Startups are extremely selective in their hiring. It requires an entirely different set of skills to be successful in a startup than in a large corporation. “Don’t bore me, show me what you built”, says Paul Bragiel, the founder of I/O Ventures. Time is of essence in startups and to be able to run fast, you need to be able to communicate even faster. Make your 250 words or 3,5 minutes count.
This post was cross-posted in the Aaltoes-blog.
“You don’t need to master everything. The ability to learn fast counts more. We look for a mixture of talent, enthusiasm – and a track-record of making things happen” Paul recaps. Startups are always experimenting and there are no fixed job descriptions so it requires a certain amount of stamina to master your way around the day-to-day.
The best way to get an internship at a technology start-up is to contact the founders with an example of something you’ve built. “Startups are not about GPA’s or academic papers, but about an adaptive mind. Tell us the coolest thing you built or the best hack you’ve done to solve a problem. Unlike in school, we’re happy to take a look at unfinished projects or scrappy products, it doesn’t have to shine”.
If you’re serious about interning in a technology startup you should have some sort of a web presence. Set up LinkedIn and spend a couple of minutes with About.me or Flavours.me to create a stylish website. There’s also a ton of great war stories on the web. Check out the story of a Wepay intern, read the lessons learned of the Slide-intern who ended up founding Mixpanel or just browse through Quoras archives.
Below is also a list of actions that just might grab the attention of your prospective employee. The application period for Startup Life in Silicon Valley & Enternship close soon!
What: Create a custom landing page, a 404 page, t-shirt or sticker design. Show you understand how web is different from print
Where: Coroflot, Dribbble, Forrst.
Example: Netta Marshall wants to work for Instagram
What: Build on the startups API, fill in programming tests, develop analytics dashboard or create a small easter egg game. Show you can build something yourself.
Where: GitHub, Bitbucket, Google App Engine
Example: David built a site to demonstrate his JS skills for Valve
What: Plan an inventive, no-money marketing campaign. Show you can do customer development or gather a list of potential bloggers to pitch. Demonstrate you understand the role of customer service in a small startup
Where: Use Slideshare, Quora or Twitter to contribute & develop your knowhow Example: 37Signals needs another Jason