How to Get Hired By a Hot Startup – Value

Applying to a startup is completely different than applying to a large company. You’ve probably keyword-stuffed your resume to get through the HR screening. At a startup, everything is about value.

1. Understand Your Value Proposition

At it’s most basic, a value proposition is the benefit (or value) someone gets from something they pay for. Like a company trying to sell you a new product, you need to understand your value proposition to a startup.

If I was applying to work at Select Start, my value proposition would be:

  1. Designed, architected and developed 20+ iOS, Android and BlackBerry applications.
  2. Practiced Lean Startup principles to take multiple products from idea to market and deliver a revenue run rate of over $2M annually.
  3. Experience developing customers, testing ideas and validating markets prior to building a team and committing resources to a product.

What value can you bring to my startup today?

2. Tell a Story with Numbers

Great startups run lean and question everything. Every dollar out needs to equal more than one dollar in for the company to grow.

Using concrete numbers, tell a startup how you can add value. Explain how past experience may help a future startup:

Bootstrapped from $0 to $1M in revenue our first 18 months. Lead Select Start to our third year of 300% growth.

How does your value impact my top and bottom lines, products or customers?

3. Be A Generalist

There’s nothing more valuable to a startup than someone who understands the challenges every startup faces.  Do you:

  1. Bring a broad array of skills outside of the role you were hired for?
  2. Know how your decisions impact a company’s burn rate?
  3. Understand how you can help create a sustainable competitive advantage?

Where else can you add value to a startup besides the role you were hired for?

4. Value Outside of a Startup

I Google everyone who applies to find out if they add value to the startup, engineering and design communities.

Make it easy for a startup to find your value. List your:

  1. Personal website.
  2. Social profiles like Twitter and Facebook.
  3. Creative profiles like Github, Stack Overflow and Hacker News.

Where could a startup investigate the value you create?

5. Be Valuable To Others (Get Referred)

A rule of raising investment is to get a referral from someone who the angel or VC respects. The same is true of applying to a startup. Find a way to connect with the founders via a mutual friend. Your odds of being hired are infinitely better than submitting a resume to the pile.

Who will vouch for the value you create?