Value Packed Guide on How to Get a Job at a Startup in 2021

Making choices about one’s career has never been easy! There are just so many things to consider, so many decisions to make- including what kind of company to go for.

If you are someone who is at a crossroads on how to kick-start your career, to go for an established company or start-up, and how to get the job in the latter eventually… you are at the right place!

So without further ado, let’s get on with why choosing a start-up is a good way to go and what you need to do to get there.

Why go for a start-up?

To be very concise, it’s about growth… both personal and professional.

For example, in a video game, the more frequently you face higher-level enemies or challenges, the faster you level up. Real-life isn’t that much different and the numerous challenges you face in an ever-changing environment make your skills and abilities grow exponentially.

Start-ups provide the best ground for leveling up because things are just getting started and there is a lot of space for innovation, creativity, and experience in working from the bottom up.

Also, apart from the paycheck, there are chances that you may be given an option to earn equity when you start working for a company that’s just starting to get in the game.

Of course, there are many more advantages of working for a start-up… as there are challenges, but keeping them to the side, for now, let’s take a look at what a company that is fairly new in the field looks for in professionals before handing out the ‘hired’ ticket.

What a Start-up Looks for in Potential Employees?

An important thing to know if you want to snag a job at a start-up is what they are looking for. Working for a new company is very different from being in an already established one.

First, the different processes regarding hiring and workflow aren’t set up that well. These things take time and a lot of experimenting and experience to find what kind of process would fit that particular workspace best.

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So these companies are always in need of people who can take the initiative to get things done on their own and take the lead.

Second, multi-tasking individuals with a wide skill set are always a good find. Because it’s possible that there won’t be nearly enough workforce at the start, people who exhibit the ability to take on more than one job and on their initiative to get things going might find themselves more welcome.

Finally, there is always, and I do mean always a time crunch when it comes to start-ups. There are so many things to do and just not enough hours in a day. This applies to everyone in the organization, from the founders and managers to the different departments and employees.

So someone who gets things done, in their own time if necessary, has more chances of becoming an irreplaceable part of the company.

Now that you know what are at least some of the things your potential employers are looking for, let’s get to the main topic at hand- how you can impress them and land the job you have your eyes set upon!

How to Get a Job in a Start-up?

Keeping the above points in mind, here are the steps that you can follow as an initial guide to getting the job you want-

1. The Research and Approach

As with anything else in life, when it comes to a job, it’s important to know what you want and where you want to be.. Researching about potential companies, how well your skills and temperament go with their work culture, and how much you can learn and grow there are some of the things you need to be clear about, before applying.

As stated earlier, time is a valuable resource for a start-up, or any organization really. So go ahead with asking for their time only after you have ascertained everything from your side. This can save you from leaving the wrong impression within the circle.

How well you have done your homework regarding the company and your approach matters a lot.

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Every employer likes enthusiastic people to be part of their team… people who are just as, if not more passionate about the aim the organization is working towards. To show that enthusiasm and passion, here are some things that you can do:

  • Familiarize yourself with the product and services the company offers. What you like and maybe a few suggestions on the aspects you would like to work upon. This shows that you are invested in what they do, which can help you in becoming a part of the team.
  • Never hesitate in going the extra mile during the application process. You can follow the individuals related to the company on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, be an active part of any forums or the company website, and use them to interact with the related people. Your goal is to get them to notice you… in a positive manner of course! Don’t spam just for the sake of it, but try to show appreciation.
  • Expand your network and show how you can be a valuable asset to the company by bringing in these contacts and your skills and passion to the table.

On the topic of skills, our next step is to… Show off!

2. Skills and playing to your strengths

Why you? Why must the interviewer choose you and not the one before or after you? Sure you have done your homework and approached all the right people, but what of it if you can’t keep with the company’s goals?

So it’s time to convince them and for that, you need as many skills in your arsenal as you can… or at least the willingness to learn them. Show them your strengths, and that you can adapt and improve while keeping up with the pace the company expects. The technical skills, of course, but also soft skills like good communication and the ability to be a team player.

3. Initiative

A word that you have come across twice before in this same article, which is my way of emphasizing how important it is- Initiative can make or break your deal.

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A start-up is different from a company that has been around for years already. They have relatively fewer funds and are consistently in need of all hands on deck to meet the project deadlines, to stay afloat in a competitive market that crushes hundreds of businesses, old and new alike, every year.

As such, you need to go beyond the basic job descriptions and take initiative to do more, even if it means sacrificing your time and doing things you never did before. As tough as that may be, the growth potential is off the charts so you need to buckle up.

Take the initiative to learn different skills that you might need, to offer unprompted support to your team. The initiative to get the job done when no one has told you to do it or is around to supervise you, to multitask, and go beyond what you are expected to. That’s how you become an irreplaceable part of the organization… that’s how you grow as a professional.

Conclusion

Before setting your eyes on a particular company or job, remember that they are investing in you, so it’s up to you to convince them that you are worth it!

Apart from technical skills, the things you need to show are good communication skills, a passion for the work, the ability to adapt, and of course, to take an initiative and being prepared for whatever challenges you might face.

So that’s it for our guide to get a job at a start-up. Do tell us your thoughts on this article. We are always open to suggestions, so comment on anything you would like to add, and don’t forget to share if you liked it.

References

https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/full/10.1287/orsc.2020.1371