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Open New Doors: Explore Startups & Entrepreneurship

How to Land a Job at a Startup

Learn to launch a career in one of the most exciting growth areas of today's tech-driven economy.

Why Work for a Startup?

Since the Great Recession, startups and startup jobs have become a major force in society and nearly all net new job creation. They’re sexy, growing, and provide an opportunity to find meaning and purpose in your work (and sometimes even get you rich). And working for a startup company can be one of the most challenging, exhilarating, sometimes heartbreaking, and oftentimes fulfilling journeys of your life.

In “Why Work for a Startup?” discover how the startup boom happened, what makes this sector of the economy is so appealing, and what it takes to get a job at a growing business. Want to learn more about what it takes to land a job at a startup? Download our expert guide.

What Is a Startup?

A startup is simply a business attempting to bring a new product or service to market. While startups are known for being young companies in the tech industry, the truth is that a startup can exist in any industry and can be any age.

The real difference between startups and traditional businesses is that startups operate in conditions of extreme uncertainty. For example, most startups operate with unfinished products, undefined business models, and unproven strategies. The whole journey of a startup is about bringing clarity to these questions and figuring out what the company and its good or service truly is. It’s that level of uncertainty, and figuring things out as you go, that gives startups their defining culture and what makes them such interesting places to work. The team is literally inventing the future on the fly.

In “What Is a Startup?” discover the five stages of a startup’s life cycle, and how to land a job in this growing sector of the economy. Want to learn more about what it takes to work at a startup? Download our expert guide.

What Are Common Startup Job Titles and Roles?

It takes a village to raise a startup — or at least a few dedicated individuals who can do a village’s worth of work. At a growing company, roles and duties can change quickly, and many startup employees end up wearing a lot of hats as they tackle the most important needs for the business at any given moment.

In “What Are Common Startup Job Titles and Roles?”, discover the key roles and skill sets that drive most startups, from web development, to data, to marketing, and beyond. Want to learn even more about what it takes to work at a startup? Download our expert guide.

A Guide to Startup Compensation

If you’re pursuing a job at a startup company, one of the most important factors you’ll need to consider is compensation, which is commonly structured differently than at more mature companies. This is largely dependent on the life stage of a company, which can greatly impact compensation, as well as work-life balance, risk, and upside.

Compensation at a startup company is largely made up of three components: salary, benefits, and equity. The value of each depends on the stage of a company’s growth, the role, and an employee’s previous experience. A good rule of thumb, though, is this: The earlier a stage the company is in, the lower the salary and benefits will be, but the higher the equity will be. As the company matures, the scales start to tip in the other direction.

In our guide to startup compensation, learn about the components of startup compensation, and get expert tips on how to negotiate your job offer. Want to learn more about what it takes to work at a startup? Download our expert guide.

Startup Funding 101

Tech startups often go through different life stages, and those stages greatly impact things like compensation, work-life balance, risk, and upside. It’s hard to know exactly what stage a company is in from the outside, but a great way to get an approximation is to look at the company’s fundraising history. Fundraising can feel like an entirely foreign language, but understanding it is essential as you pursue a career in startups.

Not all startups raise money from outside investors, but many do and they often follow a sequential order that looks something like 1) seed round, 2) Series A, 3) Series B, 4) Series C, and so on. While these funding rounds typically correspond with business milestones, they are not always an external indicator of success. Startup investors value high-risk opportunities and expect most of their portfolio to fail while one or two will be so successful that they make a nice return. Those successful startups are often called unicorns.

In “Startup Funding 101,” learn about the stages of startup funding, and get the details on the types of investors who fund startups. Want to learn all the ins and outs of landing a job at a startup? Download our expert guide.

Should I Work for a Startup Company?

Working for a startup company can be one of the most challenging, exhilarating, sometimes heartbreaking, and oftentimes fulfilling journeys of your life. But if you’re serious about dipping your toes into the world of startups, it’s important that you hear some real talk before you start sending out resumes.

In "Should I Work for a Startup?" learn the hard truths about startup life and decide if it’s a path you want to pursue — then find out how to land a job at one. For even more details about what it takes to work at a startup, download our expert guide.

6 Tips on How to Work for a Startup

Whether you’re a recent college graduate, someone with 10 years of executive-level experience, recently completed a career accelerator program, or are just making a jump from a more traditional work background, there is a pathway to a dream job at a startup for everyone. While there’s no foolproof method for landing a job, we’ve compiled six proven tips that can help you narrow your focus, get a leg up on the competition, and look like the most prepared person in the room.

In “6 Tips on How to Work for a Startup,” learn how to prepare for an interview, prepare your job-search thesis, and more. Want to discover all the ins and outs of working at a startup? Download our expert guide.