Strategies For Finding Your Startup Career

This is the first installment of a two-part series about strategies for finding the right startup. 

You have learned how to code, market, design, and create your elevator pitches – and now you’re looking for the perfect startup job. It can be hard especially when they are busy starting their business not advertising for employees.

How do you find them? They’re too busy running a business to list available jobs. Turns out, this is the same problem marketing people have when finding target audiences.

Instead of taking a “shotgun” approach do what professional marketers do: Research and find right target audience. I call it “reverse targeting” because this time, the person is targeting the company.

Start your search on the Interwebs. Start by looking up the names of startups. Resources like Angellist.comStartuphire.comVentureBeat.com are all great places to start.  

What you want to do is test if your expectations match up with the current market of startup jobs. For example,  say you are looking to work for a startup with less than ten employees, in the mobile space, and in their second round of funding. You might not find very many, which means you might have to expand your search. Once you find a place where your expectations match the market, then you can move on to the next step.

Make a list of those potential companies. What you should do next is make a short list of companies from the list of companies you found above.  The short list might be ten companies.  You do not want to have too many because the next two steps require some analysis and may require more time. 

Research each company for past/present hiring possibilities. Again, some startups do not have time to post jobs or do not regularly update their job listings. It is better to type each company’s name into Google and scour for any information.

I would look for any previously posted jobs. Google might have saved an old cache of a job posting. If you find one, that is a good sign! Maybe the startup was not satisfied with the kind of candidates who inquired. There are other reasons for the removal of the job announcement but either way, you know what kind of person the company might be looking for based on the job description.

Research the company for potential future growth. One trick I learned from a conversation with venture capitalist was to look at the venture capital firm who funded your chosen startups. Did the firm have a record of picking winning startups?

Type the name of the startup into Google and look for any information about the startup getting rounds of funding. Then type the name of the firm you find into Google and find their website. Go to their website and determine which other startups the firm has invested in. 

If you see the names of other startups you recognize, like Instagram, then that is good news! That means venture capital firms that have a track record of picking winners also like the potential startup you picked out.

Do not worry if you cannot find information or if you do not see any startup you recognize. Some venture firms will not update their websites for competitive reasons.

Check back for part two of “Want to Work For A Startup?”

Chris Le has served as an instructor for the Web Development track at Startup Institute New York. He is a software engineer at Conductor.