Andrew Hyde, Boulder startup hub, gives some tips on the startup job process. Having been a part of a few startups, I thought I’d review the high points of the list, but it’s worth a read regardless.
Lots of his tips are useful to people hunting for jobs at established companies as well–I’ve long been a believer in personal blogging (#12) as a ‘living resume’ (among its other benefits), and the research required to write a blog post about the company (#10) will be useful to you as well. Here’s another post with good tips.
I especially enjoyed his riff on generalists: “In the history of startups, not a single ‘generalist’ has ever been hired. They are called founders.” I’m not sure I entirely agree, but I do think that if you want to be hired for money at a startup, you should have a strong focus (whether that be development, marketing, sales, operations, etc, etc). However, even if you are hired as, say, a developer, you’ll need to do other things (testing, customer service, perhaps even marketing)–that’s part of the fun.
He does give some contradictory advice: have a resume in PDF (#2) but at the same time “ditch a resume” (#8). I think he means that while a resume is nice, startups are more interested in specific projects and achievements than a typical big company with an HR department. Some argue one should approach all job interviews in the same manner.
The most important piece of advice that Andrew gives is #7, which is worth quoting in full:
Be clear. You are looking for a job. Cut the buzzswords, what is the best fit? Steady? Fast paced? Live in Boulder? Just say it. Cut the shit.
In my job hunts, knowing what I actually wanted was the hardest task, but the most important. Why is it hard? When I’ve been looking for a job, I am anxious and concerned about the future, often thinking about my slowly draining savings. Declaring what I actually want (beyond “a job, any job, please God, give me a job” which is sometimes how I feel 🙂 ) necessarily excludes opportunities. However, that is the exact reason that it is the most important task. By excluding opportunities that wouldn’t be a good fit, or would make me bitter, or wouldn’t serve the employer well, I freed myself up to focus on situations where I could help the employer succeed and be happy.