Impress Me: 6 tips for applying at startups

I gave a brief talk at Zoosk’s Women’s Javascript Study Group tonight on how to apply for jobs at startups. I’ve hired 8 people in the last 15 months, and have reviewed countless resumes and interviewed dozens of candidates. I’m not an expert, but I wanted to share my tips on what to do (and not do) when applying for startups:

  1. Write a sincere cover letter
    • Be yourself
    • Use casual language
    • Respond to the job description
    • Keep it short
  2. Hiring managers make snap judgments
    • Consumable in 30 seconds
    • 3-5 bullet points at a time
    • DELETE until it’s 1 page
    • Error-free
  3. Be honest
    • If you pad your resume, it will be a problem later
    • Be honest but constructive about shortcomings
  4. Show that you care
    • Be clean and neat
    • Be polite
    • Don’t trash-talk anyone
  5. Don’t try to blindly “win” the job
    • Is the job really for you?
    • Have questions for each interviewer
    • Imagine working with each person who interviews you
  6. You will likely get rejections
    • There are lots of startup jobs
    • Ask for feedback
    • An imperfect job may be the right job right now

Best of luck in your job search! For more on any of this, you can contact me at bethbudwig at [most common email provider among people under 70].


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