Sarah Bourke, Customer Operations Manager at Thriva, is our guest blogger this week! Sarah’s blog provides insight into what hiring managers in startups look for in candidates, and how you can stand out.
If you’ve seen The Social Network, you know what startups are all about. Fast-paced, high-pressure, and full of twenty-somethings in jeans revolutionising industries between games of table tennis.
I’ve worked for three startups over the past six years, and I’ve found startups to be an amazing option for ambitious, hard-working grads. The on-the-job training and opportunity to make an impact early on are unmatched in other industries.
After sifting through thousands of CVs and interviewing tons of candidates – both leading and assisting in the hiring process – I have some insight. Here’s how to get hired at a startup:
Show your critical thinking skills
Great startups revolutionise industries or develop entirely new ones. This requires grit and hard work, as well as strong analytical skills. Building a successful startup requires answering some tough questions. Is there an appetite in the market for this product? What sort of people would buy it? How do we find them? If you’re able to think creatively and analytically about these questions, you’ll probably be an attractive candidate.
Startups are not the place for paper pushers. Bring big ideas to the table – both in your cover letter and interview. Don’t just show that you understand the industry, have ideas on how to shake it up. In the startup world, even an unrealistic or ridiculous idea is miles better than no ideas at all. AirBnB’s first pitch deck was famously a failure, considered impractical, and look at where they are now. Be bold!
Get in early
This is more of a tactic, but it’s worth mentioning. Great positions have tons of applicants, and there’s often a benefit to being one of the first. Have a templated cover letter ready to go, add in a few paragraphs relevant to the role, and apply quickly.
Build a portfolio
Not just for designers and artists, portfolios are great ways for grads to show their abilities. If you’re applying for your first job (or first professional position), your CV may look a bit sparse. Make up for it with a selection of previous relevant work or examples of how you’d do the job. Applying for an Account Manager job? Show that you can speak with other professionals with some mock emails. Anything that shows you’re genuinely interested in the position and willing to put in the effort is a huge plus in your application.
Have questions? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’m happy to help.