Guest blog by Hannah Dickens, Community Manager for DirectorStats.co.uk:
If you’re considering working in the incredibly dynamic and diversified tech startup industry, you’re probably facing this problem: you can’t get a job without relevant experience. But how are you supposed to get experience without a job? This might seem like a ‘Catch 22’ situation, but there’s a smart way out of it. In fact, breaking into the tech industry is more feasible than you’d expect. Here are six tips to help you land your dream job at an exciting tech startup.
1. Become a part of the industry
To get a job, you need to be seriously engaged with the tech industry. You should know what current events everyone is talking about, refer to influencers and bloggers you follow and be able to have a conversation about the aspects of the industry that interest you. Enthusiasm and eagerness to learn more always make a good impression, so mix with the tech crowd, read key publications and follow industry news.
2. Know more than expected
Just because you’re not a tech expert doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with the basics required for the tech industry. Teach yourself the basics of coding, learn about UX design principles and follow free online courses that offer knowledge that will help you to get a grasp over the industry. Startups run lean, so every extra skill helps. You’ll be performing a variety of tasks at any startup – even if you’re qualified in a different area, mention it. You’ll instantly become a more attractive hire.
3. Network with industry insiders
Attend tech industry events and start networking. Consider Meetup as your first resource – you can choose from a wide range of events where you can meet people at all stages of their career. Be friendly and you might find yourself a mentor who will guide you into the industry. Invest your time in these events, and you’ll get a lot in return – a new job, connections with industry insiders and access to knowledge that will help you impress recruiters. Only go to meetups that really interest you and try to have at least one meaningful conversation instead of countless superficial ones.
4. Get experience
Building a new skillset means that you need to start somewhere. To build your portfolio, start offering your expertise free of charge – volunteer to revamp a website, check platforms like Gumtree for freelance opportunities or simply contribute to GitHub projects. There are many ways in which you can add completed projects to your portfolio and get experience while still at university. If you’re motivated to grow, the industry will notice it and welcome you.
5. Don’t give up
It’s not going to be easy, but it’s essential that you get the word out there. You’re looking for a job, so update your LinkedIn profile, talk to people in your network about your aspirations and be open to embracing different opportunities before you land that dream job of yours. Build your portfolio and be patient – the industry is expanding and you’re simply bound to find a place for yourself.
6. Be modest and humble
The reality of startups is that they aren’t exactly glamorous. It’s not all about innovation and growth – there are factors like low pay and long hours to take into account, not to mention regular ups and downs too. Don’t think that joining a startup will automatically mean great perks, free lunches and millions in investments. That’s why you need to be humble – even if you believe that you’re an amazing marketer or writer. Don’t give an impression that you’re not willing to work hard or do menial work – both are part of every budding startup.
Follow these six tips and you’ll get closer to landing a fantastic job and joining the contemporary cutting-edge startup scene.