Want to Work for a Startup? 11 Tips From Founders

Question: What's your best job-search tip for new college grads looking for a gig with a tech startup?

Question by: Ashley

Become a Regular at Tech Meetups

"As with any industry, networking like hell is the name of the game. If you become a regular at tech meetups in your area, you'll make the types of friends who can get you through the door at those startups you've had your eye on."

- Steph Auteri | Career Coach, Writer, and Editor, Word Nerd Pro

Don't Ask for Permission

"If you want to land an internship or a full-time job with a startup in your area, pick out the top ones that interest you and give yourself permission to start adding value for them. Literally. Don't ask for their permission to start, just begin by creating something (e.g. a competitive research report, a SWOT analysis, or by finding bugs on their website). Showing initiative gets results."

Be Incredibly Persistent

"The unfortunate truth is that most startups have an unorganized hiring process. Resumes and emails often get lost in the shuffle, and may not resurface when it's time to make a hiring decision. Be persistent and keep emailing and applying until you get a response, one way or the other. Startups will appreciate your hustle."

- Bhavin Parikh | CEO and Co-founder , Magoosh Inc
Crawl, Walk, Run

"The best way to work your way into a tech startup is to chose a few companies you're super passionate about, and try to work your way into a job. You can do this by making contact with people at the company and trying to get a part-time job or internship to prove yourself. If they like you, they're likely to then hire you full-time when they have an opening. It also lets you "try before you buy.""


Score Informational Interviews

"Informational interviews are a great way for students and new grads in any field to get to know professionals who can help point them in the right direction. Find a few people who have already gotten "in" and invite them to coffee to ask them about their experiences. They've been there too, so chances are they'll love to help."

- Allie Siarto | Co-Founder, Fare Oak
Work on an Awesome Project

"Want a startup to sit up an notice you? Prove that you can do great things without needing someone to poke and prod you. Build something cool of your own: a small event, app or some other creative project proves your worth before they even consider hiring you. As an added bonus, you can prove that you have skills that don't show up anywhere else on your resume."

- Thursday Bram | Content Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting

Be Willing to Start at the Bottom

"Even if you have 20,000 Twitter followers and graduated at the top of your class, be willing to do what it takes. You'll get more responsibility if you're willing to learn -- it sounds counterintuitive, but it's true. Be open to learning from people who are outside of your area of focus and interest. Ask to help with projects outside of the scope of responsibility. Show you care!"

- Susan Strayer LaMotte | Founder & Principal Consultant, Exaqueo
Spoons and Windows?

"Startup founders get hundreds of emails per day, so yours will definitely get deleted before they even get to your sentence about you 'being a hard worker who can add a lot of value'. To get noticed, send them something absolutely ridiculous. In the last year, I've done two big deals because I sent CEOs a 4-foot wooden spoon and a real window, based on conversations we'd had in the past."

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Research and Development

"The easiest way to get a startups attention is to build something amazing. Pick out a tech startup of your choice, find their API docs, and build an awesome product on top of their service. As you're working on the project, you'll network with the startups developers -- the next time they are looking for a hire, you'll know their system better than most."

- Wade Foster | Co-founder and CEO, Zapier
Be Open-Minded to the Startup Scene

"Keep an open mind for all different types of startups. You might have your heart set on a startup that focuses on sports, but could find a great job working for a startup involved with medicine."

- Josh Weiss | Founder and President, Bluegala
Just Start Writing

"If you're looking to get into the startup world, get yourself noticed by blogging. If you have certain marketable talents and passions, write about them. Then, share the content with as many people as you can. If you're transparent in your writing by saying you're hoping to be hired, your words just might land on the desk of an ideal decision-maker."

- Logan Lenz | Founder / President, Endagon

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

About YEC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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