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30 tips for landing a job at a tech startup

  • 30 tips for landing a job at a tech startup

    With unemployment at an 18-year low, the time is ripe for career advancement for folks at all age and experience levels. But even in one of the hottest job markets in almost two decades, it seems there is one industry truly raising the tide: tech. The tech sector added over 200,000 jobs in 2017, and shows no sign of slowing down. Not sold yet? Tech workers earn more than twice the national average, according to a recent CompTIA report. Still, tech can seem an exclusive club to many, and viral stories about mind-bending interview questions at the likes of Google and Facebook can be intimidating for first-time job seekers and seasoned career veterans alike.

    Fortunately, with over-the-top perks and friendly cultures, tech companies can be some of the most welcoming firms to work at, and frequently grab many of the top spots on various “Best Places to Work” lists. Moreover, not all jobs in tech require the applicant to be ‘technical,’ with endless opportunities in sales, marketing, project management, and more.

    So how can you stand out when applying for a role in this booming industry? To help reveal some of the tips that make this field so unique, Stacker worked with Secret Sauce, a career development company that helps college students prepare for landing their first job, to compile 30 tried and true methods for upping your chances at nabbing a job in tech.

    Think you’ve got what it takes? Read on for 30 tips for landing a job at a tech startup.

    ALSO: 42 popular jobs for Millennials that didn't exist for their parents 

  • Ask good interview questions

    The job interview is a two-way street. It’s an opportunity for the interviewer to learn about your qualifications and for you to get a feel for the company culture and specifics of the role. As an interviewee, it is crucial that you do your homework and come prepared to an interview with creative questions. Great interview questions demonstrate to your potential employer that you’ve done thorough research, are able to think critically, and have the intellectual curiosity necessary to thrive in an innovative startup environment. Having no questions for the interviewer is a huge red flag, and having boilerplate questions you got from Monster.com comes off as lazy and uninspired.

  • Look in the right places

    Use job platforms made specifically for tech and startups when searching for open positions such as AngelList, Glassdoor, or BuiltIn platform. Also, many venture capital (VC) firms list their portfolio companies, which is a great way to find venture-backed startups.

  • Passion goes a long way

    Genuine enthusiasm and fascination with a company’s product or mission goes a long way in a job interview at a startup.

  • Follow the money

    Look to VC funding news sites like Crunchbase to see which companies have recently raised money and are likely hiring.

  • Learn some technical skills

    Even if you’re not looking to land a technical position, taking some free online courses in  Structured Query Language (SQL) or Python coding will show that you’re interested in tech and eager to learn.

  • Understand common tech business models

    How does the company you’re applying to make money? Do they use software as a service for a B2B audience like Salesforce CRM does? Or do they reach consumer audiences like Headspace does with their app? Perhaps they share an e-commerce focus with Warby Parker, a company that harnesses technology to make its e-commerce business possible. Another example would be Buzzfeed, who uses an advertising and content subscription business model.
     

  • Network, the old-fashioned way

    Attending local tech networking events is still the best way to make a connection with a potential future employer.

  • Have a side hustle

    Entrepreneurs love to see the startup spirit in job candidates. Having a side project where you wrote a Python script to analyze your friends’ Spotify music listening habits or you made a Shopify website to sell your artwork shows that you are a self-starter.

  • Have constructive product feedback

    The majority of tech startups have a business model based on a well-defined product offering. The product is the lifeblood of the organization and everyone at the company—regardless of their department—needs to have a detailed understanding of how it works. On top of product knowledge, most startups foster a real passion within the team for the product and what it can accomplish. In your interview, it is absolutely essential you demonstrate that you understand the product and believe in its potential. The best way to show you’ve bought into a company’s product is to bring constructive feedback to the table in your interview.

  • Build your social brand

    LinkedIn is the go-to recruiting platform for employers. Make sure your profile is top notch and showcases your accomplishments. You should be actively engaging with content related to your potential industry on the platform to show that you’re in the know.

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