How To Get Hired In The Tech Startup Industry

April 15, 2016

From recent tech graduates to those who are more seasoned with their work experience, being a part of the startup industry has had great appeal over these past few years. With a great culture that makes people love coming to work and amazing perks like free food, unlimited paid time off, annual company retreats, and much more, it’s not hard to believe how competitive it is among candidates with hundreds of new applications coming in daily.

If you want to get your foot into the world of tech startups, here are some tips on how to do it.

Know their product

If you apply to work at a startup and get hired they will probably expect you to embody their product, which probably means using their product and  becoming an expert at it. By getting a head-start and becoming being familiar with what the company works on, it will catch the attention of your interviewer. There are applicants who do not take the time to do this, so it will make you stand out during the interview process.

Learn about the company culture and live their values a.k.a “drink the Kool-Aid”

Culture is important in all companies but even more so in startups. In some cases, there are companies that will interview applicants to see if there is a cultural fit first before moving onto their technical skills. By getting a feel of the company culture, it can be a big indicator of whether or not that you want to apply and can see yourself working there.

Have an online presence with side projects

Nowadays, it’s very common for people to submit their resume and cover letter for an application, but if you really want the job, one way to stand out is by having side projects and showcasing them through an online portfolio. By sending this along with the usual documents, it serves as visual proof and backs up your claims of being a valuable asset to the company by showcasing skills that you are capable of. Not only it help with the job process, it’s also a great thing to have people stumble across when they search your name online.

Get involved in the industry and network

As the saying goes, it’s not about what you know but who you know. The same logic and reasoning can be applied in the startup world. No matter what hub you work in, whether it be Austin, Boston, NYC, or San Francisco, everyone knows someone and you will start running to familiar faces at the most unexpected places. That’s why it’s important to start immersing yourself within the community and grow your network through different things like meetups, pitch competitions, classes, and etc. Later on down the road, your future self will thank you.

Have a killer resume that showcases your skills and desire to work in their industry

Your resume is a representation of who you are and your work experience. It’s also the first thing that a potential employer sees, so make a good first impression and avoid mistakes that can hold you back. Here are some resume tips things that should be highlighted:

  • Research the position and  mention the skills you have and how they relate to the job you are applying for – your resume should reflect the position you are applying for
  • People are drawn to numbers. Give data.
  • Describe yourself and the type of company you want to work for. Try to make it relate to the company’s culture.

At SkillGigs, one of the features that we have for our users is the 3D Resume builder. What makes this different from traditional resumes is it highlights your strengths and expertise in a unique way while working with one of our talent advocates who can guide you through the process.

Know where startups go to acquire talent

If you want to work for a startup, you need to be where recruiters are seeking candidates. To avoid looking in the wrong places, know where to begin the job search:

  • There are also area specific Facebook groups for startups where job listings are posted on a daily basis
  • SkillGigs is a great source for startups hiring as well. We attract employers onto our marketplace from large startup hubs like Austin and the Silicon Valley.
VP of Marketing at Digital Astronauts

Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder’s of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500’s. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He’s a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.


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