So, you want to work at a startup. You know how to handle interviews and you know what startup skills you need. You know your strengths and cannot wait to get started.
Three years ago, I was in the same position. After working in the corporate world of fashion at Louis Vuitton and Aritzia, I was dying to work at a startup. I was particularly energized by Wantering, an up-and-coming fashion tech company. So, I wrote a blog post on my personal fashion blog about why I thought Wantering was game-changing.
The founders were ‘alerted’ to my story via social media. The CEO and I ended up having a coffee date. Not soon after, I was the newest member of the Wantering marketing team. I have since been involved in a number of startup businesses, and I am currently working with Notey, a discovery platform that curates the world’s best blogs.
From my experience, startups strive to perfect their product and find the perfect product-market fit. When it comes to hiring, startup founders likewise continually strive to find that perfect employee-company fit. According to Wall Street Journal, it is common knowledge in the startup world that, “Culture in a company is set by your first 10 to 15 hires.” This may be surprising to hear but, what better way is there to show your would-be employers how awesome you are, than through a blog?
A blog is actual, tangible proof of your versatile talents and online prowess. A blog also demonstrates your passions, creativity, style, and your ability to think outside the box and, manage a brand, all at the same time. A blog also gives potential employers a window into the way you work, like how you process information and solve problems.
Before we begin, are you having trouble imagining yourself at a startup? While they do get a reputation for their 21-year-old “brogrammer” CEOs, that does not mean there is not a company, mission, and team that is a perfect match for your unique experience.
Are you worried you have to be super techie to get in on the startup craze? You would be surprised how far a little bit of tech skills can take you in an interview and on the job. If you are not a full-stack programmer, knowing some basics, like HTML, CSS, and blogging platforms like WordPress, can be the secret ingredient that puts you over the edge to getting hired. Blogging can be the perfect way to establish your expertise and prove your value.
Why Blogging is Good For You
If you are going to work for a startup, expect to juggle multiple responsibilities in the course of your career. Startups are usually fast-paced. You have to learn to be on-the-go, take on countless responsibilities, and efficiently switch between what might ‘normally’ be delegated between 5 people—all on a daily basis. Blogging can help prepare you for a work environment like that. Here are four reasons, why blogging will help you land a startup job:
- You Will Develop a Strong Personal Brand
According to Aspire For Success, “Personal branding is very powerful because it sends a clear, consistent message about who you are and what you have to offer.”
Individuals can have as much presence as a big brand or a growing startup. Blogging is one aspect in your ‘personal brand toolkit’ that will help your brand equity develop and thrive. It acts as an online ‘window’ into your personal self. This is explained in an article by Ryan Hoover of ProductHunt: “If you read my writing, you will know how I think. If you agree with my analysis and recommendations, you will trust my product decisions. If you disagree, then we shouldn’t work together anyway.”
Your blog will illustrate how unique you are, how you differentiate from others, and what you have to offer. Your blog sets you apart from the crowd in far more ways than a snazzy business card can.
- You Will Reach People and Get Noticed
In the competitive world of startups, you do not just need to reach out to others and broaden your network. It is strategic to become an “influencer” yourself. Through social media, this can be done by simply establishing a following in your area of expertise and/or interest.
A blog allows you to tangibly provide ‘proof’ of your authority. Not to mention, your social ‘proof’ will come in handy and garner you a little extra time, when it comes time to leverage your social mojo. This will help grow that startup when you are an employee.
- You Will Refine and Develop Your Skills
You will become an expert creator, a storyteller, communicator, and thinker. You will be able to critically analyze and leverage the ways, in which you developed your own brand and blog.
This is a great way to impress your interviewers, provide proof of your skills, and present how you will be able to bring those techniques to the table!
Blogging forces you to learn a certain level of technical skills. You may have to learn how to maneuver WordPress, learn HTML, and SEO basics. Proving to potential employers you have a solid foundation of skills like HTML, SEO, and social media is essential, if you want to work in the startup landscape.
99 percent of startups have or want a blog of their own, for marketing and branding purposes. If you have the full range of skills and experience to manage and grow a blog, you bring a wildly valuable marketing skill-set to the table.
- You Will Boost Your Confidence
Once you get your blog up and running and grow a bit of a following, your confidence will increase exponentially. You will become desensitized to communicating and publicizing your opinions. If you were reluctant to put yourself out there to begin with, blogging and owning your digital persona and thoughts will become your new status quo.
What Can I Even Blog About?
Starting a blog is a great move if you want to get hired at a startup, but what if you are not really sure what to write about?
Here are a few topics of interest to blog about if do not know how to get started:
- Your interests
Everyone like to talk about the things they love. These should primarily be related to the industry you are trying to break into, whether that is technology, fashion, or 3D printing. If you really want to make an impression, stand out as an expert. If you want to join a fashion startup, write about newsworthy brands like J. Crew versus Zara. Analyze industry issues like, the eco-friendly movement. Critique current practices you think need improvement. Gloria Chik, founder of the lifestyle blog, urbanebloc, did just that. After years of blogging about her interests—fashion and food—she was hired at Tunezy as their Director of Marketing, before they were acquired by SFX Entertainment.
- Your Opinions
Stay up-to-date on current events. Knowing what is going on in the world is always ideal, if you want to be a real contender for a job. Next, write about them. Include your own personal twist. If we wanted to read about facts and information searchable on Wikipedia, then we would go to Wikipedia. Opinions matter.
Are you dying to do front-end design work for an eCommerce startup? Share your thoughts on graphic design trends. Admire an up-and-coming company’s branding, or create tip sheets for others in your space. Do your research to check, if the founders or other employees at your desired startup have their own blogs. Comment on relevant posts and show, that you also have the brainpower to contribute thoughtful conversation.
- You in the Tech / Startup Space
For example, include stories on your favorite applications, product reviews, and inspirational founders.
Write a story on the actual startup you want to work at—like I did! Use their product, learn the company inside-out, and pen a post on why you love their latest features and why they are the next best thing.
Showing off your “tech space” prowess will demonstrate your experience in the field, as well as your passion for it. Your future-employers would be lucky to have someone so plugged in!
- Your Skills and Knowledge
Promote yourself and all the knowledge that you have! Look at what questions people are asking and answer them. Use those comment sections to your advantage!
If you are a social media star, what Twitter secrets can you share with others? If you are a copywriting connoisseur, what tips can you share on writing headlines? If you are a web designer, what sites have you designed? If you are a developer, what applications have you worked on?
- Your Other Interests
Show how fabulous and well-rounded you are, through your knowledge and interest in passions outside of “work.” Whether that is food photography, philanthropy, a personal project, or poetry—show off your talents! The New York Times interview with Cindi Leive, Editor-in-chief of Glamour Magazine said it best: “…you want to hire people who have something going on in their lives besides work.”
If you still get stuck, try the Hubspot Topic Generator to help you turn keywords into blog post topics, in a snap.
Even If you do not think you are a good writer, or you think you are not experienced enough to be considered an expert in your field, do not let it hold you back! Give yourself a shot, and allow the world to see through your eyes for a change.
If you really want to the job, blogging can give you the competitive advantage that makes you stand out.