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how to get your first startup job

Why the Startup You Want to Work at Skipped Your Resume (and Hired Someone Else)

I’ve interviewed well over 100+ (maybe 200+) job candidates over the past several years, for marketing, sales, engineering, and design roles at my startup, and wanted to share some general principles and advice for younger professionals and first-time job seekers with limited experience looking to “break into tech” and land their dream gig.

I definitely see a broad range in overall candidate “preparedness” for today’s startup workforce; some students and early-career professionals have done a lot of relevant coursework, independent learning and career-path thinking (always a positive), while others may show high levels of intellectual firepower, motivation and potential but often don’t have a great deal of career maturity, perspective or work experience.

As a result I thought I’d put together a list of observations and recommendations that might help anyone interested in a job at a tech startup bolster their resume and be better prepared to land (and ace) that first interview. Although I’ve interviewed developers in the past, in my current role I’m mostly interviewing non-technical (or “soft technical”) business roles. Because I think the developer interview track is somewhat different (and also needs to move a lot faster given the industry-wide talent shortage for great engineers; for example, I’ve heard Facebook’s hiring strategy includes same-day offers if they really like a candidate, which in the conventional HR world is almost unheard of), I’m going to focus this essay on suggestions for early-career, non-technical job applicants looking to work at a startup.

If you’re applying for a job or internship at a tech startup in 2017 or heading into 2018, here are the biggest gaps, traps and potential pitfalls that can really hurt your application and prevent you from getting hired. Continue reading