YEC Members Give 12 Tips for Drafting a Startup-Ready Resume

Question: What types of things should job seekers include in their resumes if they're trying to get hired by a successful startup?

Question by: Elizabeth

Constructive Feedback for the Startup

"Startups love feedback, especially when it's actionable and more interesting than your generic "you need SEO" idea. Successful startups need thinkers and movers, so in addition to providing great feedback, share how YOU can help improve the business and how you have already carved out a pretty neat role for yourself in the company."

- Danny Wong | Co-Founder, Advisor and Lead Evangelist, Blank Label
Innovation Differentiation

"Bring something different to the table. Not only in your resume, but in pitching yourself. In addition, bring ideas with you. Approach the company having done your research, and make recommendations based on where you see opportunity. Then relate it to your experience and how you would contribute."

- Matt Cheuvront | Founder/CEO, Proof Branding
Forget Your Resume!

"Do something that makes you stand out. If you haven't done anything especially impressive to make your resume pop, impress with your initiative. Get to know the product extremely well and make recommendations. Build something. Send snail mail. The more enthusiasm and commitment you show, the more likely they are to decide you're worth bringing in. Resumes and cover letters are not enough."

- Emerson Spartz | CEO and Founder, Spartz
Prove Your Proactivity

"You can be incredible intelligent and experienced, but unless you are proactive and able to think on your feet independently, it doesn't matter in the context of a startup. You need to "tell" that you are proactive by highlighting experiences where you have created something new or worked alone, and you should "show" that you are by quickly and energetically following up with your interviewer."

- Caroline Ghosn | Founder & CEO, The Levo League
Embody the Corporate Values

"Culture is really important at successful startups like Airbnb and LivingSocial. Most of these firms publish their corporate values publicly, so make sure that you review the lists and incorporate the concepts into your resume. It will not only help you determine if you're a fit for the firm, but will also help the firm to really envision you among their employees too."

- Doreen Bloch | CEO & Founder, Poshly Inc.
Share Your Story

"Show them that you either have a history of innovation, or perhaps make an innovative suggestion for the company when you reach out to them. Startups want to bring on people that can help take them to the next level."

- Justin Beegel | Founder & President , Infographic World, Inc.
Are You In It for the Long Haul?

"Demonstrate that you want to grow with the company. Nothing makes me happier than knowing someone respects the startup model and wants to be part of the company's core. Use the cover letter to show your interest in the company and why you think you're a good long-term asset. Saying you're willing to do things that aren't "your job" doesn't hurt either."

A Startup Spirit

"Startups look for a can-do entrepreneurial spirit in their employees. Instead of showing how good you are at following the rules, show off where you've taken initiative or started your own project."

- Laura Roeder | Founder and Social Media Marketing Strategist, LKR Social Media

In-House Referrals Always Help

"Stand out by providing a reference from one of their existing employees. Companies love hiring based on recommendations of existing staff, so network your way into a job to stand out. As an alternative, demonstrate your value and initiative by tackling a small project on behalf of the prospective employer and showing it off on your cover letter."

- Matt Mickiewicz | CEO & Co-Founder, Hired

Remember Your Hobbies and Humanity!

"Big, funded startups can get skilled individuals for any role, but they are building their businesses for the long haul. Most will care more about culture and making sure there is a fit. Always include at least one line about your interests. Whether reading or camping, coaching youth or running marathons, these insights will tell the company more about you and will make you stand out."

- Aaron Schwartz | Founder and CEO, Modify Watches

Fearlessness of Failure

"A resume is merely a conversation starter that gets your foot in the door. Be ready to talk about experiences that show you are not afraid to fail and showcase how you've taken risks in the past. There is nothing wrong with showcasing a failed attempt at entrepreneurship because it shows that you can operate with an entrepreneur's mind within a more mature startup organization."

- Matt Wilson | Adventurer in Residence , Under30Experiences
Can You Do the Hustle?

"Show them how you "pounded the pavement" to get the job done. At successful startups, a seemingly easy task is often littered with obstacles that employees need to overcome. Demonstrate that you've gone above and beyond, such as driving hours to see a client in person or staying tethered to your laptop on a weekend to be responsive to customer inquiries. Hustle goes a long way."

- Bhavin Parikh | CEO and Co-founder , Magoosh Inc

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit 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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