How to Customize Your Resume for a Startup
Startups are about passion, so if you want to work for one, passion — as well as technical skills — need to come through on your resume.
Yes, your resume is a formal document and its discussion of technical skills matters. But when writing it, you also need to demonstrate your commitment to the company’s mission and ability to thrive in an unstructured environment.
Here are five ways to mold your resume toward an opportunity at a startup.
Set the Stage
The top third of your resume is fertile territory. Your headline and profile should express your desire to join a startup and your passion for the company’s mission, product or service. Naturally, the founders want to read about your technical expertise. But startups need doers who are willing to get their hands dirty, so give equal space to your flexibility, initiative and active work experience.
Mirror the Culture
Eliminate corporate-speak and bullets touting your experience with process optimization or architecting an ERP platform. Instead, describe how you single-handedly created 100,000 lines of bullet-proof, scalable code in Ruby or personally designed and developed cutting edge mobile apps that blew away the competition. It’s OK to use adjectives like “awesome” or call yourself a rock star – just be sure to back it up.
Wear Many Hats
Are you a seasoned expert in all phases of the development life cycle with hundreds of successful projects under your belt? Are you familiar with multiple project management methodologies and tactics and amenable to using a hybrid model? Are you willing to code by day, sweep floors by night and forsake part of your weekend? Startups need jacks-of-all-trades, not specialists. Use job titles, position summaries and experience bullets that demonstrate your versatility and prove that you’re ready, willing and capable of doing whatever it takes to advance the company’s goals.
Flaunt Your Passion
Don’t expect to score a startup job unless you eat, breath and sleep technology. Devote a section of your resume to outside activities such as participation in competitive coding challenges, open source projects and reviewing sample code on GitHub or Stack Overflow. List the organizations you belong to, conferences you’ve attended and include links to your blog, website, coding samples or portfolio.
Since startups value creativity and innovation, consider augmenting your resume with a video cover letter explaining why you’re the best candidate for the job, or proposing a way to improve the company’s product or service. Better still, create a replica of the company’s website, and an infographic resume showcasing the company’s needs and the value you offer. Include links to your creations in your resume and follow-up via Twitter.
If you search the Internet, you’ll find examples from other tech professionals who’ve pulled out all the stops while pursuing a job at a startup. One thing’s certain: Ingenuity and a tailored resume can help you land a position at the startup of your dreams.
- 10 Traits of an Ideal Startup Employee
- Signing Onto a Startup? Watch Out for These 5 Things
- Program Taps Recent Grads for Startup Positions