It’s common knowledge that the technology sector is booming, almost globally. Tech companies continue to grow and create value at a pace previously unheard of.
Today, 5 of the 10 most valuable public companies (by market cap) are from the tech sector (via Globevestor). One would expect this to get even more skewed in favor of tech over next few years. In 2016, while the tech sector in US employed only 4% of the total workforce, it created 10% of all new jobs (Source).
So if you’re a recent graduate or looking to switch jobs, I’d implore you to seriously explore getting into tech right now. I don’t mean start learning to code, but take up a role that suits your skills, whether it’s sales, marketing, operations or other, within the sector. With most jobs in future expected to be touched by technology in small-to-big ways, it’ll be a more future-proof decision.
Now, while jobs in tech are being added, the competition to land those jobs is also on the rise. I assume the more established ways to find a new job are pretty well known to everyone (e.g. direct referrals, placement consultants, job boards, online applications, etc.). LinkedIn of course is a must-use tool. If you’re a little aware about tech startups, you might also know that Angellist and startup hackathons are good places to get hired in tech as well.
However, in addition to the above, here’s a list of four slightly lesser-known ways to get hired in tech startups:
1. Get referred to VCs (and other early-stage investors)
I’m surprised that not enough people seem to know this. One of the primary value-adds brought by VCs to portfolio companies is to bring in the right talent, especially at senior levels. Some large VC firms have in-house or dedicated recruiters who work with their portfolio. VCs help interview and screen candidates too. With Globevestor now having a fair-sized portfolio, we get a good amount of pings for introductions as well.
If you’re someone with 10+ years of experience, then this is a path you should definitely explore. Openings for the kind of jobs you would look for in small-mid sized startups (VP/CXO) are often not well-publicized too. So get referred to a Partner/ Principal at a VC firm. Even if you’re relatively junior in your career, you should try and connect with associates at those firms.
Having said that, let me warn you that investors are hard to catch even for founders. There is usually a lot of incoming deal flow, travel and portfolio chaos to manage — inbox zero is a pipe dream for an investor. But you should give it a shot with a quality referral. The advantage is that, if you’re able to catch hold of an investor & they like you, it opens up several doors at once – multiple portfolio companies, outside network, and just friendly advice as well.
2. Connect with early-stage ‘Recruitment Tech’ founders
Traditional placement consulting firms are a natural port of call for any candidate. But there are new tech startups being founded to make hiring more efficient for companies – this space is usually termed as ‘Recruitment Tech’. But because these themselves are tech startups, they end up having a deeper network within startup ecosystem than traditional placement agencies. Usually, the first business a recruitment tech startup gets is from other startups.
For sure, find such companies, download their product and check them out. But if the company is in early-stage, it might be useful to try & connect with its founders as well, as they’d be in hustle mode and might have early knowledge of roles suited for you. They’ll also be able to give you direct feedback on your profile.
One such very recent launch I’ve seen is of Offrd. Other more established ones include Belong, Hiree, Evenrank, etc. (Would love suggestions on any others to add).
3. Hang around startup beehives (co-working spaces, events, conferences)
This is a little more of a hustle strategy, if you’ve got the will/time for it. It involves being at the same places where one finds early-to-mid stage startups.
Usually, co-working spaces (like Instaoffice, Investopad, WeWork, etc.) are more structured environments that have a high concentration of tech companies. If you have friends located there (or if you get to know the operators), try working out of those locations on a couple of weekend passes and get introduced to a few founders. At best you’ll find a role, and at worst you’ll be more clued in into the tech scene. Some of them may even have structured job boards/ newsletters for all the companies located in-house.
You could also hang around at startup events & conferences for the same, but you’ll come across a mix of motivations – some firms might be there to find investors, some to find customers, and few for hiring. Anyway, I believe a lot in luck. And by being in the right places, one gives serendipity a better chance.
4. Take a proper course!
If you’re really serious about a specific type of role in a tech firm, but lack the skills, you should consider the new-age online schools that offer short-term workshops to get you right-skilled. These schools go much further over usual online courses, as they involve mentoring, handholding & certification to prepare you for the eventual job. After taking a workshop, you might get much better response rate and increase your skills & chances to get hired.
One of our portfolio companies, Springboard, focuses on Data Science and UX Design careers. On one of their new programs (career tracks), they’re even offering placement guarantees!
There are a few others that focus on other skills for the tech sector. But if you’re decided to get into tech, it will go a long way to polish your skills upfront.
As a parting thought, a high share of jobs, as we know them today, might be automated in the future. New types of jobs will be created. Being in tech might just prepare you better for that future. So get in the boat. Now.