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!
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.
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