This blog was originally posted in September 2017 but its advice still stands today! So we thought we’d share one from the vault! A startup job-seeker’s life is never easy, and navigating dozens of ads that require a certain degree of experience in a field does not help. However, the fact that you have little […]
Getting an entry-level startup job with little experience
This blog was originally posted in September 2017 but its advice still stands today! So we thought we’d share one from the vault!
A startup job-seeker’s life is never easy, and navigating dozens of ads that require a certain degree of experience in a field does not help. However, the fact that you have little to no experience, does not mean that you aren’t the ideal candidate (just that you have to find a way to stand out!) Grab an employee’s attention, not with your vast experience, but with your potential.
Before you begin: try to remember that everyone starts from scratch and don’t be afraid to experiment with your approach and your resume, but do stay true to yourself.
Focussing on (and mitigating against) your skills that don’t match up to the job requirements is a mistake that a lot of candidates make when applying for a tech job. The truth is that you have likely overlooked startup skills that you do have that are actually transferable – look out for the following in your CV and big them up!
Soft skills – Communication skills can take so many forms – negotiating, mentoring, writing/ copywriting etc. That is why they’re often required in a wide range of startup job listings. Being able to first understand and then relay complex processes and technical aspects of a project to different departments, facilitating a smooth and efficient interaction is highly valuable (especially in a tech environment).
(for the 2019 Supplement: check out our soft and hard skills series).
Teamwork – being able to successfully work and integrate within a team is a crucial aspect of working in a startup. Keep in mind that some startup teams are based in an office, while others work remotely or on a flexible schedule. This can result in less-traditional interactions. Regardless of your work-style, the ability to professionally work with others towards a common goal is a must-have skill.
Planning and organising – Surely this sounds easy enough, but planning and organising goes well beyond keeping a neat desk and a beautifully organised google drive! Could you project manage, track deadlines, create templates or checklists, establish, optimise and explain project workflows to make sure that every aspect of the business is aligned and integrated seamlessly? Yes? Maybe a startup job is for you.
Research and Analysis – Just think about it – you are already doing this on the daily for your day-to-day activities (online shopping, researching new products/services or just source-collecting for your next university report). And you’re even reading this startup blog, so clearly you do your homework! If you are able to get through high volumes of data, put it all together in a relevant way and isolate the essential information, why wouldn’t you put that skill to work in a tech startup as well? Market research, competitive analysis, prospecting finding relevant tools and resources for the business are invaluable in the long-run for any startup.
Multitasking – Being able to juggle multiple tasks at once and stay productive might be one of the best skills you can have in a startup. There is no more dynamic an environment than a company with ambitions of massive growth. Keeping up with that pace and pressure isn’t for everyone, but if you are a multi-tasking rockstar you are definitely startup material.
Experience (or lack of it), does not have to be an impediment when it comes to getting hired by a tech startup! Remember: everything you put in your CV has to be accompanied by an example of work or a situation in which you had to use those skills! Most startups will hire you as a grad or for an internship for potential and not only for experience (but a shiny certificate never hurt anyone!)
As ever, we welcome willing candidates of all skill levels on Work in Startups. Come join the hiring frenzy!
Are you completely operational and are all your circuits functioning normally? Good!
2001, A Space Odyssey references aside, it really has been a banner week for robotics news. Post-bank holiday, we (and seemingly everyone else on startup social media) watched in awe as a £700k robot tentatively picked a raspberry. This may seem a relatively benign field to throw groundbreaking robotics research at but, in a post-Brexit UK, farming and labour costs could potentially rise quite aggressively. So this is Fieldwork Robotics’ solution, boasting a 150% increase in yield when compared to human harvesters.
Meanwhile Ford is upping the ante in the delivery space with its new bipedal, startlingly humanoid robot named Digit. This guy can climb stairs, lift packages and (hopefully) do a generally better job than simply lose your countless ASOS parcels in a depot somewhere. It’s worth noting that this is a ‘research project’ with no established plans for roll-out, but having watched the video we wouldn’t be surprised if this changed in the near(ish) future.
And there’s another area where robotics could potentially change the game, or rather, change your game. The Metro published an opinion piece on whether romantic or sexual relationships with bots (!) are likely to become widespread given how many individuals find love online. Now, it is a bit of a leap of faith to assume the occasional hungover right-swipe will lead to a future a la ex-Machina. But it does open up an interesting discussion about how we combat the loneliness that can come from increasingly living life on the web…
Whether or not the encroachment of our shiny metal friends is good or bad for the human race generally, we know we want to be at the party! Check out Work in Startups for a whole host of robotics, machine-learning and AI jobs. Whatever your taste in future tech we have you covered!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
For those who were too busy enjoying the glorious sunshine in London yesterday, you may have missed the headlines about San Francisco’s outright ban of facial recognition tech for security surveillance purposes. The ban was brought on by widespread concern about the expansion of government surveillance and potential issues with profiling bias. While concerns over the increasing amount we are all monitored by technology are entirely justified, it is a little hard to digest the idea of San Francisco, home of social liberty and Silicon Valley, and a hub of surveillance tech, making such a sweeping (and pioneering) decision.
Unsurprisingly, opponents of the ban have been quick to extoll the value of facial recognition, highlighting its growing use in criminal suspect verification and a slowly improving success rate in this regard. Proponents, however, point to China as an example of what could happen if ‘Big Brother’ gets a little too into his steroids. Facial and video recognition is reportedly now used to monitor everything from childhood attentiveness in the classroom to isolating petty thieves in real time. The most dystopic Chinese AI project (that we’re aware of anyway) is a plan to roll out facial recognition system linked to the government database of 1.3 billion (yes, with a B) ID cards. Orwellian, we know. And it’s particularly punchy given the tech itself is still in its relative infancy (yes, your iPhone’s unlocking capabilities really aren’t that impressive). Closer to home, the Met police are currently trialling facial recognition cameras rigged to police vans in East London in order to locate suspects in ongoing criminal investigations. As you can see in the video, it is hitting mixed results!
We’re not sure an outright ban on tech is ever the optimal solution – one to watch in the news and see whether other cities (or states for that matter) follow suit…
This is all about how China uses facial recognition (among other methods) to monitor its population.
If you’re not too busy watching the Game of Thrones finale, and you’re interested in pop culture facial recognition, check out Black Mirror (generally) but specifically “Nosedive” Season 3, Episode 1. Minority Report is also an early 2000’s Tom Cruise classic! Both available on your favourite streaming services.
Here at Work in Startups, we are often asked what types of companies we classify as a startup (and similarly, what it takes to make it onto our site!) In the interest of transparency, we thought we’d expand on how we think a “startup” differs from other labels commonly tossed around, such as “scaleup”, “SME”, […]
Here at Work in Startups, we are often asked what types of companies we classify as a startup (and similarly, what it takes to make it onto our site!) In the interest of transparency, we thought we’d expand on how we think a “startup” differs from other labels commonly tossed around, such as “scaleup”, “SME”, or even “small business”.
Full Disclosure: it is highly subjective! There is no single, universally accepted definition of a startup. It’s a much more broad-reaching term than others you might hear such as ‘unicorn’ (a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion). Confusion is possibly rooted in the rise of companies keen to define themselves as a startup (it’s a sexy tag after all), even when they don’t fulfil many of the characteristics that others would deem essential.
What are the features of a startup
In our humble opinion, these tend to be the two key features that differentiate a startup from any old company:
Growth – is it expanding and growing rapidly, in terms of either customers, new jobs or financials? Yes? Potentially this company is a startup! There’s a relatively widely shared blog post on this which goes into much more detail on why this angle is often considered the most important: http://www.paulgraham.com/growth.html
Innovative – the startup industry has become culturally synonymous with the concept of disruptive business models. For us, a startup needs to offer something fresh!
Often but not always: a tech focus or component, VC funding (or likely potential to receive/qualify for funding in the near future), some element of risk (not a traditional service with hundreds of comparables), interesting employee perks and an “owner culture” (which could mean equity awards readily available to staff).
Meanwhile, these features can help the eagle-eyed spot where a company is on its journey to unicorn status (i.e. when is it likely no longer a startup):
New – the exact age before a company falls into ‘scaleup territory’ is up for debate: some experts set as low as three-years-old as this cap. We modestly say about five-years-old, absolute maximum ten.
Small – headcount (like age) is a nice marker for when a company has graduated to ‘scale-up status.’ We think this happens when you exceed roughly 100-200 members of staff.
Revenue – as with all of the numbers in this list, a revenue of more than £10 million is a rough metric, to give you a general feel. Effectively: no unicorns allowed!
At Work in Startups, we think that growth (or growth potential) is the most important identifier for startups. While our opinion is based on rather a lot of startup companies and job ads, we wanted to see what our lovely and knowledgeable twitter community thought. Interestingly they had other ideas…
As you can see the results overwhelmingly favoured how recently the company was founded – although it is clear that growth is quite important! This really suggests that checking a variety of metrics (cue our handy-dandy list) is the only way for us to truly hunt the next unicorn!
Note: we include a combination of start up and scale up jobs on our site, as despite the terminology being murky, we tend to find our audience is broadly interested in both. Do feel free to get in touch though if you have any comments on this!
Usual deal here folks! A weekly roundup on an interesting topic. A selection of our favourite startup jobs from your favourite startup job board. What’s new? Well: we’re discussing the interesting developments into how we buy and deliver produce online. Read on! […]
If the growing mountain of ASOS deliveries and returns in our office is anything to go by, the popularity of online shopping is on a constant rise. Though it would seem that the fantastically convenient world of online shopping and delivery is not quite sitting on a bed of roses.
Resolver, a platform to air and (shock!) resolve customer grievances with companies has announced an 84% increase YOY in UK consumer complaints referencing online shopping. Some of the more recurrent problems included (perhaps unsurprisingly) customer service, issues with deliveries, quality control and refunds. So… basically everything that a high street experience could resolve? Meanwhile in their storming expansion through the subcontinent, African delivery giant Jumia have reported similar issues… and some more interesting ones. In a fascinating piece by the FT they explore some region-specific troubles such as distrust of corrupt suppliers, resulting in a pay-on-delivery culture and an (even more) hazardous life for the underlying couriers. Maybe this is something the giants of Alibaba and Facebook can solve as they weigh into the fray – the former is helping pioneer facial recognition tech to the way we buy, while the latter is supposedly about to introduce online marketplace functionality across all three of its major platforms, suggesting that they hope to marry influencer power and personal recommendations from your inner circle (and then take your cash). Time will tell if innovation, technical development and design from the big dogs will unseat the likes of Amazon – who knows if buying a package on Whatsapp will solve any of these issues?