Home How to Get a Job at a Startup After College Graduation

How to Get a Job at a Startup After College Graduation

College hiring is projected to rebound in time for the Class of 2011 to feel its effects, according to a new survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Employers who took part in NACE’s survey say they’re anticipating hiring 13.5% more new college grades from the Class of 2011 than they did from the Class of 2010. And in general, just under 48% of those responding said they plan to increase their hiring, while 40% say they expect to maintain the hiring levels. Good news for those stepping into the job market after graduation this spring.

We’ve written before about the things to ask yourself as to whether or not a job at a startup is right for you. But if you think your post-graduate plans involve life with a startup, then there are a number of things you can do, while still in school, to prep.

Preparing Now for the Post-Graduate Job Hunt

The first, of course, may be to look for an internship. While the traditional notion of internship conjures images of corporate drudgery (in my head, at least), YouTern is one organization that works to place college students with entrepreneurial-driven companies. (See our ReadWriteWeb write-up here.) Not only are internships important skill-, network-, and resume-building experiences, it’s a great way to get a taste for the startup life – something quite different than other post-college jobs.

If you’re sure the startup world is right for you, then Jason Shen and Derek Flanzraich, both recent college graduates working at startups (Shen works for isocket and Flanzraich for Clicker) have written a great set of tips on how to land a startup job out of college.

Here are a few of their tips:

  • Know Your Industry Inside and Out: Do your research. Domain experience matters.
  • Focus – Only Target a Few Startups: You want to find the startup that matches your skills, your knowledge (see above), but also your workstyle and your vision.
  • Get Good at Specific Stuff: As Shen and Flanzraich write, startups “need people who can make an immediate impact on their ‘bottom line’, whether that’s users, revenue, traffic, or something else.” You need to bring a strong skill-set, but also a diverse skill-set.
  • Prove Your Worth: As with any job hunt nowadays, you want to make sure your online presence demonstrates a portfolio of projects and blog posts.
  • Get a Referral – Or Become a Friendly Face: Startups rarely have “openings,” and even when they do, a reference makes a big difference. Don’t know anyone who can recommend you? Shen and Flanzraich suggest volunteering. “Startups love free labor.”
  • Send in a Killer, Personalized and Memorable App: “Do something something different,” they suggest. “Do something memorable. Something that proves your enthusiasm and dedication to the company.”
  • Be Yourself

Sure, it’s Fall and college students are just beginning to return to campus. But it’s never too early to start preparing for graduation – and the job search – in the spring.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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