Normal is very boring
There is one lesson I have learnt whenever I was hunting for a startup job or being hunted for one that “Normal is extremely boring” 🙂
It doesn’t however mean that people do not want to see normal people.What it means is that people want to see a different, fresh talent who is different from the normal lot.
From my past experiences and talking with some of the most amazing entrepreneurs from across the globe (Startup Specialists Group) there are a couple of tips that I gathered. These tips could be useful if someone is wanting to join a startup and actively looking at a startup job. So whether you are looking to be a co-founder or a business development manager or a social media champion or a coder wanting to do kickass work some things will remain common.
Here are some few tips to get you started.
- Tear that old CV: I mean literally. If you are applying or wanting to work for some startup you need to look at new ways. Instead create a professional achievement document. This could be an Infographic or a 2 Pager PPT or actual link to the products or services you have created in the past. Make it visual, you aren’t applying for a government job..Be Cool Be As You Are..People like original stuff.
- Go Network: One of the most critical thing when you are looking for a startup job is to be there where the startup is. So whether in person or be it online, be in the vicinity. Go visit the campus or find out where the startup is or Join an online community for Startups like Startup Specialists Group and network with like-minded folks to give you a heads up on whats happening in the startup ecosystem.
- Get Connected Directly: If you are serious about working in a startup the best way is to approach the founders directly and in a short 2 liner explain why you want to join them. Someone who is actively looking for people may find this very direct and proactive. Do not bombard with an essay keep the request short and simple. People love self driven individuals, that in itself is a great asset to a startup. Make sure you connect with the right people.
- Highlight Your Skills Now: Nothing new in this…HOLD ON…Yes it is. e.g. You do not need 1000s of documents to prove you are an online marketing champion. You can always create your online visual presence with the right amount of skills highlighted and present it online. This is the pull marketing for yourself. People see this and match against your skills.
- Go Do Smart Work: This requires a little bit of your EXTRA grey cells 🙂 Not many people do it but I have seen some people do it very diligently. You can always create “an elevator kind of 2 pager pitch” on how you can help the startup and directly reach out to the founding team. You may be knocked down but hell yes you tried doing it. Ensure here that you address the correct person. e.g. If you want to handle marketing function in a particular startup there is no value to write to the VC who is an investor there. Ensure you write to the CEO or the COO who heads the entity.
- Reach Out to a Startup Head Hunter: Many people miss out that these days there are a hell lot of smart and very enterprising headhunters who focus at recruiting for startups. I was talking the other day to this headhunter and she told me that her niche is startup talent headhunting specifically for hi-tech in specific cities in US. Go search for such niche consultants who recruit only for startups. You can try networking with them online through an Online Community too.
- Pick Your Expertise: When you are applying for a Startup job it is imperative that you are focused. One thing that comes handy here is what kind of expertise to do you have which can come handy for a startup. e.g. If you are a very research oriented person and looking at analytics or research as your expertise, zero down your focus to startups that are working in this niche and hunt for them. You will be treated as an asset with your competence in such startups.
- Degree is Good But Not Critical: Unless you want to be a Professor or Want to work for a hi tech robotics company a specialized degree is good to have but not always critical. e.g. I know a person who has worked in main stream media and ended up becoming a kickass coder who later became a tech-marketing expert and he is an undergraduate. In no ways I am saying the degrees are not important, they are super equipped for your professional arsenal BUT you haven’t had one, don’t you regret.Have your expertise intact.
- Keep Evolving: One of the most important things for an individual when he or she is hunting for a startup job is to evolve all the time. You cannot a standard cover letter or professional achievement synopsis given to everyone. Change, Moderate, Differentiate your offering to the startups each and every time when you apply. Match your expertise and strengths with the requirements of the job.
- Do the Damn Research: Dude if you haven’t researched well about the startup, competition and how they have grown or want to grow then all your hard work to reach to the venture is doomed. Do the primary and secondary research well, be well equipped to understand whats going on in the sector and how the startup has evolved in the particular sector. Know the products, services, investors, competition…every damn thing by the core as much as is available.