5 Tips for Getting an Awesome Job at a Startup

6 12 2016

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So, you want to work for a startup? They can be exciting to work for, offer up tremendous learning opportunities, and really pay off if you’re working for the best ones.

But getting hired by the best can certainly be a challenge. This is partly because startups have bought into the old Steve Jobs “only hire A players” mentality. But they are also looking for a specific kind of talent.

I’ve both run and worked for startups for the last 10 years. I’ve hired for them and been hired. Here’s my advice for getting in the door.

1. Show them that you’ve got startup-like experience.

Having worked at a startup before will help you a lot in getting hired at a startup. But this of course can be a chicken and egg problem. If you don’t have startup experience, how do you get it?

First off, you don’t necessarily have to have worked at a startup. Look for any experiences you’ve had where expectations were high and supervision was low. Somewhere you got thrown in the deep end and had to sink or swim.

My most startup like-experience, before I actually worked at a startup, was at a restaurant. My first night working at a particular restaurant when I was young was supposed to be training.

But when one of the servers didn’t show, and the restaurant got packed, they asked me to just try waiting as many tables as I could. I had to figure it out as I went, make decisions in the absence of guidance, and do the best I could with what I had.

If you don’t have startup experience, see if you can tell them about a situation you were in that relates.

You can also show this in the way you apply. When I applied to work with Betterteam, part of my test for being hired was writing a long-form article. To make the article really stand out, I cold called and interviewed several influential people in our space, something no other candidate did.

2. Show a love for learning.

The only thing that doesn’t change at a startup is the constant changing. Your job won’t fit into the typical job description.

There’s a good chance that you’ll be doing something completely different on day 1, day 30 and day 90.

Successful startup founders know this, and they’ll be looking for people who can adapt, learn and grow with the startup. Of course, you don’t want to just tell them you’re willing to learn. Show them.

Do you study languages or play instruments in your spare time? Practice a martial art, or run a hobby website?

This is something I’ve seen among my colleagues that make it at startups – they all have multiple hobbies and skills that they’re at varying stages of developing.

3. Know where to look.

When startups post jobs, they don’t always do it on traditional job boards.

A lot of them like to use niche boards that are more likely to bring in the type of candidates they’re looking for. Here are a few you’ll want to check out.

  • Weworkremotely – as the name suggests, mostly focused on remote jobs.

  • AngelList – lots of startups post their jobs here, and many report having success with it.

  • Hacker News – lists jobs with Y Combinator startups.

  • Authentic Jobs – lists jobs for developers, designers and various other startup positions.

4. Know the tools.

When I hired at my startup, I always hated getting resumes sent to me as Word files. PDFs were a little better, but what really showed me that someone had the same sensibilities as our company was getting a Google Doc resume link sent.

I’m not saying you have to be in love with Google Docs, but it’s good to figure out what tools a startup uses, and show familiarity with them.

Other tools that are popular among startups include Slack, Basecamp, Calendly, Asana, Github, Skype and Google Hangouts.

I doubt anyone is going to pass on a great hire because they sent something as a Word doc, but using and knowing the same tools that they use is definitely a sign of cultural fit.

5. Be helpful.

Maybe you’re just not quite ready yet. You either don’t have experience that convinces someone you can function as a startup employee, or don’t have the right skills.

While you’re waiting, see if you can find a way to be helpful to the startups you’d most like to work for.

Automattic, the company responsible for WordPress.com, notes on their job page that if you’re looking to be one of their Happiness Engineers, you may have spent some time helping people out in their forums.

If you’re interested in working for a few particular startups, keep an eye on them with social media, and see if there are ways you can contribute outside the company before you come on, and get on their radar.

That’s what I’ve got! It’s a good time to be looking for startup jobs, skilled employees are hard to find in general, and the startup space is especially in need of great employees. Get out there and get that job!

****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Paul Peters!!****

pp1About: Paul Peters is content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before Betterteam he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring and marketing. He lives in Whitefish, Montana.

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4 Types of Bosses & How To Turn Them Into Your Biggest Allies

2 12 2016

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There are many types of bosses that you will run into when entering the working world. And each of them brings their own unique problems, but there are ways to turn said problems into advantages. Here are four types of bosses you might have in your life, and four ways to turn them into your diehard allies.

  1. The Hands-off Boss

For some it’s a dream, for others, it’s a nightmare, for most, it’s a mixture of both. The hands-off boss can be confusing but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage.

Enhance your communication skills

With a hands-off boss, you need to know when to ask for guidance and when to do something yourself. Learning this is key to developing your communication skills in the workplace, which is an invaluable asset to have. Knowing when to speak up and knowing when to shut up will keep you in your boss’s good books.

Show initiative

If your boss is the hands-off kind, it’s most likely that he or she wants you to come up with your own ideas and be interdependent. Show initiative in meetings, one on ones and in your day-to-day working life. You will gain a lot of skills which will only aid you as you move up the ladder.

 Become a leader

If you are on a team with a boss who keeps out of the projects, you can step into a leadership role that shows your boss you are capable of big things and help them with their job.

  1. The Micromanager

Just as some bosses like to leave you to do your job, others like to know every small detail which can be just as daunting.

Seek them out

If your boss likes to micromanage, the best way to turn them into an ally is to give them what they want. So, seek them out for advice and guidance and check to make sure they are happy before completing tasks.

Build trust

You can voice your opinion but the more you keep your distance and do as you are told the more you build trust.

  1. The BFF

The BFF doesn’t want to be your boss, they want to be your friend, and while this may sound great it can come with its own set of unique hassles but there are a few things that you can do to maintain a good relationship.

Follow their lead

If your boss wants to be your best friend, don’t shun them to avoid awkwardness as this will only enhance it. Instead, follow their lead and don’t overstep the bounds they have already put in place.

Gain a mentor

A boss that wants to be your friend will often go over and beyond to keep you happy, so use this to your advantage. Ask them to be your mentor to gain significant knowledge of your company as well as the business. Doing so will only benefit your relationship with them.

Climb the ladder

A lot of people don’t enjoy the blurred lines that accompany the best-friend-boss so if you are one of the few to embrace this you will be on the top of the list when it comes to promotions. This doesn’t mean “suck up”, just follow the above points and let it play out in your favor.

  1. The Perfectionist

You have checked your work ten times but your boss still isn’t happy because the font is not to their liking? The perfectionist boss can cause a lot of headaches, but here’s how you turn them into an ally.

Appeal to their nature

If your boss is a perfectionist, you need to appeal to their perfectionist tendencies. When completing a project, point out something that could be a little better and watch their face light up with glee.

Sharpen your skills

Perfectionists can be annoying, but one positive of having a boss that is a perfectionist is the fact that you will comb over every small detail in your work before sending it to your boss. Knowing that the smallest thing might cause your boss an insurmountable amount of pain will make you extra careful when completing your tasks, sharpening your skills and keeping your boss happy in the process.

Whether your boss is hands-off, a perfectionist, or a micromanager, there is always something you can do to make your working life a lot easier. Take note of the tips above and put them into practice when you meet your new boss. Good luck!

****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Kate Thora!!****

About: Kate Thora is a Senior Content Specialist for Uphours, an online resource with information about businesses worldwide. Her artistic soul manifests itself also in her love for singing and dancing, especially to traditional Indian music. Follow her on Twitter @katethora1





Your 8-Bit Pay Raise Navigation Guide

15 11 2016

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Plenty of new graduates are more than happy to take a lower salary than they might have wanted to get their first foot on the career ladder. Six months down the line, once they’ve proved themselves to be a valuable addition to the company, those same graduates usually aren’t quite as happy. You might think you need to switch jobs to get a salary that you rightly deserve, but there could be a more straightforward way to get a better salary: asking for a raise.

That might sound easier said than done: asking for a raise can be scary, while actually having to negotiate can be terrifying. This guide from our friends at Adzuna reminds us that negotiation is pretty much a game, and if you follow the rules of the game you should be entitled to a high score – and a bigger paycheck.

GAME ON or GAME OVER?

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Opening Yourself Up to Feedback

1 11 2016

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Receiving feedback at work and school is universally difficult. It’s hard not to take criticism personally when you’ve poured your time, attention and passion into something only to hear, “we need to rethink this.”

However, there are some ways to remove your personal ego when receiving feedback, allowing yourself to take an objective approach to improving your production and demeanor at work or school. Below are three techniques I’ve used that have worked for me and have actually been recognized in performance reviews.

  1. The “Common Goal” Mentality

For the majority of situations, your boss or professor isn’t giving you feedback to hurt your feelings or give you extra work. You boss is giving you feedback to create a better end product and improve your capabilities as an employee.

The trick here is removing your ego from the situation and taking a step back to think “if my manager had given somebody else the same feedback, would I disagree?”

You are all working to the common goals of creating an excellent end product and developing you as a professional. Recognize that the more feedback you can incorporate, the better your project will be and the easier you will be to manage.

  1. Recognize That You Are Not, In Fact, Perfect

You are not perfect. Nobody expects you to be. The quicker you can acknowledge your (very) human and endearing imperfections the quicker you will be able to make progress and grow in your abilities.

Whenever we have a new teammate join our department, this conversation inevitably happens:

Them: “Hey Grace, I’m so sorry to bug you but I have a question about how this process works”

Me: “Please don’t be sorry! You’re new and nobody expects you to walk in day one understanding everything. Ask me any questions you want!”

Nobody expects you to be perfect or a mind reader. If some development happens on a project you’re working on and you don’t know until your boss updates you, don’t get upset that you were left out. Thank her for updating you and ask to be looped into conversations if they affect your work.

  1. You Can Always Challenge Feedback

In life and in work, we always have a choice. We cannot control what people say about or to us, but we can control our response to it.

If a criticism or piece of feedback is hurtful, call it out. Your boss/professor may have said a flippant remark, but she doesn’t know that it hurt until you tell her.

You are the only person who knows how you truly feel and it’s your job to stick up for yourself (without getting combative or overly emotional).

Also, if you disagree with a suggestion, by all means, share an alternative option. This conversation will allow you to show your expertise and prove yourself as a trusted partner for your boss.

What techniques do you use to open yourself up to suggestions?

****For this unique post, Campus to Career thanks Grace Meiners!!****

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About the author: Grace has been working in NYC-based media companies for six years and is working to develop a blog focus on building soft skills





What’s Your 6-11?

21 09 2016

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Sure, we all have a 9-to-5, but what about a 6-11? You might be thinking, “what in the world is this guy talking about??” Let me explain. The concept of a 6-11 is based on the growing trend of twin-track career paths, commonly referred to as a “side hustle.”

Check out this fun interactive quiz from digital design and print powerhouse MOO engineered specifically to inspire people to discover their true passions AND help turn it into the job of their dreams.

Leveraging some seriously compelling data points from Wakefield Research and an interactive quiz, MOO has found there’s a major twin-track career phenomenon. In short, everyone (not just millennials) is on that side hustle tip.

Data from Wakefield Research for MOO

  • Nearly 3 in 4 people who work a 9 to 5 job (74%) admit they are unfulfilled by their current job

  • 44% of people are more interested in starting a side business now than they were 2 years ago

  • Almost 2 out of 3 millennials are anxious to follow their entrepreneurial instinct and start their own business

  • 90% feel that having a fulfilling job is one of the biggest factors in determining someone’s overall happiness

MOO is out to empower more people to take that first step, just like their “6-11 ambassadors,” founders of The Muse and Pintrill, who created their dream jobs while balancing a full time career, and are even offering the chance to win a full suite of branded materials to turn their dreams into a professional reality.

PS. I got Interpreter. Guess I need to brush up on my foreign language skills… 🙂





How Successful People Work Less & Get More Done [INFOGRAPHIC]

8 09 2016

As you begin working a new job, you always want to be as successful as possible. Although this often entails hours of hard work, sometimes this isn’t enough. Just because you put in the time, with whatever you do, that isn’t all it takes to be successful.

It’s the little things that successful people do that really takes them to the next level of success. They build systems and they build daily rituals that help keep them motivated, and help them work less while still getting more done! These things might seem insignificant, but when you do these things on a consistent basis, that’s when you really start to see their improvement.

Recently our friends at Blogtrepreneur have put together an awesome infographic about the little things that will take you to the next level in what ever success you are striving for!

How Successful People Work Less and Get More Done





6 Questions to Ask About Benefits

7 06 2016

 

It’s very exciting to receive a new job offer, but there are still many questions that must be answered before actually accepting and starting a new job. Certain information may not have been discussed in an interview, and are critical for a new employee to successfully adapt to a new job and environment. If you are ready to start a new job, but aren’t sure what questions to ask, here are a few to know.

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What is the Company Culture Like?
Once you’ve received a job offer, it might not hurt to ask what the company culture is like. It’s both helpful and necessary to understand how adaptable and flexible a company is when it comes to requesting time off, scheduling activities outside of work, and other things like dress code and in-office behavior.

Overall Leadership Type?
It is important to know what kind of leadership is common throughout the new company and to understand what kind of work environment you’ll be spending your time in. Some companies may favor a fast-paced, high-energy work environment, while others may have a more gradual or quiet work space.

May I Have a Hard Copy of the Job Offer?
Asking for a formal, hard copy of your job offer can also be useful for a number of reasons. If your job suddenly includes new tasks that were not included in the original job description you were hired under, you will now have proof of it. This could help out a business lawyer if you find you need to seek one out for compensation issues, or if you decide to ask for a raise.

May I Have a Hard Copy of the Benefits Package?
After receiving a job offer, the very first item you should ask your employer or Human Resources representative for is a formal, hard copy of the benefits package. Asking for detailed benefits information in an interview is often considered rude or presumptuous. Asking once the job offer is made, however, is critical. Some employers offer unique benefits, such as tuition reimbursement programs. Asking for a full copy is necessary in order to understand all the perks that come with your new job and to know what you can work toward in the future.

How is Compensation Structured?
Another critical question that should be asked is whether or not your compensation plan includes bonuses. Some companies offer bonuses, but only if specific requirements are met, which vary greatly. It’s important to know exactly how your compensation plan is structured and what it takes to achieve bonuses.

What is the Corporate or Business Philosophy?
One last question you should ask is what the overall corporate or business philosophy of the new company is. Inquiring about the company’s short-term and long-term goals will help you determine if you’re a good fit and how you can adapt more to the overall atmosphere and culture.

Securing a job offer can be very exciting. The Ottinger Law firm recommends having a list of things to consider before actually starting a new job though. Understanding your new benefits package, your new job’s compensation structure, and the company’s philosophy are all critical pieces of information that will help you successfully adjust to your new job and employer.

Photo credit: Evan Dennis, Unsplash.com