In our previous blog, we discussed how to pick the right startup to work for. What comes after you discover the role and company that fits you best? Startups may be always on the lookout for great people, but how can you become their next recruit? In this post we explore 3 things to do before applying for your dream startup job, to help you stand out from your competition.

1. Do your homework

This might seem obvious. After all, in today’s world who doesn’t browse through a company’s website and social media pages before sending them an application? However, the point we want to stress is to go beyond memorizing the mission and vision statements of the company. Dig deeper with your research and understand what their business is and pain points are. What does the competitive landscape look like for this startup? Investigate similar products, technologies, and services that exist in the market. Then find out what gives the startup you’re applying for an edge. Most importantly, identify what excites you to want to be a part of it all.

2. Create a kickass portfolio

If you come from a tech or design background putting a portfolio together is quite straightforward. You’d showcase your work, school, and hobby projects using a popular hosting site such as GithubBitbucketBehance, etc. In general, by portfolio what we mean is a clear track record and metrics of your previous experience in putting knowledge into practice. Keep in mind that you will not get the opportunity to meet your potential employer and present your case face-to-face, straight away. First, you’ll have to convince them you’re worth their time. So make sure your portfolio, CV, and/or LinkedIn truly captures all your hard work, qualifications, and skills. Definitely make it relevant, interesting, and if possible interactive.

3. Be valuable in your approach

Essentially what this means is to steer clear of sending generic applications which makes you just another job seeker among the masses. Instead, really highlight why you are the best person to take on this specific role in this specific startup. Customize your application to either the company or the person you’re approaching. This is where all that ‘homework’ you did will come in handy. 

As we discussed in our previous blog post, startups are a great place to start your job hunt because they are always open to new talent. However, hiring is a risky business for them. Because of how agile and fast-paced the startup work environment is, they really can’t afford to slow down. But if they hire the wrong person, on top of the monetary loss, a non-performing employee can also set them back for months. Therefore, startups are constantly facing the competing pressure of not spending too much money/resources and hiring only the right people. So by doing these 3 things before applying for your dream startup job, you can set yourself apart to your dream startup for all the right reasons.