Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
JOB SEARCH / DEC. 17, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Find a Job With a Start-up

If you’re looking for a job that’s fast-paced and demanding, working in a start-up might be for you. While the hours can be grueling, the payoffs can be huge: If the company does well and goes public, you could earn company dividends through your company stock.

Still, the first steps are to find the start-ups that are hiring, and then land a job. Get started in your quest by following some basic steps.


If a start-up is really new, there’s a chance that it won’t be widely advertised just yet, and might not even be formally hiring. Still, getting your foot in the door or meeting the right people will be the first steps toward landing a job. Follow any forums and join networking clubs related to the industry you’re interested in working, attend networking events and conferences, and maintain a solid list of former colleagues, friends and acquaintances who can provide you with information about start-ups in your area. The local newspaper’s business section can also give you some idea of what’s out there.

Look for recruiters who specialize in start-ups

Some of the positions may be so secret that the only way to find out about them is to connect with someone on the super-inside. That might include a recruiter. Look for recruiters on LinkedIn or get suggestions from the connections you’ve made through networking, suggests an article in Forbes.

Don’t be afraid to invent a position

If you find some promising start-ups in your area, contact them with some ideas about how you can help. Because entrepreneurial types are often so busy managing the day-to-day operations of the company, they might not realize they need you until you present yourself. Of course, this might involve plenty of prior research -- and gathering as much insider information as you can -- to find out how you can contribute.

Research the company culture

Start-ups often come about because their creators want to change an existing structure or to do something in a way that hasn’t been done before. As such, they’ll often adopt a different company culture than the status quo -- perhaps working in a more collaborative environment, doing away with cubicles, and offering flexible schedules, for example. Before you head in for the interview, research the company as much as you can so you know how it conducts business and how its leaders attempt to set themselves apart. Knowing that information can help you develop the best possible pitch for the job.

Dare to be different

If you’re given any guidelines about the interview, such as avoiding wearing formal attire, follow it. Workers at start-ups don’t necessarily like stuffy business suits, and unlike established companies, might actually frown upon overly-formal attire -- especially when they advise you otherwise. You can also dare to be a little different in other ways, such as developing a portfolio in a non-traditional format, for example.

Working in start-up environment requires innovative thinking and perseverance, and as you’ve probably figured out by now, job hunting among start-ups requires more of the same.

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