Here are the steps I'd recommend:
1. Pick out a dozen startups whose products/services REALLY interest you.
2. Formulate a couple of interesting thoughts/questions/ideas about each of them. This link provides some general ones to ask. You should also think about a few very specific to the startup's product/service.
3. Try to reach out to people who work at the startup through a variety of ways. For e.g. through shared contacts, an alma mater in common, writing brief inmails on Linkedin, or sharing your ideas with @theirtwitterhandle and getting to know their community manager, etc.
4. Learn from these discussions.
5. Repeat with more startups.
To work at a start-up can be both inspiring and empowering but before you get that feeling keep the following points in mind:
1. What Employers Look For: When you go to work for a start-up, you will be expected to start the job at full performance speed on day one. Companies look to hire people who are intrinsically motivated and have a track record of being able to learn things on their own time. You need to be self-motivated because a start-up will not have the processes setup that a large company has. There may not be a human resources manager to onboard you or a manager telling you exactly what to do. Candidates also need to be team-oriented but be able to work on their own when they need to. Learning marketing or a new programming language, for example, will be a signal that you meet that criteria. Share the skills you have developed with the hiring manager at interviews.
2. Start-up Salary Information: Start-up compensation can be comprised of several components. You may be paid a straight salary, or there may be an equity component of your compensation in addition to your paycheck. To get an idea of potential compensation, use Angel’s Start-up Salary and Equity Tool to get a sense of what you can earn. Select a role, location, skill, or market to view salaries and equity information for thousands of start-ups.
3. Work/Life Balance: When it comes to balancing your career and your life, don’t expect 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. hours and every evening and weekend off, but you may be able to work a flexible schedule from home, the perks may be incredible, and you’ll have the opportunity to grow with the company.
4. Where to Find Start-up Jobs:
a. Use Job Sites: AngelList is the best source for start-up jobs. You can apply directly to over 74,000 jobs with one application. You will also be able to view salary and equity details for each employer. When you register on the site, you will create a profile with your work experience and skills. You can share your profile publicly or keep it secret if you want to job search privately. Also search GitHub Jobs by title, location, company, and benefits. If you’re looking to partner and get in on the ground floor, Cofounders Lab is a site where potential entrepreneurs look for co-founders. Search Indeed and the other top job sites using “start-up” as a keyword. If you have a location where you would like to work, or if you are seeking a remote position, add those terms to your query. You will get a list of opportunities to explore.
b. Reach Out to Companies Directly: Review lists of the best start-ups to find companies that match your skillset and interests. Many start-ups are small, and it may only take an email or LinkedIn to get connected to a decision-maker. Writing a cold contact cover letter is a good way to get your credentials noticed.
c. Use Your Networking Connections: One of the best ways to find a job at a start-up is through networking. Who do you know? Search Crunchbase by person (and company) to find out what organizations your connections are affiliated with. You can also search by school to see which founders are alumni of your college. Also, check to see if your career services office can connect you to alumni at companies of interest. Browse your LinkedIn connections as well.
d. Meetup with Start-ups: Learning what businesses operate out of your local coworking spaces can be a good way to identify start-ups in your area. Attend as many tech conferences and events as you have time for. You will be able to meet prospective employers in a group or one-on-one environment to learn about opportunities. Many tech employers participate in job fairs. Attend as many as you can and note that a start-up job fair may have a different format than a traditional career fair.
e. Tap Social Media: Follow companies of interest on all their social media channels. You might line up your next job by reading a tweet or a LinkedIn post mention that the company is hiring. Respond right away, and you may be able to fast track the hiring process.
5. Check Out the Company: Some companies are better than others to work for, so spend time researching reviews of the workplace environment at start-ups. In some cases, even new companies have reviews on Glassdoor. Do your due diligence and look up the founders to see what other start-ups they have been involved with in the past and if there are any reports on what it's like to work for them. This can be a good indication of what you can expect if you take a job with them.
6. Get Ready to Interview: The hiring process may be a quick one, with fewer formalities than if you were interviewing with a traditional corporate employer. Be prepared for a phone interview, a video call, or an informal meeting on short notice. Start-up interview attire is typically more casual than what you’d wear to a formal job interview, but you should still look polished and professional. As with any job interview, take the time to follow up with a thank-you note or email.
7. Tips for Evaluating a Job Offer: When you get a job offer, it is important to carefully evaluate the compensation package. In addition to reviewing the salary and benefits, it is important to understand how the equity package works. Understanding how options work and how they are taxed is important because it can be a surprise when the time comes to exercise the options. The check may be less than you expect, and you may not have realized that you must shell out money to purchase the shares. One simple way to look at it is to consider the equity portion of the compensation as 0. Unless the start-up up is phenomenally successful, the chances are that you will not see anything from those options. So, if you are treating them as 0, and you are most likely going to make less on the salary side, you need to consider the other benefits before you accept.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath