Sarah Bourke is Customer Operations Manager at Thriva, the world’s first preventative healthcare service.
Startups are a great option for new grads. Large corporations can’t offer what startups can: the opportunity to make an impact on the whole business with relatively little experience. Plus, you get to wear jeans and play table tennis, so what’s not to love?
I’ve worked in startups for six years across three different industries, and I’ve got some insider tips on how to get hired at one.
Generic CVs and cover letters just don’t cut it. While startups are often happy to hire new grads, they also want to make sure you’re really passionate about the company’s mission. Your CV and cover letter should reflect this. Ideally you’ll have some relevant background relating to the company, whether it’s a university society, volunteer experience, or even your own blog. Hiring managers at startups really want to see your passion, so don’t be afraid to sound excited in your cover letter – it’s exactly what we’re looking for. At Thriva, for example, we want to know that you’re passionate about preventative healthcare. And if your cover letter doesn’t even mention the role or company, it’ll probably go straight in the (digital) bin.
Even if you don’t have relevant experience or background in a company’s industry, just showing that you’ve done some research can be enough. If you’re interested in a role, invest time into learning more. Research the company’s background, competitors and recent developments in the industry. Incorporate some of these things into your cover letter, as well as why you’re interested in this company in particular, and you’ll already be halfway to an interview.
Consider another avenue
It’s hard to get your foot in the door for competitive positions at startups like Product Manager or Digital Marketing. Consider applying for positions that may require less direct experience, like an Account Manager or Customer Service Associate, to build up your experience. After proving yourself for six months or a year, you can ask to shadow someone in the position you’re really after, or just do a bit of work for the department. They’ll be more willing to look past your lack of experience if they know you’re a fast learner and willing to put in the effort.
Don’t get discouraged
It’s cliched, but true. The startup job market is competitive, and we get tons of applicants for every job. I recommend having a template of your CV and cover letter so that you can quickly tailor it to each job you’re applying for. If you’ve applied for lots of jobs and aren’t getting anywhere, try switching things up – try a different approach with your cover letter, or find a new CV template to work from. You never know what’s going to make a difference.
If you think you’d like to work in a startup, I’d recommend looking at some job ads to see what roles and companies interest you. WorkInStartups and AngelList are great places to start. There are hundreds of startups in London across tons of industries, so there’s something out there for everyone.
Thriva is the world’s first preventative healthcare service. We’ve taken the cornerstone of any health check – the blood test – and made it incredibly easy and convenient. From two week wait times to results in two days, and from no access to your results to owning your own health data. We work with NHS trained GPs and labs so you know you can trust the results and know what to do about them.