You read all the news about startups being sold for billions of dollars and you also read about up and coming startups getting rounds upon rounds of investor funding.
Now, you may be curious as to what it’s like to work for a startup. The pictures they post online seem to be so liberating – young people in shorts and flip flops with laptops changing the world.
The following is how I managed to secure a job with a startup even before my official graduation.
1. Learn how to write a stellar resume.
All the “rules” given by career experts that you probably heard of are all true.
A rule such as tailoring the resume to just one company at a time and writing a custom cover letter to go with it.
Being on the end of screening applications – I can tell you that just doing the above rules will make you stand out from the crowd.
A video I would recommend for you learn how to write a resume would be this. I used it and it worked for me.
If you find it challenging to write your resume, you can engage with us at Inforati. Check out our services here.
2. Make sure your job search profile and LinkedIn profile are strategically updated.
With the resume you have crafted, it’s time to upload that into the job portals.
Use the same details you used in your resume to update your job profile and LinkedIn.
Some job portals will provide a PDF version of your profile to employers when you apply for jobs (this happens when you don’t attach a resume of your own in your profile).
This can be a terrible first impression.
Not only are the PDF’s not formatted, the details may also be arranged in a non-strategic fashion.
For example, if your main strength in your resume was the fact that you went to a prestigious school, it would be better if that were highlighted first in your application.
If the “wow” factor you have is that you interned at a prestigious company, but your grades weren’t so good, it’s best to have that internship listed first instead.
So be sure to upload your resume and not rely on the automated PDFs.
3. If you are called for the interview, read up on the subject matter and read carefully on the job description.
I applied for a job in content marketing. I had an idea of what it is about from reading books on Seth Godin but I can’t really explain it well.
So I went on to trusty Google and found out. I read a few guides (spend a few hours on this) and had a better grasp of what it is.
After that, I read the job description.
What I can tell you now looking back is that most job seekers don’t know that the job description was thought out very carefully and strategically by the heads of the department before publishing it.
The point is to take each word seriously. Although they listed 10 things, all 10 things are important. They are not there for filler sake. They are there to communicate to the right candidate that this job is for them.
Go through each of them and try to understand the best that you can.
Prepare questions if you have any, based on these descriptions.
4. When at the interview, use this one thing to differentiate yourself.
Now, you are probably thinking what you have to offer to a thriving startup.
The truth about startups is that they are looking for top tier talent (like everybody else).
But often times, top tier talent is hard to come by and hard to persuade to join the bandwagon unless they have the right incentives in place.
The next best thing they can hope for is a person who may not have the skills but has the drive and the capacity to get there — a do-er that has the right attitude to make the company succeed.
This is the one thing you should use to differentiate yourself from the others who don’t have this insight.
This is where your hours of research from before comes in.
Show them through your actions that you are serious about the job. That you took the time to understand the subject and understand what they were looking for.
I once asked a friend of mine who interviews people and he said the one thing he looks for is the eagerness to learn.
Remember that to be a star player, you need to be 3 things:
A hard worker
Proactive (have initiative)
Smart (creative – able to give Eureka ideas over and over again)
At this stage in your career, show that you have the first two as the last one comes with experience.
At the end of the interview, don’t ever (I mean EVER) say “No” when they ask you if you have any questions.
Fire away and ask as many relevant questions as possible.
Doing all the steps above gives them a great impression of what you can do for them and in return, significantly increase your success rate of getting hired.
This post was written by Ben Sim from iPrice group.
For the most of us, interviews are scary. Especially the questions that require you to prove yourself.
The following are the most common interview questions and how to tackle them with style.
1. “Tell me about yourself”
In 30 seconds, tell them who you are, what you’re passionate about and what kind of role you’re seeking.
Only discuss information about you that matches the post you are being considered for.
“I’m a passionate risk taker who wants to make a dent in the universe. I hope to achieve that through this company, and I do (state your role).”
2. “What’s your greatest weakness?”
Don’t try to pick a strength and downplay it to a weakness i.e. “I’m a perfectionist. I need to get it right all the time”
Instead, be sincere.
Pick something that you need to improve on, identify how you’re getting over it and if that paved the way for some other skill to be developed.
Specify an event that happens regularly in your line of work and how it relates to you overcoming your weakness.
“I feel I am not as creative as I should be, but whenever I run out of ideas, I go to sites like Inc for some inspiration. I also check out Quora to look at the questions posed by users to get more ideas.”
3. “Why should we hire you?”
This is where the principle of persuasion comes in.
What the question really means is “tell me why you are the one”
There are two ways to play this question:
You tell them your strengths in their language (this tip is gold for any business transaction)
“You should hire me because I know what it’s like to have a wrong member in the team. What you want is somebody who is excited about the work that’s happening here, the willingness to learn and not afraid to fail……”
You make a power move and throw the question back at them
“I would love to answer your question but I would like to know what was it about my application that made you consider me in the first place?”
This move may offend some and impress some.
4. “What’s your impression of me?”
Here – the question is designed to understand how objective you can be and be smart about it.
Take a moment and notice what the interviewer is doing and how he or she conducts him or herself.
Be constructive and not judgmental.
5. “What will you do if you don’t get this job?”
Show them you have a plan B and that you will continue to pursue other opportunities for growth.
6. “How long do you intend to stay?”
Use this short and sweet answer:
“I intend to stay as long as I’m engaged and productive with my job, team members, and company.”
7. “What can you offer as a fresh grad?”
Energy, tech-savviness, optimism and creativity.
Tell your success stories in school and quantity them – money earned, the number of people touched, etc.
8. “Why did you leave your last job?”
Don’t be fooled into trash-talking your former employer.
Instead, tell them that you were ready for a change. That you believed that the right thing to do was to leave the job to allow someone else was in it for the long haul to step in and to allow yourself some time to figure out your next move.
9. “Do you have any questions for me?”
Don’t say there are no questions and refrain from asking about the salary.
Your job at this point is to give them the best first impression you can give and wow them.
If you make them want you badly enough, they will offer you the higher end of the salary to avoid losing you.
Ask instead “Why does this role matter to the growth of the company?”
“What is expected of me in my first 90 days?”
“What is the main metric I will be measured by?”
Questions like these show the interviewer that you are not just another desperate job seeker looking for a paycheck.
Instead, you will appear to them as someone who has a clear direction, the right mindset and the right attitude in adding value to others.
This post was written by Ben Sim from iPrice group.
Early signs that you must know in order to avoid potential disappointment. Speak your piece or hold your peace forever.
Whether you are a fresh graduate or a seasoned job seeker, the journey of getting employed is a complicated art by itself. It is an art that demands you to have a pair of sharp eyes for nuance and subtlety in judging every situation critically. Since the job interview is a two-way street, you must remember that the entire interview process is not solely about you.
At the end of the day, it lies on whether the company and its workplace can suit your talents as well as meeting your expectations. Hence, you just need to make sure that you have asked these 5 critical questions to a company before joining to work in it.
How’s the job and what is it like?
Obviously, you have read about your job and its scope before applying for it. However, you still want to ask and learn from the person that has been working with the company. More often than not, such question definitely enables you to be very familiar with your future job and its constraints. As it turns out, this question becomes increasingly crucial when you are applying from a startup which still undergoes a volatile phase of undetermined goals and variables. In fact, it is normal in a startup culture that the nature of your job can change dramatically from day to day.
For a start, it will be great when you can ask about the current situation that the company faces at the present. Such question will reveal about the company’s expectation of you and your ability in solving its problems. Not only that, you also get the opportunity in understanding the exact nature of your job scope. Basically, you must know whether you are hired to deal with a unique problem, reduce the workload or oversee some execution processes.
Getting to know about your future colleagues
Sooner or later, you have to be prepared to work together with your future colleagues. While that will be an upcoming challenge for you to discover, another greater challenge at hand will be knowing how to ask the right kind of question to your interviewer especially when it comes to your future colleagues. Most importantly, you should ask about working schedule in that company. These things include the timing of team meeting so that you can expect how you and your future colleagues work together.
Generally, the word “team player” should be a valuable trait in every employee. Yet, it will not be an issue when you are expected to work alone without any extended supervision from your superior. Another useful question is to ask questions regarding the ability of its employees to devote their time to their hobbies and other passions. In addition, this is another question that allows you to find out whether the company is healthy when it comes to supporting your interests.
Familiarizing with the company culture
Culture runs deeper than any attitude or behavior in a company. As such, the company culture can either uplift or ruin its workforce. This is why you need to familiarize yourself with its culture even before joining in. If your interviewer asks about how your friends or ex-colleagues think about you, you can ask about the same thing to the company. Not only that, you can ask about the latest hire in the company so that you can decide whether the company exhibits high turnover rate.
Problems in hiring the right kind of people for the job
Without the shadow of doubt, your future company is definitely interested in your ability and attitude in performing your task. Despite your seemingly impressive CV and power-grooming method, even the company is not sure whether you are the best fit for the job. Ask about what the problems that the company faces in getting the ideal person for the job. From there, the answers will help you to adapt to your job without much trouble.
Things that I can do to surprise you
Last but not least, this final question can prove to be unconventional but it is able to deliver results that will surprise yourself. In a simpler term, it is all about asking how you can be a valuable team member in the company. As a matter of fact, this question also will offer you an idea to contribute creatively!
In conclusion, these 5 questions are vital for you to get to know about your future company before joining in. Not just that, the best thing of all is that you do not have to pitch yourself too hard in the process.
This article is written based on insights from recruiting team and staffs at iPrice Group.
For the longest time since I got a job offer within a month of graduating and got employed in a job I wanted within 2 months, I was always intrigued on what employers look for in a candidate.
Like you, I have read many articles that popped up on my Facebook feed outlining what employers look for: Proactivity, attitude, communication skills, leadership, etc.
These things are cool and all, but as a graduate, how can I work on these things?
Some posts show you the step by step methods like go to networking events and join Toastmasters.
But how many people actually take action on this?
If I have heard it a thousand times, the one thousandth and oneth time usually wouldn’t make a difference.
With that all out of the way, what is the ONE WORD that employers want?
It is the word – Intrapreneur.
What on earth is that?
According to Investopedia, an intrapreneur is “an inside entrepreneur, or an entrepreneur within a large firm, who uses entrepreneurial skills without incurring the risks associated with those activities.”
To make this simpler, picture yourself being an entrepreneur.
You run your own company. You are the decision maker. Your attitude and outlook towards life say that you are 100% responsible for everything that happens to you. You take risks, but calculated ones. If it backfires, you find a way to bounce back otherwise you have to bite the bullet.
There is a huge reason why you see 23-year-olds who go out and build successful companies get the Vice President seat at a start-up when they are only 27.
If they were to take the traditional route, it would take a lot longer.
Most people would think that the amount of time you spend with a company determines your value to the company.
But the few think that the value you bring to the company determines the amount of time needed to get to the C-Suite.
Being an intrapreneur simply means being an entrepreneurial employee.
Employers run businesses and businesses are founded and ran under the vision of people with entrepreneurial tendencies.
Once you start thinking like an entrepreneur, all the skills that are commonly listed by employers will fall into place like clockwork. It’s only a matter of time.
Taking initiative, being self-taught and having an abundance mindset play a part in being a superstar intrapreneur.
So what are you waiting for?
Go forth and unleash your entrepreneurial vision in your life and reap the rewards the next time you go for that dream job.
“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and in action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.” – Michelangelo
These wise words from the legendary artist of the Italian Renaissance are the perfect analogy on the path you are taking to land your dream job. The masterpieces of Michelangelo weren’t created overnight; it took him months or even years. His most breathtaking masterpiece to date, David, took over two years to complete, similarly to getting your dream job – it takes time.
Landing a job is already difficult for many fresh graduates, more so if you are underqualified or lack networking. However, do keep this in mind that your qualifications would be the least of your worries. Take the late Steve Jobs as an example. The Apple Empire was built by a man without a university degree.
Embarking on this journey is no easy task and it is not for those who embrace “Laziness with a capital L”. The expression ‘blood, sweat and tears’ is not compulsory, but with your hard work and willingness, you will eventually get there. Here’s a step by step guide on how to get your dream job (even if you are not qualified or well connected).
Step 1: Identify your dream job To actually get your dream job, you have to prioritize what you want from your dream job. That’s a no-brainer there for you. The core to identifying your dream job is to establish a dream job mindset. It is a simple method of extracting what you WANT the most from your dream job while subtracting what you DO NOT WANT the most from your dream job. To put it another way, it is similar to taking notes of your likes and dislikes.
Be creative with it as possible and be open to new ideas as there are no fixed methods to success. A method we would suggest is to create a list of likes and dislikes pertaining to your dream job. Go ahead and paste the list in your bedroom. Make sure to glance at it every day while making amendments along the way, until you are absolutely content with the list.
Step 2: Overcome barriers Now that you have passed the easy peasy portion of figuring what you prioritize most from your dream job, it is time to put your foot down to overcome and put them into perspective. This is because action speaks louder than words and you wouldn’t want to be classified as part of the NATO (No action, talk only) force.
At times you will be washed over by uncertainties and doubts which can be overwhelming but refrain yourself from falling too deeply into these thoughts. Tell yourself that this is part and parcel of the process which makes everything more worthwhile. A common barrier of what many of us face is the fear of change. We are constantly preoccupied with the notions of success, but success will never suddenly come knocking at your door if you choose to stay in your comfort zone. So be a mental warrior to gain clarity about what you want from life and through this you are able to learn to adapt from a place of SHOULDS and acting on your WANTS.
Step 3: Uncover and hone your skills Learn as much as you can about your dream job to identify the related skills. Know your key strengths and work from there. The Internet will always have your back, so be on the lookout for seminars, or online courses that can fast track your learning and the best part of it is that most of these are FREE! A good place to start is Eventbrite where you can discover tons of seminars around your area.
Still feeling ‘meh’ about your skills? Try utilizing websites or apps to find out about hidden strengths that you never knew of. A useful site we would recommend is Good & Co. where they refer to themselves as a “self-discovery engine”. The company aims to help users obtain insights that can improve their career outlook and path through the use of quizzes. These quizzes are fun, science-backed quizzes that highlight an individual’s skills and strengths. Who knew discovering your hidden strengths can be so much fun!
If all else fails, find a mentor who has seen success in your dream role. Your mentor could be a close friend, a lecturer that you got along well during your college days or someone you met through work. Don’t be anxious to create relationships with people who have your best interests and knowledge in mind, because if you never try, you’ll never know.
Step 4: Fake it till you make it Learn to act as if you are already guaranteed to land that dream job of yours. Take every opportunity you have to live, think and feel that you own the job. Make yourself believe that if you act like you already have the life you are looking to develop; it might attract your goals more quickly. Such a method of living can be an indirect way of increasing your positivity on a daily basis.
These reactions might seem unnatural in the beginning, but with a little bit of practice, this “learning to act” will be habitual and work well not only through achieving your dream job but other aspects of your life as well.
To wrap things up, chasing your dream job can be a daunting process, especially when you don’t see yourself as the strongest candidate. Your dream job is not likely to happen overnight; it is indeed tedious and can test one’s patience. However, make sure to be positive throughout this whole ordeal as a little bit of positivity can take you places. Above all, continue to work hard until you see the light at the end of the tunnel because hard work will always prevail. There are so many who give up on their dreams before actually giving it a go. So, the single biggest favor you can do for yourself is to simply go for it and never give up! From the wise words of Shia Labeouf “Don’t Let Your Dreams be Dreams, Just Do It”!
This post was written by Jillian Cheong from iPrice Group.