Investing (your life) in a startup

hiring process

How to Shortcut the Hiring Process

I was hired by one of the most exciting startups in San Francisco without a resume, cover letter, or personal connection.

I got lucky, without a doubt, but here's how it went down. Danielle Morrill, CEO of Mattermark, tweeted out a few weeks ago that she wanted to make the company's first marketing hire. She wanted that person to be a "generalist who had worn a bunch of hats." 5 minutes later I emailed her with a quick rundown of projects I'd worked on and things I accomplished. She quickly responded saying, "I'd love to chat, are you ever in San Francisco?"

Am I ever in San Francisco? No! I live in New York.

I actually got on Kayak, bought a plane ticket to San Francisco, and the rest is history. I spent 30 minutes meeting with Danielle, met the rest of the team, and grabbed a taco before I was back on a plane to New York. 24 hours later I had a job offer from the only company I was dying to work for.

If you're dying to work at that one company, find a way to stand out from the pack.

Searching for a job doesn't have to suck

Coming home from a long day of work to redo your resume or write a new coverletter is dreadful.

Skip that entire process and find someone at your target company to chat with. Send them a brief email and find a time to talk on the phone for a few minutes. If you make a good impression, you will have increased your chances of getting hired tenfold. That person will mention you to the recruiter, and you've completely avoided the resumé submission page. Everyone I know who has been hired recently did it this way.

5 is the magic number

Don't apply to 50 companies at once.

Find 5 that you would actually love working at, and spend the extra time making yourself seem like the perfect fit for each opening. It's less exhausting, and more enjoyable. If you spread yourself thin applying to a ton of companies, you will be reducing your chances of getting hired by a single one. Break it up into batches. If you don't get hired by one of those first 5 companies, make a new batch. Test out a new way of presenting yourself. Find more people to chat with at the target companies. It'll eventually work out.

If you don't even know where to start, here's a list of startups I made when I began my job search. Take the first step.

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