Working at a startup can be a hugely rewarding experience, one which can give you the opportunity to develop alongside the business. Ultimately, people working for growing companies often get to come into work every day and feel like they’re part of something. So, how do you get there? Peter Ames, from workplace experts OfficeGenie.co.uk, has some advice:
#1 Learn, Learn and Learn Some More
Life in a startup is a massive learning experience. Possibly the best quality you can have is showing the ability to learn quickly. Make sure you emphasise this in any application and it will generally go down very well (particularly if you have any extra-curricular education to exhibit).
Here at Genie we often look to hire on personality rather than just skills and experience; it can be a great way to get talented employees trained up your way. So even if you are concerned you may lack the skills, show you’re the right person for the job and a quick learner, rather than just the right CV.
#2 In Startup Marketing Jobs It’s the Skill that Pays the Bills
Of course, if you are worried about a slightly thin CV, there are all sorts of easy ways to boost it. The following can be three hugely valuable for many startups (even just learning them yourself shows a great attitude):
Coding: A hugely sought-after asset, so Code Academy (which offers free courses) can be a brilliant resource.
Google Adwords: Fairly easily self-taught, while abundant free credit means you can test your skills for a relatively low financial risk.
Networking: Get yourself down to local networking events, who knows you may even get a couple of job leads.
#3 Ensure your online image is up to scratch
Pretty much a basic for any application, but use social media to your advantage: First and foremost ensure your LinkedIn is up to date with relevant education, experience and skills; it can go a long way. It needn’t be a big task – just adapt a strong CV and you’ll be most of the way there.
While you want your LinkedIn profile to be as strong as possible, you don’t want your other social media accounts to let you down. Be conservative with photos (and in particular their privacy settings); that boozy weekend away four years ago probably isn’t going to help you convey an ultra-professional image.
#4 Go from interviewee to interviewer
It’s a pretty basic tip, but always try to ask questions in your interview; ideally ones that extend beyond queries about how much you would get paid. Indeed, it’s one thing to ask questions, but what are the right ones? Below should be a few pointers:
Company culture: One of the great things about working for a startup or small business is they often have a strong company culture. Ask about this and show, right from the word go, you’re willing to be a part of things.
Training and progression: Growing businesses are all about looking forward and developing. So ask about how you can develop along with the company.
Proudest moments: Ask about your interviewer’s top achievements. It’s more than (just) ego-bait and shows a genuine interest in them as a person – not just the business.
Of course, there are loads more things you could do to make yourself more appealing to a startup. However, follow the above, and bring plenty of personality to the table, and you won’t go far wrong.
Peter Ames is head of strategy at Office Genie, the UK’s first desk and office space marketplace.
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