Some great tips by Jean Hsu. Startups won't hire fresh graduates on the basis that "they can do the job already". They will hire on the basis of potential. It is understood that it will take time and training to grow a new graduate into a fully productive hire (and that, largely, is why graduates make less money than experienced hires).
Here are Jean's tips:
- Try to get personal recommendations, by letting your friends know you're looking for a startup job, and going to relevant meetups and events.
- Tailor your resumé to the job you're applying for.
- List extra-curricular projects. In my opinion, those are often much more interesting and convincing than anything you may have done in class.
- Have an online presence so you stand out.
- Prepare for the interview by reading up on the startup and familiarising yourself with the product.
- Be relaxed, friendly, comfortable (be yourself!) during the interview - they're not just testing you on your technical ability, they also want to check they can work with you day in day out.
Don't forget to evaluate whether you want to work at that startup. For a new graduate, the calculation is slightly different, in that almost any job will teach you a lot, but don't let yourself stagnate during your first few years out of university - they are possibly the most important of your career, in terms of their potential to set your direction for the next 10, 20 years.
The main advantage of a startup job for a college graduate is that you will be able to grow into a position of responsibility much, much faster than at a larger company - but you do need to go about it deliberately to make the most of it.
Another piece of advice: if the "startup" turns out to be nothing like what it advertised itself as (some people are unscrupulous about calling their small businesses startups), leave quickly! The personal growth opportunities in a small business which isn't growing are usually extremely limited.
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