Next month, the world’s leading startup event, Slush, returns to Helsinki. This internationally recognized event brings together over 4600 startup founders and 2600 investors. While Slush has become highly prominent among startups and investors globally, it has also had a big impact on the Finnish startup ecosystem. 

Although Slush is mainly attended by startups and investors, an increasing number of young talent and entrepreneurs also mingle at the many events happening in Helsinki around the slushy week. 

Over the years, a number of young talent at Slush later found themselves working at Silicon Valley startups through Startuplifers. Following this trend, we put together some tips and tricks for you to take with you while at Slush.

Why working at a startup is the best ways to kickstart your career?

While a job in an established company can be seen as a secure option for many, startup environments can offer more room to grow. For instance, working at a startup usually means responsibility and ownership from the very moment you enter the company. You get to wear many hats and work on a large variety of things from day one. In addition, more responsibility naturally means accelerated career development and you might find yourself climbing the ladder way faster than you would by working in a corporation.

While there are tons of other reasons why you should look for a job in a startup, here is how you can land one.

6 Easy Steps to Find Your Dream Startup Job Through Slush

1. Recognize what you are after

The first and most important step is to identify your interests, strengths and what you want to get out of the startup experience. We know you have a bunch of different skills and expertise to offer. Most likely, there are hundreds of positions in cool startups in different industries that you find appealing. The goal here is to narrow it all down.

2. Fix your papers

Recruiters merely have a few seconds to evaluate your resume. That’s why you want to keep it simple and only include relevant information – all extras can go to your LinkedIn profile. Find out how to optimize your LinkedIn profile in 5 easy ways here. The focus points of your CV should be your work experience, side projects, and education. Emphasize them and make sure that the headlines pop out. Read more about the perfect CV here, and think about your cover letter as well.

3. Find the companies you’re interested in

Use different channels from personal contacts and LinkedIn, to basic Google searches to find companies. Consider the size and stage of the startup. This will determine how much responsibility and ownership you will have, as well as how radically the products and processes will change. Understand the work culture. Learn how they treat their employees and contribute to society in general.   Not sure what to look for in a startup? Check out our tips for picking the right startup to work for.

4. How you should contact the company

There are typically three people you should look for when contacting startups – CEO, CTO, and HR or Head of Recruiting. Drop them an email or a message on LinkedIn, explaining your interest in their startup and the role, and how you can fix a problem they might have. Customize your application to fit their needs. Be persistent and follow up.

5. Get ready to ace that interview

You’ve made it to the interview? Great, now it’s time to score that job. Regardless of the role, get to know the company extremely well. Have a plan for small talk. Ask smart questions during the interview. Be prepared, no excuses. Check these tips.

6. Negotiate your contract

Got a job offer? Not satisfied with the current salary suggestion or other parts of the contract? No worries, it is fairly common to not accept the first offer immediately, but to request some time for consideration. Remember, everything is negotiable. Know your worth and what the company can offer. Check the entire compensation package and get back to them as quickly as possible.

startuplifers at slush

5 Pro Tips for Networking and Job Hunting at Slush

1. Make a shortlist

Know the companies that will be at Slush or the side events and select 5-10 that you want to speak with no matter what.

2. Update and print your CV

Have a few printouts at hand that you can leave with the companies.

3. Have your pitch ready

Prepare to shortly introduce yourself as a professional. What is your background? What kind of job are you looking for? Why would you be particularly excited to connect and work with this company?

4. Aim for a good conversation at the company stand

Be prepared, be curious – who is the person you are speaking with? Follow up with a Linkedin connection request after the conversation. Make sure to include a personal message reminding the person where you met.

5. Ask for contact persons in the company

Hiring managers, other people in your department of interest, etc.

Not sure where to start?

Finding a startup job doesn’t have to be difficult. Check out our Guide to Startup Job Hunting to get you started. At Startuplifers, we can help you to shine on paper and in person, and find your ideal job in Silicon Valley. Make sure to also take a look at our upcoming workshopsbatch and the on-demand track. 

P.s. You can also kickstart your career at a Silicon Valley startup remotely.

With many startups embracing remote work, we see talent opening themselves to remote work opportunities with companies from the other side of the world. If you’re considering working for a startup as a remote contractor, there are a few things to take note of. Check out our tips here. 

Looking for inspiration? Tune into LEAP podcast to hear exciting stories from Startuplifers alumni working at some of the worlds best startups in Silicon Valley and beyond.


Banner image credit: Riikka Vaahtera, Slush 2019

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