How to Get an Entry-Level Job at a Start-Up

Once you finally get that diploma, your mind is likely looking around and wondering where to take you next. With the entrepreneurial explosion over the recent decade, many new companies are cropping up each day. Some turn into Fortune 500 companies in just a few short years. Knowing how to claim an entry-level position at one of these start-ups will be a major key to your future career success.

Be Willing to Take on Multiple Roles

When you step out of college training, you likely have a clear idea of what aspects are necessary for a person in your specific career field. However, it’s important to remember that start-ups don’t have specific people for every one of their needs. These businesses are starting with a small group of people that all work together in a variety of different roles to grow the business to the point where it will hire specialized individuals to complete specific roles.

When you look at getting hired by a start-up, you need to showcase your ability to take on multiple roles in the company. In a manner of speaking, you need to be a jack of all trades, as that’s going to project you as being a more desirable candidate than other candidates who will not step out of their career training roles. Always be willing to step out of your comfort zone and work on improvising on the fly, as this will be the best route for showcasing your abilities to be a major asset to any start-up company you want to work for.

Become Overly Familiar With the Company

Many start-ups, like, are open to new ideas to help grow and expand their business compared to existing companies, who likely won’t act on most of the ideas you present. One surefire way to help boost your desirability when it comes to getting hired by a start-up company is to bring ideas to the table about how to grow it.

You want to start by becoming extremely familiar with the company. Understand what their goals are, what products and services they offer, who their target market is, and so forth. When you have an in-depth understanding of a start-up company, it allows you to procure better prospective ideas for growth that you can share when you’re being interviewed for a position. Most start-up entrepreneurs want to hire individuals who show an entrepreneurial spirit and are looking for the best ways to grow their businesses.

Be Willing to Take Diverse Compensation

When you’re dealing with a start-up company, they don’t always have the liquidity to pay you a consistent salary or commission-based payment. You need to keep this in mind when you’re applying for jobs at a start-up. You’re likely going to receive a combination of a salary, equity, and so forth.

You should be able to prepare yourself ahead of time to choose a position where you can enjoy your job while still paying for your living expenses. The more willing you are to take diverse compensation for your position, the more job opportunities you’re likely to have. This will give you a big advantage over candidates simply looking for straight-up salary compensation.

Grow Your Network Regularly

As you venture out of college, you want to ensure that you’re staying active with other graduates. You can stay connected with your alumni by using tools like social media. This will allow you to learn about where they’re getting jobs and potentially give you a great reference if you decide that you want to apply for one of the places they’re working for.

LinkedIn is a great site for keeping track of who’s working where so you can tap your network whenever necessary. Do yourself a favor and always make sure that you’re staying active with your network connections. This could mean sending out a “how are you” message once a month or physically meeting for lunch now and then. The more active you can stay with your network, the bigger it will grow and the more sustainable it will be.

Stay Active on Social Media

To land the perfect job at a start-up, you need to ensure you know they’re hiring. One of the best ways to keep track of this is through social media. You’ll want to follow the start-up companies you’re interested in working for so that you can be alerted as soon as a job opens.

An added benefit of following your favorite start-up companies on social media is that those doing the hiring for the start-up will be able to see that you’ve been actively keeping up with their company. This helps to showcase your interest in what they do and allows you to stay on top of any major changes for each company so you’re apprised of that whenever you go to apply for one of their open positions.

Reach Out to Start-Ups

If you’ve done your research and have a couple of different start-ups in mind you would love to work for, then reach out to them. It’s important to remember that many start-ups have entrepreneurs that are trying to juggle many different aspects. They don’t always have time to post job listings and are more susceptible to choosing individuals that actively reach out to them and want to work for their company.

You can use this to your advantage by reaching out and letting them know you’re interested. Supply them with several different referrals, what your skill sets are, and why you want to work specifically for that start-up. When we take the proactive approach, you’re more likely to land an interview with a company than if you wait for them to post job listings.

Be Active on Job Sites

One very useful method for landing an entry-level job at a start-up company is looking at job posting sites. There are many online listing sites where start-up companies can post their job openings and the requirements that go along with them. Do yourself a favor and scan through the existing listings to determine if there’s anything that you’re interested in. A very useful tip is to make sure that you set up notifications so that you’re alerted every time a new job opening happens. The sooner you can get your resume in, the more likely you will be hired by the company.


Attend Meetups

One great source of information you cannot overlook when it comes to landing the perfect start-up job is meetups. Known as conferences or events, these meetups allow businesses and working professionals to come together and discuss their mutual interests. For example, if you’re looking to get into a tech company start-up, then you’ll want to look for tech conferences and meetups in your area.

These meetups are a great place to give you one-on-one time with others to learn about what they do and what companies they’re working for. Think of these events as a great way to help open the door of possibilities for job openings and grow your network. Go into these meetups to physically grow your professional network. Just because you didn’t find someone with a job opening at their start-up doesn’t mean that creating a relationship with them isn’t helpful.

They may have opening positions later down the road, or they may be able to contact you when they hear about an opening at another company that you may be interested in. Never underestimate the power of meetups, as they allow you to get real face-to-face time with people that can’t be replaced with other sources like social media or job listing sites.


Don’t Shy Away From Internships

One great way to get in with a company is to take advantage of internships. Many start-up companies will indeed have unpaid internships simply because they don’t typically have the liquidity to pay you. However, taking an unpaid internship and learning about a company is a great way to help not only enhance your skills as an individual working professional but also let the company know who you are.

Most start-ups will be more likely to hire from their unpaid internship pool of candidates than go through countless interviews with people they’ve never met before. When you showcase that you work well with them and know what you’re doing, you can easily move from that unpaid internship to a paid position.


Be Open to Remote International Work

Start-ups come in all shapes and sizes. Their positioned all around the globe in many different countries, and having remote internet access allows those start-ups to hire educated individuals from around the globe. While you might think of getting a job at a start-up as going to a physical business location to work, that doesn’t always have to be the case.

You don’t want to overlook the possibility of working remotely for an international company. Instead of just looking in your local area, you can look all around the globe through online listing sites to find a start-up company with an entry-level job that entices you. Don’t let the fear of figuring out how currency conversions work and how to do your taxes with international pay stop you from opening up this world of possibilities.


Participate in Volunteer Events

Many start-up companies will arrange volunteer events where they can give back to their local communities. During these events, they typically will ask for volunteers to assist. Social media is one of the most common ways to be alerted of these volunteer events.

Sign up as a volunteer for any events prospective start-ups are hosting. This will allow you to interact and network with the company’s employees. The best part is that you’re showing your willingness to give up your time to help others, which puts you in a better light than other prospective candidates.

Landing an entry-level position at a start-up company doesn’t have to be overly difficult. When you implement the clear tactics that we described above, you can position yourself to be at the forefront of hiring for a variety of start-ups. You’ll likely find yourself with multiple job offerings to choose from.


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