March 17, 2016
The startup industry is getting warmer and warmer as a target for job seekers. The struggle is real: if you’re looking for a position in a startup, you’ll be in heavy competition.
And I’m in the midst of it. I’m 95 percent there, and missing just the last bit. Here’s what I’ve done:
1. Using Canva to Reformat My Resume
Looking at my resume was like a trip down memory lane. That old word file looked like something from the 90’s. With an ugly QR code to a teenage-looking blog, this resume would be to my image as wearing a pair of buffalos and trumpet jeans. How did I even get a job back then?
My favorite graphic tool for graphically handicapped people like myself came to mind: Canva.
2. Pitching the Value I Can Give to the Startups
With a shiny resume, I got more attention but still got replies such as: “You have an interesting profile, but not enough experience” or “You’re too young”.
Big corporations want your grades. Startups need to know you’ll earn them back the money. So I created a sheet with my marketing results, and would send it along with my CV.
I’d check out a startup's team page, and if their marketing team didn’t seem sufficient I’d shoot them an email asking if they were looking for somebody like me too boost conversion rates and lead generation.
This eventually got me the furthest I’ve come so far: almost getting it.
I got considered for a marketing position at Copenhagen-based startup Shopbox. Up against tough competition of older marketers with more experience than me in PR. The traditional young professional bias is hitting me right there in solar plexus: you’re only 25 and don’t have the experience; you can’t lift the task.
But the startup gave me a chance: if successful in getting their press release out, wowcha – I’ve landed the job.
3. Create a Story
So I decided to zoom out and look at my goals and resources. Drown a cup of superwoman-brew and think differently. I changed the story:
If I get the startup the media attention they’re looking for, I will donate my entire first month’s salary to Save the Children.
Why Save the Children? Because children are our future. They’re the ones that will create the startups of tomorrow. And because I don’t care about the money. I care about the change I can make.
4. Staying Persistent
By now I’m almost there. Reached out to 40+ journalists, posted in tons of forums and on all my social media channels.
I’ve realized that most of what I’m doing – reaching out to journalists or companies – relies on basic human psychology. I’ve learned to look at it like marketing: put yourself into the shoes of the person whose attention you’re looking for. What are their goals? How can you make their lives easier?
It is with getting attention as with marketing: a numbers game – so don’t lose hope. Keep posting, keep contacting prospects, keep your eyes on the prize.
I’ve gotten a few magazines to show interest. Along the way, I even got offered two other positions by international companies that found my approach inspiring. Yes, I’m overworked and over-caffeinated by now – but if I wouldn’t be, I wouldn’t have come this far.
As with anything: securing your dream job, getting media attention or climbing Everest – be persistent. Nothing worth having in life comes easy.
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