The resume is an essential part of your application documents. Based on its content, recruiters decide whether you are the right candidate for the advertised position or not, especially when you are applying for a position in a rapidly developing startup.
As, on average, it takes six months to hire someone for a startup, hiring managers and recruiters are highly motivated to spot the right candidate right from the start and not to waste time. Besides, there are numerous other hiring challenges that require attention and efforts from the founders and startup leaders. For this reason, you should use your resume to highlight your strengths and skills and catch a prospective employer’s attention once and for all.
Below you will find numerous proven tips and examples to give your startup resume the perfect shape.
What Do Startups Want?
In startups, resources are often limited, and one person can perform different tasks (sometimes even within several positions). Successful projects grow rapidly, which means that you can get promotions there often – for this, you need an employee to be ambitious, strive to prove himself, offer ideas, and take responsibility.
In a startup, founders value work for the result, not the report. You are not expected to make endless calls and presentations. It is more important to show what kind of professional you are. In developing projects, management is open to employees’ ideas: the structure of the business allows for rapid changes at all stages, so initiatives are considered here because each of them can be successful.
Besides, according to Harward Business Review, many startup leaders claim that experience alone does not make a team successful. Therefore, there are high chances to get hired for your soft skills and who you are.
What is important to include in a startup resume?
The classic structure of a startup resume looks like this:
- Personal Information. The personal data includes information about yourself and contact details under which you can be reached for queries.
- Education. The educational path is usually presented separately from the professional career and may include the following points: studies, professional training, stays abroad during the training, school leaving certificate. Also, list the individual stages of your training in reverse chronological order.
- Practical and professional experience. The so-called American form has become established for the presentation of professional careers. Professional experience is presented anti-chronologically, i.e., in reverse order, starting with the last position.
- Knowledge, additional qualifications. Have you acquired further qualifications independent of your training or the individual stations of your professional career? Very well! Present them in the Special Knowledge and Skills section. However, make sure that the details match the position you are applying for.
- Interests and hobbies. This section allows you to give recruiters hints about your soft skills. Soft skills are extra-curricular or interdisciplinary competencies in the personal, social and methodological areas.
Of course, the structure of the startup resume can also vary depending on your career and the advertised position. Not all information is mandatory, but specific points simply must be included in every resume. In addition, there is optional resume content that you can include if it serves your application but is not required.
Stand-Out Startup Resume Checklist
A good startup resume makes a candidate stand out from the crowd of applicants and gives a higher chance of getting an invitation to an interview. Based on the resume, the employer evaluates the applicant’s work experience and professional achievements and correlates them with their requirements. If a candidate happens to be inexperienced, the employer evaluates the education and personal qualities of the person and decides whether he suits him according to these criteria.
- Demonstrate you understand the culture
During the search for an employee, the employer undoubtedly pays attention to the candidate’s previous experience and ability to solve complex problems and non-standard working moments. A startup resume should demonstrate a person willing to take risks and has a wide range of skills to solve any issues that come their way.
Your education and even hobbies and interests will undoubtedly be an example that will demonstrate that you can be a flexible and multi-tasking employee for an employer’s company.
- Prioritize big company experience
Did you know that it takes a recruiter an average of 6 seconds to view a resume? With such a pace, it is unlikely that anyone will remember your past company, which is both good and successful but not known to everyone. But the big name of the employer will hook the recruiter’s eyes and, most likely, increase his loyalty and interest in you.
Being able to list a well-known brand on your startup resume is like a catnip for the avid founder, even if it was just an internship or freelance project.
- Highlight accomplishments and results
The available work experience is placed in the resume in reverse order, along with the date and place of work. It is necessary to indicate the position held and work duties, noting the existing professional achievements.
The period of internship and practice is not inferior in importance to work experience since a quality internship is much better than a few intermittent part-time jobs. All production achievements must be indicated in the startup resume using the action verb: completed, increased, created. All statements must be specific and concise.
- If you’ve started up before, let them know
If you’ve ever tried your hand in a startup, or have previously created your own startup, don’t try to hide this information from a potential employer if things don’t go according to plan. Instead, highlight the highlights and positives, and give the experience the credit it deserves on your resume.
Show yourself as an employee who is not afraid to take risks and learn from experience only positive lessons and who can become an integral part of the startup culture.
- Place an equal weight on education and experience
Young companies often decide to hire only the best candidates. They are confident of success but feel they need to attract highly educated or experienced people, and ideally both!
When writing a startup resume, start from the last place of study and work backward. List the schools, colleges, universities you attended, and the dates you received your diplomas and/or degrees. Mention seminars, training, and refresher courses relevant to the job. For registration, use a bulleted list or table.
- Present your portfolio
Your portfolio, like your resume, is your calling card. The employer wants to understand whether you will cope with his particular task by getting acquainted with your previous jobs. It is optimal to place from 10 to 20 works.
Browsing through a more extensive portfolio will be tedious, and it is unlikely that an employer will want to rummage through the mass of similar jobs to find the right one. If you work in different areas, it would be appropriate to provide examples in all areas. You will show yourself as a narrow-profile specialist by indicating work in only one specific area. Take the time to describe the work. Be sure to indicate the originally set goals, as fragments of work taken out of context may be misunderstood by the employer.
Moreover, it will be easier to evaluate your approach to solving problems and ensure that you are suitable for the job. Update your portfolio regularly with new content. The absence of recent works can be regarded as creative stagnation and unwillingness to develop. And since you develop and improve your skills over time, why not demonstrate your level of professionalism.
- Share your passions and hobbies
Tell about your hobbies, awards, or community service. This point is critical because it characterizes the applicant as a full-fledged member of society. The presence of a hobby in a person testifies to the liveliness and curiosity of his nature, the ability to learn, discipline and the ability to competently manage his time.
You do not need to write a lot, it is enough to indicate two or three hobbies with a bit of explanation. You must remember that this is just an addition to your professional look. Otherwise, the employer may think that hobbies are more important to you than work.
- Consider specific keywords
Resume keywords are words that should be used in a resume to indicate that you fit the description of a particular vacancy and expectations from the candidate.
Most often, this is a specific work experience, skills, qualities, and other details that the employer wants to see in the future employee. You can indicate in your startup resume all the keywords from the vacancy that interests you if you have these skills and knowledge. If you decide to add more, make sure they are all organically contained in the text.
Writing a startup resume is not as scary as it might seem at first. But it would be best if you didn’t relax either: statistics show that today employers make much more demands on potential employees than 10 years ago. And taking into account global trends, the need for a well-written resume will only increase.
The main thing to remember when compiling a resume is that its content should explain to the employer whether this candidate will be helpful to a startup company and will be able to perform the work assigned.