I just recently celebrated my one year anniversary at the startup I work for. This being my first job at a startup I wanted to stop and think about why I work there, how happy I am each and every day about my workplace, and how I wish everyone could experience it too.
So in the spirit of helping people here are 5 ways to get hired at your dream startup company and therefore improve your quality of life. I have decided to focus on the more subtle topics instead of the technical aspects since people’s skill sets may vary, but I do mention skills briefly in this post.
1. Be passionate about the companies mission and purpose
Startups are looking for people who actually care about their mission and purpose. Because most startups are in a do or die mentality they need you to be at least be a believer in their purpose. I’m not telling you to fake passion just to get the job because that is the opposite of what will be good for all parties here, but what I am saying is to find a company that aligns with something you're passionate about and gets on board.
There are tons of startups out there all living in different sectors. If you like essential oils there out there, if you are into meditation there out there, if you have an auntie who struggles with taking her medication on time there is most likely a company out there trying to solve that very problem, and the good news is the moment you can’t find a solution to a problem your passionate about… You have found the company that you should start.
2. Be a problem solver, not a problem maker
This is not just a skill you need to get hired at a startup but rather a skill that you should desire for your life. True problem solvers are rare and here’s why, because true problem solvers are not just people who don’t mind solving problems from time to time, but rather people who are tuned to solve problems even when they're not supposed to.
This is not a genetic trait that is out of your reach. It’s as simple as looking around you and starting to train your mind to find problems where other people see satisfaction. Stickers on the side of fruit, hinges on doors, layouts of rooms. To believe that all these mundane things around you are perfect is foolish.
Startup culture thrives on solutions from the most “unlikely places” because to think that the CEO always has all the answers or the that the CTO knows everything about everything is just as foolish as the examples mentioned above. The truth is if your not a problem solver you are a problem participatory and that’s just not a sexy buzz word :(
3. Be collaborative even when you're not asked to
The world has trained us to work in silos, think in silos, and to never venture outside of them. I’m not sure if we have Henry Fords production lines to thanks or the fools that tried to apply that working method to more than just car factories but it’s detrimental to a young business.
Where the world might look at an engineer making design suggestions, or marketing team member making functionality suggestions like stepping on each other's toes, to a startup it’s just another priceless character trait that you have and they want.
Being able to collaborate is one thing but similar to solving problems, the initiative to collaborate instead of go commando on things tells people around you, “I don’t have an ego” and “I don’t care what people think of me, let’s just make this great”. Start being a person who is willing to ask questions and want people’s suggestions and you will fit in nicely.
4. Be skilled and capable in your field
As mentioned at the start of this post this is, of course, a very important of landing the job you want. There are so many posts training you, videos teaching you, and gurus mentoring you that I don’t even want to go into all that. What I do want to talk about (which I think is the hardest part of being skilled) is being skilled and doing good work consistently.
Being able to perform something once or twice is admirable, but doing it consistently is just plain amazing! Start thinking of your skill and capability in your field less like a sprint and more like a marathon. Start up really need people that will be willing to perform each day and not just during good seasons.
5. Be genuinely humble
So much of working at a startup has to do with personality, because of all the things mentioned above (passion, collaboration, problem-solving) it’s not a place where you can work in a cubicle and shut yourself out from the other people. Te truth is that the companies need people who have good people skills also because working in a small team in a do or die kind of mentality can bring out the worst in people that don’t like other people.
There are so many character traits that I could mention here like kindness, honesty, moral fiber… but the truth is that if you are humble the rest of it seems to all fall in line. So don’t have a big head, Think of others as more important than yourself, look to serve those around you in every way, stop trying to be the all-star and just be a part of the team.