How to find startup jobs?

The Indian startup ecosystem is growing tremendously - just last year, the startups here raised over $42B! In my previous article, I explained how the different stages of startups operate and decide which one’s the best for basis your objective.

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Taking up a job requires a lot of convincing - primarily to yourself and sometimes to your family/friends. And even after, it doesn’t mean that the startup will be thriving a few years later. It’s still a game of probabilities, and with rigour into the job search process, you can improve your chances of hitting the right spot.

Over the years, I’ve spent weekends and evenings discussing with a lot of friends their job pipeline and which opportunity might make more sense than others for them. Today, I’ll be covering some of the basic steps that will help you get this up and running!

Step 1: Making a list of startups/opportunities that you want to pursue:

This list should ideally be basis three things: stage, sector and role that suits you best. For making a list, you could use data from the following sources:

Startup names:

  • Recent fundraising announcement on YourStory, Entrackr website.
  • Reports with a list of startups - e.g. Inc42 2021 report or this Entrackr report (caveat: they are not auto-updated).

Jobs:

  1. Linkedin: The social network is the most frequently visited platform for most knowledge workers and companies!

Short hack: Put the search term as “startup_role” (e.g. “startup product manager” or “startup generalist” or “startup analyst”) to get the most relevant results and weed out the large enterprises, IT companies and consultancies.

  1. Role-specialist portals: for non-tech jobs(IIMjobs), Tech jobs (Tophire.co, instahyre, cutshort.io), for product roles (TheProductFolks), etc.
  2. Investors job portals: - some investors have a dedicated website for posting openings in their portfolio companies - e.g. Accel has a portfolio job posting website here and here.
  3. Job postings in specific interest groups (product, design, FinTech, etc.). These groups would be on WhatsApp/telegram/slack. Ask some of your mentors; they should know about them!
  4. Angellist - Has some early-stage opportunities, but not too many from the Indian landscape.
  5. Leverage your network in the following three ways: (assuming you’ve already done this but still mentioning it just in case you missed it)
  • Check with any friends who might be active in the startup ecosystem
  • Talk to a VC and ask for opening in their portfolio companies
  • Drop a message in your college/company alumni group regarding the same - IITD has one on WhatsApp/telegram.

Pro-tip: Sometimes, a startup doesn’t have a suitable job opening or are not actively looking for specific jobs but can create one if they like you. Do a COLD reach-out to founders and leaders where you’re really keen on opportunities. If you build your case to showcase to them that you can be the best fit to solve one of the problems in their rising business model, it might be a good starting point and land you a dream job.!

There are a few more ways that some friends have tried, not always successful, though:

  1. Make yourself “open to job opportunities” on Linkedin and wait for recruiters to reach to you. It might work for you if you’re a top achiever with heavy brands behind you, but...
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  1. Startup Twitter - while you would see a few job vacancy tweets, it’s slightly biased towards companies whose founders/management are very active on Twitter. :) Here’s how a friend did it with good results.
  2. Check for exciting products on ProductHunt (can’t search for India specific or company-wise) - low results, but I’ve seen a few people have great conversations after reaching out through ProductHunt.
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I have a list of startups that I compiled recently to help some friends in their job search process. If you want access to this list, please fill in this form.

Step 2: Create a job-status tracker:

Create an excel/sheet with the following columns and fill it for the startups you’ve identified above:

  1. Company details - Name, Vertical, Scale (Funding/Valuation), Team Size
  2. Applying for - role_name, job_link
  3. Company Priority: Dream company, Good to interview - will decide as we proceed; good for interview practice
  4. Stage of the process (To Apply, Applied, Interviews going-on, Offered, Accepted, Rejected)
  5. Applied through - If referral, name. If online, then portal link.
  6. Date of application
  7. Comments

Pro-tip: Wherever possible, if you have a relevant person in the network, try to get a good referral done for the same role, even if it’s available to apply online. The quantum of applications on a typical job listing on LinkedIn or any other portal is too high, and a personalised referral is generally fast-tracked!

Sample list of things to track for while exploring jobs!

Sample format here (use it to make your own!).

Don't forget to like this article and share it with anyone who might be switching their job/planning to switch.

The next article will be on some of the best practices to interview for startups - subscribe to the newsletter if you’d like to know about that.

An exciting job opening:

Prodigal - An Accel & YC backed US-focused FinTech SaaS co. (series A) is looking for a Senior Product person. The role isn’t public yet, though. This is an opportunity to work directly with founders (IIT Bombay).

If you are excited about scaling an existing product🚀, but even more interestingly use that data to build a new product layer cake — please reach out at [email protected] explaining why you’d be a good fit for this role (please don’t just send your resume - it’s a bit spammy). Keep the subject “Application for Senior Product Role”.

(2+ years product experience necessary)

 

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