Applying for a jobLooking to get into the startup world? Get your first grown up job or maybe just looking to move onto bigger and better things in a new job? No matter the goal, writing a great CV and cover letter is key to securing that next job Those aren’t hard rules, but following […]
Applying for a job Looking to get into the startup world? Get your first grown up job or maybe just looking to move onto bigger and better things in a new job? No matter the goal, writing a great CV and cover letter is key to securing that next job
Those aren’t hard rules, but following these guidelines is a good start.
Read the advertisement I know this sounds obvious, but a surprising amount of people don’t read the job ads they are applying for. That results in not providing enough information to the employer or applying for something you are wildly underqualified for.
Aside from understanding the job you are applying for,
reading the ad properly makes tailoring your CV/cover letter so much easier.
Startups for example might need their front-end developer to do something more
than just programming. If you only want to do programming that job might not be
Create an easy to read CV Keep it clean, keep it simple. Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager that might have to go through 100+ CV’s that day, make finding the key information easy. This is especially important if you are applying at a startup that might have limited manpower to go through your application.
Try to focus on your strengths that are relevant to the job,
if you are applying for a back-end developer role, your summer job at a grocery
store is unlikely to help. It might however help if you are looking for a
customer facing job.
Quality > Quantity, a hiring manager would rather receive
one-page CV filled with quality than a three page one with irrelevant
information. Keep that in mind and focus on information that supports your
Cover Letter The easiest way to start is by creating a generic cover letter with some background information and the hard/soft skills that apply to any job outlined. You can then use that base to create a tailored cover letter for each job you apply for.
Use the cover letter to explain how and why you are the
right person, the job ad will be asking for certain skills and attributes. You
need to show that you have what they are looking for and provide support for
Avoid using generic keywords like hard worker, multitasker
and great team player if you can’t provide any examples to support it.
And never lie.
Follow up Sending a short follow up message one or two weeks after sending in the application reinforces your interest in the job.
You have finished university and it’s time to find your first job. We’re now usually encouraged to apply to a graduate scheme, usually within a big company where competition is incredibly high. If you’re lucky enough to get into a graduate program, it can be a great experience and a strong start to your career. […]
What I Learned Working At A Small Company – A Graduate story
You have finished university and it’s time to find your first job. We’re now usually encouraged to apply to a graduate scheme, usually within a big company where competition is incredibly high. If you’re lucky enough to get into a graduate program, it can be a great experience and a strong start to your career. But, I’d argue that working at a small company, where you get real responsibility from day one, will teach you more and actually be a better start to your career.
Work In Startups being my first job out of university has been a great experience and I have learned a LOT. The learning has both been through the more traditional route of more experienced people teaching me, and through trial and error.
From day one, I’ve had responsibilities and been encouraged to figure out how to do certain elements of the job myself. Of course, there has been plenty of guidance but less of a rigid structure to what you’d expect to have in a corporate company. When you’re encouraged to think about how to do certain parts of the job and give it a shot, like being thrown in the (almost) deep end, you learn and pick things up so much faster!
At a smaller company, you are a bigger factor in the day-to-day running of the business, this does increase the pressure on you, but also gives you a voice. As soon as I had settled in, I had a say in how things were done and was involved in decision-making that related to my part of the business. I was always encouraged to share my ideas – this was even part of my goals – which opened me up to many different roles, not just tying me down to the exact job description. The best part about this was if my idea was good enough, we implemented it and I got to see the outcome – pretty cool huh?
Employed as a Marketing Assistant in a large company within their grad scheme, then marketing and most probably, only marketing, is what you’ll do. This might be great and you might love it! But leaving uni, a lot of us have no clue what we will actually love or be good at. In a startup or small business, you get to wear all the hats. In my role as a Business Development intern, I was lucky enough to not be limited to sales.
My sales part of the role involved being the first contact to finalizing the sale and customer aftercare, making sure they are happy with the service. On top of that, I maintained the social media channels and created content such as blogs, interviews and newsletters. I was able to learn and be involved in product development, working closely with our developer looking for ways to improve our product as well as our internal processes to make things both faster and more efficient. I created and maintained our CRM system, giving us better oversight over our customers.
I was in constant communication with our customers both through our email and over the phone, helping them with writing ads and what to include to find the best applicants. Digging through our Google Analytics to understand where our users are coming from and where we need to put in more effort to get users from. And, most recently I’ve been doing some graphic design to improve our social media presence.
All this experience has really allowed me to understand what I enjoy doing the most and what I’m the best at doing! I’ve now successfully completed my internship and I’m leaving with a wide range of skills which has helped me decide which direction I want to take my career.
Well done on getting an interview! Now comes the difficult part that is, impressing your interviewer. You’ll have to prepare to sell yourself, with the keyword here being prepare. If you’re reading this blog, you’re definitely on the right track! Here are some helpful pointers to get you as close as possible to being successful […]
Well done on getting an interview! Now comes the difficult part that is, impressing your interviewer. You’ll have to prepare to sell yourself, with the keyword here being prepare. If you’re reading this blog, you’re definitely on the right track! Here are some helpful pointers to get you as close as possible to being successful in your upcoming interview
Be early, be proper: Once the world opens up again and you might have an interview in person, make sure you are there early. Know the way to their office and show up dressed according to their dress code.
Onto the interview itself, be honest, starting a relationship with a lie is just going to bite you in the ass in the long run.
Do your research on the job: Read through the job description thoroughly, it is important to make sure that nothing from the job description will surprise you during the interview. You will also want to go through their requirements and be ready to explain how you meet them and how you would be able to contribute towards the company’s goals.
Know the company: In addition to reading the JD, you should do your own research on the company and its products. Learn about their market, who are their competitors and what kind of service/product are they selling. You don’t want to stutter when they ask you questions regarding the company – the more you know, the more passionate you’ll seem.
Prepare answers: There are certain questions that frequently come up during interviews. It can be a good idea to look up the most commonly asked questions and have an answer for them. Getting one of these questions without being prepared for it and stuttering your way through a sub-par answer is not a good look.
The classics are for example;
Tell me about yourself
Why do you want to work here?
Tell me about a time when you… (read up on the STAR method for this one)
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
The last one is a bit tricky, as when asked about your weaknesses you don’t want to overshare with your potential employer. While at the same time you don’t want to claim you are flawless. Going with something that’s already obvious on your resume is a safe bet, “I lack experience in X” for example.
Ask questions: Look at the interview as a two-sided affair, you should be asking them questions during it just as they are asking you questions. You will want to learn as much about the company and the job as possible and parts of that information might not be in the description. At the end of the interview, they will ask if you have any questions, at that point, I would recommend you to have some questions already written down to ask them. Being an active participant in the interview makes you look more interested and shows that you put in time and effort to prepare.
Have your CV in front of you, in case you get asked about points on it to make it easier to answer.
Relax: Lastly and I know this might sound impossible, try and relax, being overly nervous is not getting you anywhere. The interviewers are people too and have been on your side of the table. Being interviewed is a skill, and every interview you don’t succeed at will make you better at it.
Startup equity Whether you’re joining an early-stage startup, with seed funding or a startup that’s already raised big chunks of venture capital, it’s important to know the (at the very least) basics of equity. Most startups will offer equity as part of the compensation package, coming in the form of stock options that allow you […]
An Intro Into Startup Equity: 5 Things To Consider
Whether you’re joining an early-stage startup, with seed funding or a startup that’s already raised big chunks of venture capital, it’s important to know the (at the very least) basics of equity. Most startups will offer equity as part of the compensation package, coming in the form of stock options that allow you to buy shares at a prearranged price in the future.
1. Majority of startups never reach the market
You must keep in mind that a startups chances of succeeding are low, even if the idea/product is great there are often external factors at play that cause the failure. If a startup goes bankrupt whatever equity you had becomes worth nothing.
Do your own research into the company, every kid sounds perfect when described by their parent. Look into the company and its product, do you think this is something that can be successful.
2. Understand what equity is and how it works.
Option: You will be given the option to purchase the shares at a certain price that won’t change.
Vested: You will be given the share but will have to work for X amount of time to unlock the rights to it.
3. Ask questions.
Unless you are applying for a very high-up role, chances are you won’t be able to negotiate for anything other than the number of shares. Even so, you should be asking questions such as.
What is the value now?
Is there an exit strategy?
What is the timeframe?
Do they have a value estimation when the exit happens?
How much of the company do you own with your shares?
Can you sell your shares, and what is the process if you leave?
4. With the previous points in mind and it’s time to negotiate, remember that your salary is what you are living off right now. A potentially large pay-out in 5 years will not pay your rent today. Make sure you are not giving up a large amount of salary for a maybe payment later down the road.
You do not have to tell them what you are currently making or what you made in your previous role. Instead, ask them what range they have in mind for the role.
Research, research, and research. Know what the going rate is for your skillset, what could you be making elsewhere. Ideally, you’ll be in discussions with other companies as well and can give them an indication of what you could get there.
Come in with a plan, have a minimum salary and salary/equity value in mind before you sit down at the negotiation table. It makes it easier to draw the line during the talks. Know what is more important to you.
Remember that you are there for a reason if you’ve got far enough to be discussing equity, they value your skillset. Keep that in mind when negotiating and understand you are there to bring value to the company and should be compensated accordingly.
Here at Work In Startups, we’re on a mission to champion the best and most exciting startups in the UK. To support this, we’re starting a new blog series highlighting some of the most innovative and fast-growing startups around. Follow us as we interview startup founders and employees across the country and find out more […]
Here at Work In Startups, we’re on a mission to champion the best and most exciting startups in the UK. To support this, we’re starting a new blog series highlighting some of the most innovative and fast-growing startups around. Follow us as we interview startup founders and employees across the country and find out more about their goals and ambitions, what the future holds and (for all you startup jobseekers out there looking for the inside scoop) what they look for in a prospective employee.
This week we talked to Rikke and Pippa from Borrow My Doggy a fantastic service uniting people without dogs with people that have dogs and need help. They have made life much more bearable during lockdown for so many people.
Tell us about BorrowMyDoggy!
BorrowMyDoggy is an online community that connects dog owners with local, trusted do borrowers who are happy to help take care of a pooch for walks, weekends and holidays.
We operate across the UK and Ireland
with thousands of new members joining every week. When an owner shares their
dog with a local borrower, it’s a win-win (or woof-woof) situation for
● Owners have peace of mind that their
dog is well taken care of by a trusted borrower
● Borrowers get to enjoy happy doggy
time, which they otherwise wouldn’t have
● Dogs enjoy extra exercise, spend less
time alone and most importantly receive more love and affection.
How did it all start and what are your goals?
I came up with the idea for BorrowMyDoggy in 2012 when I was looking after my neighbour’s beautiful chocolate Labrador for the day. While enjoying my day with Aston, I thought “there should be a website where dog owners can have their dogs taken care of by people who absolutely adore dogs and miss having a dog in their life.”
All owners need to be away from their
pooches sometimes, and there’s often no need to pay for a dog walker when there
are lots of people, just like me, who adore dogs but unfortunately can’t have
them (due to work, travel etc.), who would love to take care of a dog for free.
In addition to this, it would allow owners and doggies to get to know more
people locally and spread lots of happiness.
Our aim is to leave ‘Pawprints of
Happiness’ on the lives of dogs and people by building local communities where
dog-lovers give a helping hand taking care of local pooches, simply because
they love dogs.
What are your values as an ambitious startup?
Our values are focused around being
fun, happy, caring and thankful. Our community is at the centre of everything
we do at BorrowMyDoggy. We wouldn’t exist without our lovely members and it’s
thanks to their feedback, requests and recommendations that the site has
evolved in the way it has.
With your current knowledge and what you’ve learnt
so far, is there any advice would you give yourself back when you were just
You have to be passionate about what
you do and believe in the difference that you can make. As an entrepreneur
setting up a brand new business, there is so much to learn so just embrace the
fact that there will be lots of things that you don’t know and be open to
asking questions. Also, always listen to your customers and only develop
something that they will love to use. Finally, take an active part in the
startup community, which is incredibly inspiring, and always help others
whenever you can.
What is next for BorrowMyDoggy and what are the
goals for 2021?
At the moment we are focusing on making
BorrowMyDoggy the best it can be for our existing members in the UK and Ireland.
Last year we saw the launch of a new app, which we continue to work our tails
off on in 2021. We would love to help make a positive difference to as many
dogs’ and people’s lives as possible.
The pandemic has obviously affected a lot of
startups both in positive and negative ways, how have you guys dealt with it?
We have been truly ast-hound-ed (as we
like to say) by how the BorrowMyDoggy community has pulled together during the
pandemic. In the height of the pandemic in 2020 we made the decision to
recommend borrowers and owners stop meeting to help reduce the spread of the
virus. However we still saw wonderful acts of kindness from our members – from
fetching groceries and medication for one another, and borrowers walking dogs
for owners that were shielding or vulnerable, to borrowers temporarily rehoming
dogs for owners too.
Here’s most wonderful feedback we received from a BorrowMyDoggy owner
“I want to publicly thank my wonderful dog borrower María who has gone way beyond taking Purdey for her exercise while I’m in complete isolation and brought supplies and prescriptions not because I’ve asked but because she has offered unsolicited. There is some connection between dog/animal lovers and generosity of spirit. BorrowMyDoggy has brought such a caring group of people together with its organisation. Thank you.”
As the nation still faces the COVID pandemic we are still advising our community to be responsible and follow their local government guidelines, to ensure that everyone stays safe and minimises the spread of the virus.
We at Work In Startups believe that everyone should get paid for their work, regardless of age, experience, or any other factor. As more and more people get university degrees, the competition for entry-level jobs becomes tougher. Everyone is looking for something that puts them ahead of their competition, and the biggest advantage is having […]
We at Work In Startups believe that everyone should get paid for their work, regardless of age, experience, or any other factor.
As more and more people get university degrees, the competition for entry-level jobs becomes tougher. Everyone is looking for something that puts them ahead of their competition, and the biggest advantage is having experience. Getting said experience can be difficult though, as companies will naturally select the person with more experience. Creating a weird paradox of needing the experience to get experience, but you can’t get experience because you have no experience.
This desperate need for experience by fresh graduates is something companies have started to take advantage of. Offering unpaid internships because the employee gets valuable experience. Unpaid internships that are more than just shadowing or part of the intern’s studies, qualify the intern as a worker and must be paid at least minimum wage.
Experience is invaluable for people new to the job market, but unfortunately, it doesn’t pay anyone’s rent. It’s not right to expect someone to either live with their parents or hold down a second job next to your full-time job. This will also automatically exclude a large portion of the population as only a small demographic is in a position to complete an unpaid internship. And lastly how much effort can you expect from someone that isn’t getting paid?
If your company is in a place where you can’t afford to pay anyone a salary, maybe you shouldn’t be hiring just yet. There is no shame in taking it slow and building strong foundations before you start hiring people. Taking on an intern will require both time and effort from your side on teaching and guiding them through everything they need to learn.
However, there is a way that benefits both the startup and intern. The 16-24 age group has historically been the one struggling the most with unemployment, the pandemic hasn’t done them any favors in that aspect. The government is looking to fight that via their Kickstart Scheme. Adzuna’s co-founder Andrew Hunter wrote an article explaining the scheme and how it has changed since its first iteration.
If you have the skills, knowledge, and time required to properly train someone, this is a great way for a startup to get extra hands-on board without incurring extra costs.
While some people might be loving life in lockdown there are more that are finding it increasingly hard to get by. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, which is why its important to keep our spirits high. The following are some general tips that have helped us get through […]
Lockdown Stealing Your Motivation? How To Get Back In The Game!
While some people might be loving life in lockdown there are more that are finding it increasingly hard to get by. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, which is why its important to keep our spirits high. The following are some general tips that have helped us get through this time.
Fresh air and exercise
There are so many ways we can keep active during this time, from running, downloading one of the many latest fitness apps and joining a class suitable for you, vigorous cleaning or even just setting the intention to complete 10,000 steps a day if nothing else. By doing so, we unleash a magnitude of benefits from increased productivity, improved memory, more energy and more access to dopamine and serotonin – and who doesn’t want to release more happy hormones!
Want to improve your well-being, productivity and boost your performance? Remembering to take breaks might just do that. Back at the office, those quick breaks would happen naturally. Quick chats with colleagues at the watercooler, in the hallway between meetings or grabbing a coffee. It might not feel quite the same in our home offices, but working flat out isn’t sustainable and may send you into a physical and emotional burnout. Try to not let your breaks involve aimlessly scrolling on your phone but rather eat lunch away from your laptop, practice some self-care by doing some mindfulness meditation, prep your dinner or do some washing!
Stay social & keep in touch
Not being able to leave the house to meet friends and co-workers can have serious effects on your mental state. Meeting up frequently with your co-workers digitally is great for multiple reasons, you get the social aspect of those quick chats. In addition, it’s a lot faster and more effective than messaging back and forth. We at Work In Startups meet up twice a week, on Mondays we discuss what is happening during the week and on Fridays what we achieved that week and in between we have a couple short informal coffee chats. Top tip: Don’t be hiding, turn on your camera! Actually seeing the person you are talking to has a huge effect, a large part of our communication is nonverbal so the camera is important.
Remember to disconnect at the end of your working day!
Now we’re not experts, but if you follow the points above, your productivity and motivation levels should improve. Therefore, when it’s the end of your working day, you can happily log off and switch off! This is possibly the most important point of this entire post! It’s so easy to either work longer or keep logging on to check your emails or some other information you have been waiting on. This leads to you never properly disconnecting and getting the rest you need. Burnout is a real threat in most industries, so when you log off make sure you are off. This can be by not going into your office space during non-office hours, or just putting your laptop out of sight and turning off notifications.
Do Nation is our third subject in our new sustainability series where we will be talking to startups focused on a greener future. We asked Hermione Taylor who co-founded the company with Martin Warne some questions. Tell us about Do Nation! How did it all start and what are your goals? Well, Do Nation is […]
Do Nationis our third subject in our new sustainability series where we will be talking to startups focused on a greener future. We asked Hermione Taylor who co-founded the company with Martin Warne some questions.
Tell us about Do Nation! How did it all start and what are your goals?
Well, Do Nation is here to help people form healthy, environmentally
friendly habits. We do this through an online platform where anyone can either
make a pledge or run a campaign to raise pledges – pledges to do things like
cycling to work, wasting less food, or avoiding unsustainable palm oil.
It all started way back in 2009 when I was writing a Masters thesis on
the role of pledging on driving environmental behaviour change. Quite niche.
At the same time, I was planning a big cycle ride from London to Morocco, and decided that rather than asking friends to sponsor us by donating cash to an environmental charity, it’d be way more impactful to ask them to pledge to take action instead.
And so Do Nation was born.
For several years, we focused on offering a platform that anyone could
use to raise support for their own challenges or events, asking their friends
to ‘donate by doing’. However, we soon learned that we could have far greater
impact (and earn some much needed income!) through working with businesses –
opening up our platform for them to use with their employees, helping them to
actively engage employees in sustainability and climate action.
It’s been a total roller coaster of a journey, but after years of
banging loudly on closed doors we’re finally finding the world has woken up to
the importance of climate action and the game has totally changed.
We’re now working on a bold new project looking to encourage 1 billion people to take climate action by 2030. Yep, you read that right. One billion.
How are you engaging your employees in your sustainability efforts?
Ha, great question!
Our bread and butter is helping other
companies to engage their employees in sustainability – from innocent drinks to
Siemens Plc; HelloFresh to Automattic. That’s what we’re known for.
But this question has made me realise that
as our team grows, we should do more to make sure our own employees are leading
the way in their own lives! Noted.
Having said that, we do have several pioneering policies in place – we were one of the first to sign up to Climate Perks, whereby we earn an extra day’s annual leave by picking slow travel options over flying (when travel is allowed again…), and we have a very environmentally focused office stewardship policy.
Do you set any goals for improvement and aid to make yourself more sustainable?
Yep – we set an ambitious target last year to reduce our own team’s carbon emissions to 1 tonne of CO2 for every 1,000 tonnes CO2 that we help our users to save.
AKANet Zero x 1000.
We’ll achieve that in two main ways: firstly, by reducing the carbon footprint of our website (i.e. making it far more user friendly, and shifting to carbon neutral servers); and secondly by vastly increasing our user numbers.
What tips could you give other startup businesses to promote sustainability and have sustainability at their forefront?
It may not seem like a top priority
when you have 101 other things to be doing, all at 100 mph, as any start-up
does. However, getting environmental policies and processes set up right when
you’re small is far easier than leaving it until you’ve grown and systems and
cultures are embedded.
You’ll likely have employees who are passionate about sustainability – let them put that passion to good use, give them responsibility for setting up a green team or leading your Net Zero Taskforce. There are lots of great guides out there to help them along, this list from the B Corp Climate Collective is particularly handy.
What have been your biggest challenges that have come exclusively from starting a green business?
For years, the challenge was simple: earning income. There was no
shortage of people and businesses wanting to promote climate action and support
our work – they just didn’t want to put any budget towards it.
Thankfully Martin and I were stubborn and optimistic though, and we found ways to bootstrap and muddle through. And now the economics of climate action have shifted heavily, and now the challenge is quite the opposite: keeping up with demand! Hence why we’re recruiting…
The pandemic has obviously affected a lot of startups both in positive and negative ways, how have you guys dealt with it?
We’ve been a fully remote team for
years. When the pandemic hit, we were a team of four working remotely from
Scotland, England, France, and Austria. That, combined with having a purely
digital product, meant that we escaped lightly.
However, our service isn’t exactly
business critical, and so we soon felt the squeeze thanks to clients deciding
to ‘wait out the uncertainty’. But after a few months it came clear that that waiting
wasn’t an option, the interest began to boom again.
For all the s**t it’s created, one good
thing the pandemic has done is its woken people up to the importance of
listening to science. And as a result, more people are taking action to avert a
true climate crisis than ever before, with stronger resolve and determination
than I’ve ever seen.
Having been battling this ground for
over 10 years, building up a strong reputation in the sustainable business
world, we were in a great position to grasp this market opportunity. Our team
has grown by 300% in the last 6 months, and expect to double in size again over
the coming 6 months.
It’s been exhausting, but you won’t catch me complaining…