How To Get A Job At A Startup

From the front lines of London’s tech scene

This week, we gave Hire My Friend an end-of-the-year makeover, which led to one of our most trafficked days yet. Now, as the year draws to a close and 2014 offers new beginnings, we’re more passionate than ever to help people stuck in an unhappy role find jobs they love. 

The holiday break is a popular time to look for new opportunities, and if you’re planning on jumping into the startup world in 2014, there are a few realities of startup life and its prerequisite job hunting that you should be aware of. Trust us, you’ll want to read through these before typing up a bland and generic cover letter.

First and foremost:

Be Willing To Get Sh*t Done - @Shak

You’ll need to prove that you know how to hustle.  They don’t call it #startuplife for nothing. 

While this doesn’t mean you’ll be working until 10pm every night, it does mean that you need to “get shit done”. With any luck, you’ll work for a startup that has a healthy work-life balance, but you’ll still be expected to achieve great things, often times with very little. 

Startup roles are not for those who want “busy” or mind-numbing desk work. You will enjoy your time much more if you are committed and loyal to the team goal, whether that’s building a product or working towards a particular world-saving mission. 

 Which brings us to our next point…. 

Figure out what kinds of missions and products resonate with you. It will be difficult to commit to a startup lifestyle if you don’t feel deeply connected to the company’s goals. - @EmmEmmTee

Unless you’re passionate about what you’re working on, the progressive office culture and all of great perks won’t matter. You’ll really need work your ass off. There are some days when you’ll question your sanity; it’s those days when having a real connection with the thing that you’re working on will matter. 

And to be fair, it’s not very likely that you’ll be hired without that fire in your belly anyway,  so, if you’re trying to get hired by a company you admire, you’ll need to do your research. Get to know everything about the company, its ethos, its mission, its competition and challenges.

Try to know almost more about what the company does and what it’s trying to achieve than the founder. - @MikeButcher

If you want to impress the founder, take it a step further. Get creative. Ask them what problem they are having and how you can help solve it. Hiring can make or break a startup, so they’re going to want to know that you really *get* it.  

 “Identify a need or a problem. Present the solution and your plan.- @BronwynBarnett 


Lastly, make sure you’re damn good at what you do and willing to learn more every step of the way. It’s great to be a jack-of-all-trades, but make sure you’re really the King of at least one thing. Perfect it and sell yourself. 

Be really great at one thing. Get that skill-set nailed down. - @GPat_UK

A huge thanks to some of our friends in the London tech scene for the fantastic tips for this article. 

Still hungry for more?

Hire My Friend is teaming up with General Assembly on the 21st January for a breakfast event on how to get the most awesome startup job ever! Details here. Be sure to RSVP asap, this one is going to fill up quickly.


*Cover image via Shutterstock