more than 100-200 words of job application, and you want to save some ammo for the interviews, so keep it punchy
Then you can grab a cup of tea, pat yourself on the back, and reward yourself for a job well done knowing that you put your best startup foot forward. And then crack on with the next application – after all, it’s a competitive market and you’ll increase your chances if you apply for a few while you’re in the groove.
Of course, this is just a simple guide to getting a quick startup cover letter done. The style definitely won’t suit everyone’s character (nor every startup role), and obviously the more time and thought you can put into each one, the better you’ll feel about it. But there really should be no excuse for not including a clear and concise message like this. Any comments, let us know!
When coming out of university there are plenty of common routes into the working world, be it a grad scheme, grad job or an internship at a big firm. We’re here to tell you that there is only one way to make the most of those first years out of university. A tech startup. Here’s why: […]
Are you graduating summer 2019 (or still studying and looking at a summer internship)? Are you stressed about joining the “real world” and finding the perfect job to launch your career? Unsure what to do, or where to look? We have news for you – you need a startup job.
Why: what are the benefits of working at a startup fresh out of university?
When coming out of university there are plenty of common routes into the working world, be it a grad scheme, grad job or an internship at a big firm. We’re here to tell you that there is only one way to make the most of those first years out of university. A tech startup. Here’s why:
Team Size – because of the small head-count it is likely that you will be in a close-knit team and rubbing shoulders with far more senior members of the company. Think of the experience you can get that would take you years trying to accrue in a bigger firm.
Responsibility – similarly, you are likely to be thrown a bunch of unique opportunities and given responsibility far above your age and pay grade. Startup roles typically have varied projects allowing you to develop your skills in a variety of areas. Importantly, this can help you take a view on what you want to next – you’ll never find out you’re actually an amazing sales rep until you give it a shot!
Career Progression – while you may take a slight hit on pay when compared to a city graduate scheme, money cannot buy the amount of progression you get. Lots of startups follow a “promote from within” culture and will invest time and resources in their people, effectively growth-hacking your early career.
Culture – startups, particularly London startups, are well-known for their company culture. We’re talking: perk packages, casual dress-code, social events, learning & development training and a “family feel”. If that isn’t an expansion of uni culture we don’t know what is!
Top Intern Tip: Emily, Adzuna “Something that I found useful during my internship was having meetings with people from different departments to find out what they do as well. Even though you might be working primarily in one department, learning what other people in the company do on a daily basis can help to give a sense of how the company works on a larger scale, as well as providing other potential avenues to explore before embarking on a future career.”
How: Using our site as a graduate…
There are several filters on our site that play host to lots of good graduate jobs. Obviously interns is a great first port-of-call for grads who are open to a broad range of startup options. However if you already have a clear idea of what area you want to be in, check out marketers, sales and developers.
Top tips for securing a startup job as a graduate:
Experience – we encourage all our applicants to be ambitious and go for broke (after all it is a quality that startups have themselves) but do make sure you keep an eye on the experience level advertised on the role. If the ad is asking for two years of account management experience it is not going to be the sort of role that would nurture a grad. No-one wins!
Research – as tempting as it is to just spam-apply to every one of our many tech roles, you’re going to have a much better response if you put some proper, thoughtful effort into your application. We have it on good authority (from our lovely employer community) that they prefer and expect personalised CVs and Covering Letters.
It’s easy to amend a stock CV – just organise it by ‘relevant experience’ and make sure the message of the CV is that you are interested in that type of role in a startup (or bonus points, at that specific company!!).
We will expand on Covering Letters at another time but keep it brief and specific to the role and company. That’s right – mention why you like the company in your message! Do. Your. Research!
Use the site to its full potential –
The hottest jobs (where the companies are putting some serious effort into finding you, their dream, rockstar employee) are spotlighted at the top of each page (the highlighted ones). Check those out first and foremost as they’re most likely to respond to your applications
Next, be aware that jobs on Work in Startups are organised on a recency basis so there may be some fantastic roles a couple of pages into the board (not just on Page 1). Make sure you are using the search terms, filters and committing to scrolling through the board.
We recently rolled out email alerts – you can get a selection of new and interesting posts in the section of your choice straight to your inbox every day! You need to get on this – it’s us doing the work for you!
Similarly: follow us across all our startup social channels twitter, facebook, linkedin and make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter. We share interesting roles at all levels on these channels (plus an interesting story or two!)
Top Intern Tip: Jazmine, Adzuna “Be a yes-man! One of the things I really liked looking back at my placement, was taking on responsibility outside my initial job description. Wear as many hats as you can!”
If you still need to be convinced about the merits of working in a startup straight out of uni, all we can say is: check out the board and see what sorts of interesting companies and roles you could be doing. Bin the countless hours of biometric testing for robotic grad roles you inevitably have bookmarked. And join us: #startuplife.
I think we are all in agreement that moving to London can be expensive and stressful, and expensive. We thought it might be helpful to point you in the direction of some of the coolest London startups where their whole bag is making that process easier for you! […]
Top London startups making moving to the city easier
I think we are all in agreement that moving to London can be expensive and stressful, and expensive. We thought it might be helpful to point you in the direction of some of the coolest London startups where their whole bag is making that process easier for you!
The April 2019 Top Five:
BySTORED –Before you move into London (and get your dream job in a London startup), you might be worried about packing the kitchen sink. BySTORED have a cool online platform to help store your belongings in secure facilities in the city, so you can ship your gear in on the day that works for you, then collect it from nearer your new place when you get the keys. The portal is really easy to use and it is a very convenient service for any busy professional!
Goodlord – have a really interesting platform that makes it easier to manage the pre-tenancy process, while improving the experience of managing your landlords (or your tenants if you’re the one renting a place out). Check out their list of hundreds of affiliated agencies (all over the UK) and start browsing!
Reposit –On a similar vein, Reposit is a cool alternative to standard tenancy deposits offering benefits for both agencies and tenants. For tenants, you pay a small fee instead of a tenancy deposit, and can keep a track of the status of your deposit via the easy-to-use platform.
Acasa –This is becoming a must-have in London if you have housemates. It allows you to manage and split all your house bills on one app! Gone are the days of a “gas person” and “electricity person”! It’s very easy to use and puts an end to silly money fights.
Housekeep –Keeping your house clean when living a busy life in the city is not the easiest, hence why many of us choose to have a regular cleaner. But if you can’t find one particular individual to be your “regular”, then why not draw from a pool of vetted professionals. Simply use Housekeep’s easy online booking to get a quote, choose a timeslot, manage your cleaning schedule and pay. Simple!
As you can see there are some really awesome startups in our network that can make moving into a new house and easy process. However, you may be wondering where the fantastic selection of startup jobs is, some good news: many of these five have live roles on our site, check it out!
This is the second in our mini-series on startup skills. What are they? Why are they important? How do you demonstrate them in your next startup or scaleup job application?We’ve collated some of the best resources and tips for building up your portfolio of soft skills so you can perfect your startup CV. […]
This is the second in our mini-series on startup skills. Now that you’ve mastered your Hard Skills (having built your personal website from the ground up and mastered SEO), are you ready to crack those pesky soft skills?
Soft skills.What are they? Why are they important? How do you demonstrate them in your next startup or scaleup job application?
We’ve collated some of the best resources and tips for building up your portfolio of soft skills so you can perfect your startup CV.
What are the differences between hard and soft skills?
Hard skills (as we’ve discussed previously) are capabilities that can be tangibly proven through a qualification or direct experience. Soft skills (what we’re focused on here) fall into a more vague category, as they can vary from inherent abilities to personality traits. Things like: time management, organisation, leadership, team-work, confidence, people skills, communication, creativity, logic, motivation and ambition. They are often qualities as well as skills – which can make them hard to crack!
Startup hiring managers regularly say that they want to see a balance of hard and soft skills – when looking at a job description you may notice that there are more hard skills in a ‘must have’ section and more soft skills in the ‘nice to haves’. This is simply because it is harder to assess soft skills in a candidate! Employers may try to use competency-based interview questions to get at how tight your soft skills actually are (no prizes for guessing the topic of the next installment).
To really smash an interview or application you should recognise what soft skill your prospective startup employer is trying to assess and demonstrate it. To help we have some advice on how to build up your soft skills:
Remember: some of these skills and attributes come more ‘naturally’ to some and less ‘naturally’ to others. It’s likely that you will have a few you are already strong on, so maybe focus in preparing on your weaker skills just in case. Don’t worry though – all soft skills are developable, from any base!
Organisation and Time Management – So you’re armed with some examples, try experimenting with different methods of organising your current work life and task management (and recount how you apply these to projects). Some examples people at our office use are; running to-do lists (written and on apps), ‘blocking’ tasks into a calendar and using all-inclusive productivity software like ClickUp (they also have a great blog with tips on this topic). Your system needs to be flexible to account for a sudden task, day-to-day operations and planned projects.
Leadership and Teamwork – Regardless of personality type or inclination, being able to point to examples of your strengths in both of these distinct areas is pretty key. On the leadership front, try and identify two or three clear projects or workstreams in your past where you were having to make key decisions – it doesn’t have to be where you simply managed a team of people! While there’s no nifty app or article we can suggest for building your overall team skills – just get stuck in! Come armed to your interviews with a few clear examples of big and small teams you’ve been part of, and where your efforts helped another team member solve an issue or develop their own workstreams.
Communication – There are two sides to good communication skills; what you say, and what you don’t say. When expressing yourself either vocally or via email to the hiring manager, make it as concise and clear as possible (think along the lines of bullet points). No-one wants a novella in their inbox at 9am! Same goes for your CV – keep it on a single page if you can and make it really easy for the startup to see your key experience and selling points!
Creativity and Problem Solving – Providing unique and creative viewpoints or strategies when problems arise at work is tricky. Some people can churn out a continuous stream of golden ideas seemingly from nowhere. However, most of us need a good basis of knowledge to inform proposals. We recommend reading around your industry! Given that you’re here and clearly tech startup or scaleup focused, check out our post on staying up to date on startup news or follow our Twitter where we regularly post interesting industry-specific content.
Motivation and Ambition – the reason we’ve put these skills last is because they should really come together after nailing everything else. If you’re well-informed on your industry, able to effectively engage with those around you, manage your workload and seize opportunities… you’re set! Building on this, you can tighten up “where you want to go” by following the success stories in your industry and how the best and brightest got there. We regularly feature up-and-coming startups on our channels, most recently the coolest female startup founders if you want some inspiration! Bear these paths in mind and come to your interview with a rough plan for the answer to the dreaded “where do you want to be in 5 years?” There’s a strong chance it will come up!
Welcome to the first of our mini-series on key startup skills for jobseekers. What are they? Why are they important? How do you demonstrate them in your next startup application? We’ve collated some of the best resources and tips for building up your portfolio of hard skills so you can perfect your startup CV. […]
Welcome to the first of our mini-series on key startup skills for jobseekers.
Hard skills. What are they? Why are they important? How do you demonstrate them in your next startup application?
We’ve collated some of the best resources and tips for building up your portfolio of hard skills so you can perfect your startup CV.
What are the differences between hard and soft skills?
In short, hard skills are quantifiable, technical abilities that can generally be trained or accredited e.g. attaining a GCSE in French tangibly proves one’s ability to parlez francais (at least at one point in time!) A soft skill on the other hand, is much harder to quantify; the ability to manage a team or be creative. They tend to be more vague, and though no less important they are a little more tricky to prove on a CV!
Building Hard Skills made easy
The good news is there is lots you can do to gain experience in a variety of key hard skills on a shoestring budget. It’s an easy way to proactively build your employability, so if you’re not getting the response you want in your job hunt give some of these a go:
Languages – as we know startups are no longer isolated to San Francisco and London, and any growth-minded startup will be looking to expand internationally – multilingual candidates are worth their weight in crypto in this industry. Don’t be put off by the grind, there are some really cool apps that make linguistics fun. We love Memrise (the observant amongst you will notice they are currently advertising vacancies with us) as its specifically developed for learning on the go.
Word-smithing – some startups are straight-up with this and ask that their candidates have attained a degree or equivalent to evidence their ability to string a sentence together (in their native tongue). Another way to show your control of the written word is to start a blog and write about anything that interests you (it doesn’t have to be startup related). There are plenty of blogging services that will allow you to do this – Blogger and WordPress are the leading free providers. Extra points if you build it yourself…
Programming – a basic comprehension of coding is becoming increasingly important, though obviously higher qualifications and experience will be needed if you have your sights set on becoming a developer. However, companies like Skills Matter,Grasshopper and Codecademy offer free courses to give you a beginner to intermediate understanding of coding.
SEO & Digital strategy – there are so many online and print resources to educate yourself on basic SEO. We particularly like The Moz Blog – who regularly post interesting and educational content on this topic. One of the best ways you can provide your ability to market digitally is to build a social media and blog following for yourself. If you get hands on with social and Google Analytics you’ll be a master in no time!
Software and Platform familiarity – word processing is a basic hard skill expected of almost any candidate, so what we recommend to all our candidates is making sure you are familiar with the nuances of the Microsoft, Google and Apple suites. Software like Photoshop and InDesign, though highly sought after proficiencies, are traditionally more difficult to access due to the expense of acquiring the software. Have a look for quick online courses that might prove your knowledge in any areas your CV could otherwise be lacking!
Now you’re a hard skills master it’s time to get applying – jump on Work in Startups and start showing them off! If you want to learn more about the other skills startup employers are looking for in their candidates, do check out our soft skills post too!
Have a startup interview coming up and want to dazzle with a witty aside about the next big thing in tech? Want to impress your colleagues with informed and intelligent water cooler chat? Were you recently asked your top five up-and-coming unicorns, and blanked? This is for you… Here are some things to consider when […]
Have a startup interview coming up and want to dazzle with a witty aside about the next big thing in tech? Want to impress your colleagues with informed and intelligent water cooler chat? Were you recently asked your top five up-and-coming unicorns, and blanked? This is for you…
Here are some things to consider when consuming news, and our five top ways to stay in the loop about the world of startups:
Keep your sources diverse – at the risk of sounding like a Critical Thinking teacher, when reading an article consider the motive for putting pen to paper. Try to get a range of journalistic sources, amateur opinionists and corporate copy (also bare in mind almost everyone has a political leaning!)
Think international – this plays into source diversity, but it’s good to receive content from both sides of the pond (not all startup news comes out of Silicon Valley!) Look at Australia, Germany, India and throughout the UK.
Sibling Industries – it can be quite useful to keep up-to-date on parallel sectors. Big players here include developments in tech, financial news and international politics.
Old adages say it best: Variety is the spice of life. Take everything with a pinch of salt. Read between the lines.
Here are just a few different ways you can consume media to get a broad understanding of the startup industry and it’s changing tide.
Daily Digest – Want your news while waiting for the tube or eating your cereal? There are so many websites and services that cater to this. Some business models include three minute news briefs from Finimize straight to your inbox or the ‘online magazine’ popularised by TechCrunch and TechRound. If you prefer a blunter instrument try the Reddit threads r/futurology and r/startups.
Good Ol’ Yellow Journalism – While the days of yellow pages are seemingly behind us, the ‘regular’ print media is still a source of relevant startup news. All the big players have moved to apps and online formats – the Independent has a ‘Startups’ feed of curated articles that’s pretty comprehensive.
‘Newstand’ Apps – Revolutionising print news, Apple, Google and Microsoft have apps or web pages devoted to collating and personalising your news consumption. Hot Take: Google News is (in our view) one of the nicest and most convenient to use; filter or hide stories, use key search words and (typically with Google) it uses your search data to get more relevant results.
The Startups themselves – If you’re interested in startups and startup news, the social media handles for your favourite companies are a good place to start (they tend to be pretty clued in about their industry). Not only will they often tweet or post their latest vacancies (so you can be the first to know about that hot product manager role), but they’ll often have good general news updates too. If you want occasional interesting posts about startup news then of course do give Work in Startups a follow on LinkedIn – we’re a startup focused on startups so you can bank on us knowing our stuff!
Job Boards – This is particularly relevant for the ‘new startups’ part, there’s no better way to see what the next big thing is than seeing who is hiring. Google Jobs is quite a nice way to do this quickly in feed form. Without tooting our own horn, as the biggest startup job board in the UK, Work in Startups is a really neat way to see who is growing and hiring… toot!
Hopefully some of these tips will spice up your news feed and keep you in the loop on startup news everywhere!
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