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In today’s business environment, there is a growing trend and desire, particularly among Millennials, to work for startup companies.

Whether this is because they get more responsibility, receive great perks, or just because they have an entrepreneurial spirit, many people feel that working for a startup is an attractive option as opposed to the traditional corporate path.

For those who have a desire to work for a startup, but don’t know where to start, no fear.

Everyone in the startup industry has been there, including my employees! Lucky for you, a few members of my team outlined how they secured a position at their first startup company, and I am excited to share them with you.

Nikitha Lokareddy: The Recent Graduate

Nikitha is my most recent hire. Our professional relationship started in her last semester of college with a simple LinkedIn message. I reached out to her because her profile strongly indicated that she had a passion for digital marketing and graduated at the top of her class.

It may sound like I did all the work and just presented the opportunity to her, but that is far from the truth. Her case shows the importance of discovering your brand and ensuring that it is communicated across all platforms, whether that be LinkedIn, Instagram, a personal website, etc.

Take the time to fully develop your accounts with a unique bio/header, skills, and endorsements, and writing samples if applicable to your position.

The more information you provide, the easier it becomes for employers to seek you out!

On the flip side, once you take the time to develop your profile thoroughly, reach out to people and expand your network. Don’t be afraid to add people you don’t know, but ensure you are customizing your invitation, so they understand why you are reaching out to them.

Nikitha’s piece of advice is, ”It is 100% possible to get a job via social recruiting! So take it seriously and make sure you are not uploading anything online that you wouldn’t want your future boss to see.”

Eric Mullenaux: The Risk Taker

Eric is always taking the initiative in the office, which isn’t surprising considering how he broke into the startup culture!

He very carefully researched where he wanted to be and didn’t let anything hold him back. In hopes of merely starting a conversation with someone in the company, he began to apply for jobs even if he wasn’t qualified for them. Eric figured that if he could get one meeting or interview, it might give him the opportunity to click with the recruiter.

After many ingenious application methods, one including delivering doughnuts with his resume taped on the inside of the box, he scored an interview. Although he wasn’t qualified for the position he applied for, the recruiter loved him!

Two days after his meeting, someone holding another position quit, and Eric was their first call. His story is evidence that sometimes you have to make your opportunities.

His piece of advice for those trying to break into a startup company is, “Treat it like a bet. Imagine someone would give you a million dollars if you could get an offer by the end of the week, and do whatever it takes to win!”

Saundra Wilson: Thinking Out of the Box

Saundra’s story is unique! She was a broadcast journalism major, but she wanted to explore career possibilities outside traditional news anchor positions.

She set up an informational interview with one of my employees who came from a similar educational background, not knowing that our company was looking for new talent. Somehow a casual cup of coffee with an old friend turned into, as Saundra calls it, “A very casual interview!”

Saundra’s journey to Markitors, in my opinion, shows the importance of not being bound by your resume. According to research, only 27% of college graduates are working in a job that relates to their college major. So the moral of the story is: don’t be scared to hunt for jobs outside your skill level. If you love the company, don’t let anything hold you back from applying.

Saundra’s nugget of wisdom: “Startups are the perfect place to learn skills you never had the opportunity to in school. Don’t let the fear of not knowing enough hold you back, and convince them that you are willing to learn.”

Grecia Olachea: The Research Queen

Grecia was one of my most enjoyable interviews! She came into the room with an excellent understanding of the company and our culture. Most of all, she truly embodied what I look for in an employee.

I know now that she knocked that interview out of the park because of a straightforward action she took: research.

Grecia spent significant time going through our company website, social media platforms, and the articles I had written for Forbes. This gave her an understanding of how formal she had to be during the meeting. Additionally, it helped her come prepared with a few great questions for me as well. These in conjunction with her upbeat personality helped her land the job in my eyes.

Grecia’s advice for job seekers: “You have to check their social handles to get a sense of a startup company’s culture. Traditional platforms like Glassdoor aren’t beneficial because normally there isn’t enough information.”

A common theme amongst all my employees is that opportunities come to those who work hard for it. It may sound cliche, but startup companies look for individuals that are going to put in hard work.

That kind of effort is necessary for their company to grow. Whether that means you ensure you are a LinkedIn All-Star, sending your resume in doughnut boxes, or are actively looking for an opportunity, you need to prove that you have what it takes to be successful in the fast-paced world of startup culture.


Written By
Brett Farmiloe is the CEO of a digital marketing company Markitors and advisor to an Organizational Leadership Degrees. He is also a backyard chicken farmer who frequently contributes content to Forbes and Huffington Post.

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