College grads are hungry to find that dream job; the big salary at the perfect company. This is where many graduates steer their job search. You can greatly improve your chances of finding a great job by focusing your search on a "riskier" sector - the tech startup.
While startups use to have a lot of risk associated with them - particularly in getting the buzz out about new products and services - the rules of marketing and PR have changed the chances of success for many of these organizations.
Likewise, a startup isn't necessarily launched by inexperienced individuals. In today's market it's not uncommon to see startups being launched by serial entrepreneurs and tech guru's with a wealth of industry experience. That makes a tech startup a great way to get your foot in the door at ground level and build experience & a powerful resume.
Why Choose a Startup?
There's two big points to consider with a startup: Culture and Ownership.
From a culture perspective you get a small company that is employee-focused. It's a tight knit group bent on leveraging the best of the team in order to ensure the success of the company. The sheer amount of collaboration creates a culture that thrives on working together.
While bigger corporations - and virtually every business - have some sort of hierarchy you won't see the same at many tech startups. As opposed to endless levels of bureaucracy and red tape, a startup has more of a flat organizational structure allowing the team to own their projects (instead of passing the buck between departments) and can get more done in a very short span of time.
While a flat organizational structure, or a lack of structure, can help some people thrive others may find it difficult to work in this kind of environment. Those who need more direction and work best in a "follow" position may find it difficult to grow and be part of a large collaborative team that is common in startups.
How to Get In
Like any business, a tech startup is going to want the best of crop to help their company grow and succeed - the main difference is that they're more open to folks who have less experience. Here are some ways to make yourself shine if you want to get in with a startup:
• Show versatility - a startup is a living, breathing thing that is in a constant state of flux as it grows. Startups will want employees who are versatile, and can grow and adapt with the ever changing environment, demand and workflows.
• Show your creativity - Prove that you're open minded and think outside the box. A startup is less inclined to hire someone who is just a follower. Open-minded employees willing to take risks and be creative are far more likely to help a company work through issues and come up with solutions.
• Make direct contact - Believe it or not most venture capital firms provide contact info even for partners. This is a great way to get the contacts for your targeted start up and make direct contact instead of throwing your resume to the wind and hoping for a reply.
• Give a suggestion - For a startup, doing your homework pays off. When you get an interview, provide them with one great suggestion for how they can improve, or a new feature you would like to add. Even if it's not a world-changing idea, startups love it. It points back to being creative.
Want to nail a job with a tech startup? FirstJob works with college students and recent college grads to help them connect with great job opportunities in a variety of industries.