CBInsights recently published the top 20 reasons why startups fail. The top three were no market need, ran out of cash, and not the right team. If you want to join a startup, therefore, you must do your research to determine that they have a product or service that customers want; they have enough cash to sustain them, and you will be part of a healthy team.
How can you tell if working for a startup is right for you?
- Begin by researching past companies (if any) that the leaders have started but also find out whether they have experience in the industry or field. Moving on from a top job in a top company to found a startup in the same industry is a good indication that the leaders have the background to succeed. Innovation usually builds on existing knowledge.
- Expect a salary commensurate with your own experience and skill (although not necessarily at the top of the salary curve). Their ability to pay you is one sign that they are properly funded.
- Make sure you research online and with people who are familiar with the leadership team or the organization to find out more about the company’s reputation.
- Also, be prepared for and know what it means to you if the startup fails: do you have enough money and time to survive and pick up your career after failure?
How will the startup tell if you are right for them?
- Flexibility and stamina. Startups generally begin with a skeleton staff, and you may be asked to wear multiple hats and take on roles that require skills you did not think you would need. Your resume should demonstrate flexibility in roles, industries, or other aspects of your career. One warning: some startups believe that the way to success is to run their team ragged; if you do not believe in 90 hour weeks and exhaustion, avoid those startups.
- Cultural and intellectual fit. The culture of startups evolves over time as people are hired and teams are formed. But the need to offer and discuss new ideas is constant. Your resume should show the kinds of culture you believe in and your commitment to learning and contributing.
- Problem-solving. Startups usually have no lack of problems; they want employees who concentrate on solutions, not finger-pointing or recriminations. Your resume should show that you take ownership of problems and find solutions.
- Passion for the product or service. It is almost impossible to convince customers about the company’s ideas and positive future unless you believe in them yourself. Find a startup you can believe in and make sure your resume and attitude convey that belief.
Your resume and cover letter are important to position you as a valuable employee for a startup. Robin’s Resumes® can help you do that.