The Compact 3-Step Guide To Joining A Startup


Do you want to work for a start-up? It’s a great place if you want more than just a job. The idea appeals to people burned out on the idea of being just another cog in a corporate machine.

Where do you even begin?

First, you have to increase your value in the marketplace. In other words, you have to show expertise in a particular career. This gives you the best chance of becoming an active member of the emerging leadership. Today, many educational institutions offer accelerated degree programs for people to get high-level skills.

Next, once you have something valuable to contribute, you have to figure out where to look.

Lastly, after you’ve selected the best opportunities, you need to streamline your strategy. You need to understand what startups are looking for. You need to tailor your resume to meet these expectations.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at three key questions.

  1. What does it mean to offer value in the marketplace?
  2. Where do you even begin to look?
  3. How do you fit into the startup corporate culture?

The Success Trinity

  1. What does it mean to offer value in the marketplace?

The best way to offer more value at work is to be an expert at three things. First, an expert at a skill. Second, an expert at relationships. Third, an expert at overdelivering.


You become an expert at something by getting the right education in your field.

Once you have learned the skillset, you have to perfect your knowledge and skills in the field.

Finally, you have to find ways to share what you know. Build a niche blog. Contribute articles to trade magazines. Give public talks to teach others what you know. This will position you in your company and in the industry as a thought leader.


Find out what you have in common with your fellow workers and the people you work for. Your name will be on the list of suitable candidates when a position opens up in your company.

Extra Mile

Underpromise and overdeliver. You underpromise by not bragging about what you can bring to the table. You overdeliver by passing expectations. Overdelivering is an old idea formalized by Napoleon Hill. He called it going the extra mile. He suggested providing more quality and quantity of service. Offer value beyond what your payscale. Employers pay for value and if you increase your value, your employer has to pay more to keep you.

  1. Where do you even begin to look?

Let’s be clear on something. You won’t find a startup using the traditional job hunting approaches. Forget about reading classified ads in newspaper. Don’t scour through online job sites. And avoid wasting your time filling out job applications and sending out resumes.

Instead you should begin networking, connecting with influencers, and use startup job sites.

Networking is about attending industry events. These can range from meet ups to trade shows to conferences. Once you get to know people, you will have a better idea of how to conduct your job search. The right connections will help you find the right job.  Google the name of your city, the name of your industry, and the words “startups” to find the best places to go.

Connecting with influencers is about developing a list of names. You will hear about the influencers in your industry when you network. There are many ways of connecting with influencers. They may have a blog or a social media channel. They may even hold workshops where you can meet them in person.

You can even use the Internet to find startups.

  1. How do you fit into the startup corporate culture?

Find startups eager to hire people fast because they need the manpower to launch. Then show your potential for improving their business. Finally, prove your knowledge and skills.

Early Adopter

If you get into a startup that is eager to hire people right away, you will be an early adopter.

As a result, you will have the best chances of being a significant player. You will also be entering into a startup when they have plenty of funding from a venture capitalist.

You will be part of the excitement of building something new. There will be many opportunities for innovation.

Team player

Most people hiring for startups are also looking for soft skills. Will you be able to be part of a team yet work on projects without requiring micromanagement?


Finally, you will get the job based on how much you can prove you know. While a degree will help, other candidates may have degrees or experience, too.

Perhaps, you have had lots of apprenticeships. Perhaps, you’ve built a brand around your expertise. You have blogs, videos, or podcasts where you share your knowledge. The more you do to establish your expertise, the better things will look for you.

Make Work Fun

Startups are appealing because they do more than give you a paycheck. They add meaning to the world of work.

Working for a startup means different things for different people. For some, it means working in an innovative environment. For others, it’s all about challenges, opportunities, and camaraderie.

Get clear on your “big why” and follow the three steps outlined to find your perfect job.