What just came into your mind as you read those words? The seemingly endless trawling of jobsites? Preparing for a 17 stage-assessment centre? Firing off your CV and cover letter 30 seconds before the deadline? For many job sectors, the traditional job search still stands; you look for a job advert online, target and submit your CV and marketing documents and then await news of that all-important interview.
Not so in the startup world. In the same way that the aim of a startup is to innovate and turn traditional concepts on their head, so is the startup job search unique and pioneering in its own way. Certainly, you will still find setups that go down the traditional job hunting route, especially those that are more established, have had several injections of funding and will likely have an HR person/team in place to work on the recruitment process. However, it’s worth devising a much more extensive job hunting strategy in order not to miss any potentially opportunities. So, how to formulate such a plan? When a lot of the potential roles are unadvertised, where do you start?
We’ve come up with a few tips to set you off as you search for your seat in the startup sector!
Short and sweet
A lot of newly emerging startups don’t necessarily have the funds at the time to bring on someone full time but simultaneously wrestle with the need for immediate manpower. Why not politely approach several of your favourite new setups and suggest they consider offering you a fixed term consulting contract? This gives them the comfort that they are paying a fixed amount of money for a finite amount of time while they establish themselves, and allows you to get a taste of what working in this environment might be like, while earning some money and getting your foot in the door at the same time! Such an approach could be made via email, networking or through a contact; just ensure your pitch is perfect – have at the ready clear information on what you can offer them and exactly how you will deliver it.
Startups often hire in waves and these waves often happen soon after a round of funding. Keep abreast of the startup financing world through tech blogs and VC news articles to discover the latest recipients of investment. You can either write to them speculatively before they advertise in order to beat the competition or just be prepared as soon as the job advert appears.
Banter with The Big Guns
You’ve heard it all before; network, network network – there’s nothing new there. However, given the startup world is so broad you don’t want to be wasting your time speaking to any and every person within the Silicon Roundabout, hoping they can give you that life-changing lead. So, stay close to the decision makers – with the smaller set-ups, it is quite often the Founders themselves who make the hiring decisions, so cut to the chase and introduce yourself to them personally. Alternatively, get yourself in front of a VC bod who manages a portfolio of startups and whose value-added interest it is to introduce key employees to his or her clients. These people also are well informed of current hiring trends so you can be sure of getting some golden nuggets of information that may help you with the job search.
Nothing to see here?
It sounds like a ‘no-brainer’ but most of the startup opportunities are concentrated within a handful of hubs across the globe. In the UK, you might be looking at East London (Silicon Roundabout), Cambridge (Silicon Fen), Manchester, Bristol and Bath. Further afield, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and Stockholm are also homes to active entrepreneurs and financiers. In the US, you would do well to be based near or in California, Portland, Seattle or New York. Being stationed within a startup community allows you to keep track of what’s happening, attend relevant events and network with current and successful entrepreneurs while being able to attend interviews and meetings with relative. Living amongst other entrepreneurs can act as a source of inspiration and encouragement especially when times are tough and the fast paced and dynamic lifestyle can keep you focussed, too.
If you’d like to make an appointment to discuss your job search within the startup arena, book an entrepreneurship consultation on CareerHub with one of our Generate team – we are open all summer and are happy to discuss!