Start-up companies are popular in many industries right now, and for good reason. Start-ups tend to offer a lot of desirable qualities: excitement, energy, equity, and more. While technology start-ups and Silicon Valley have captured the imagination of much of the world, there are plenty of other places to find work at a start-up. You can even get work at a tech company without having much in the way of technical skills if you play your cards right.
If you get bitten by the start-up bug, the first thing to do is begin looking for local opportunities. Joining a start-up company is a decision fraught with risk no matter how you look at it, and you don’t need to compound your risk by moving to a crowded, expensive hotbed like Silicon Valley. Applying to local opportunities makes the job-search process easier for you and the company.
Combing start-up job boards is a good place to open up your job search, but the best positions are often not advertised. To find them, keep an eye on the news. If you see that a company just got a new round of funding, you can safely assume that they’ll be spending some of it on hiring new personnel. If you get in touch with them, preferably through a mutual contact in the industry, you may be able to get one of those positions, or even come to them with an idea for how you might fit in with them.
When you get a little farther in your search, be prepared to sell yourself as multitalented. Start-ups often want people who can help them to build software or design branding. However, sales, marketing, public relations, and project management are also things a growing start-up requires. If you have experience in multiple areas, you can make your chances of landing a start-up job even better.
Finally, be sure to network. If your name lands on the start-up founder’s desk and you know one of their investors, mentors, or friends in the industry, you’re much more likely to be taken seriously. Start-up industries can be tight-knit worlds, and if you can start to make a name for yourself in them, you may find work much more easily.