I get a lot of emails asking how to land a startup job as a non-technical person.
I want highlight one technique I call the “Proof Approach” that I’ve seen work time and time again.
When you have no prior startup experience, employers are taking a risk on you. They use your previous accomplishments and pedigree as a proxy to determine your capacity to be an effective team member.
If you created enough value at your last job to demonstrate everest potential, this might be enough to secure a gig. But many young people haven’t, and sometimes even major accomplishments aren’t enough to land a startup job. This is where the Proof Approach comes in…
The Proof Approach is taking the initiative to successfully perform an element of the job during the courting/interview process. In simpler terms, it means doing the job before you have it.
The best way to prove you have the capacity to be successful at something is to DO IT! Rocket science, I know.
To quote my friend Will Peng, ”if you’re already doing the job that you’re being hired for, [employers] will feel much less anxiety because they have de-risked that aspect of potential micromanagement.”
Some concrete examples of the Proof Approach:
If you applying for an entry level VC job:
- You could introduce the partners to a few interesting companies seeking funding that match their investment thesis.
- You could perform analysis on 3 companies that you suspect are fundraising.
If you are applying for an entry level Business Development job:
- You could introduce the existing business development lead to a company that they might want to partner with.
- You could identify every company that it’d make sense to partner with and the relevant decision maker at each one using LinkedIn.
If you’re applying for a Marketing job:
- You could write 2 blog posts accompanied by a promotional blueprint.
- You could do a website copy and conversion analysis of the entire site that hypothesizes out where optimizations could be made.
Picking up what I’m putting down yet?
Few strategies are more powerful than the Proof Approach to land startup jobs because you’re providing tangible evidence you can get the job done. Couple this with endorsements from people founders trust and you’ll put yourself shoulders above the competition.
I’m constantly having people reach out to me to learn how to break into BD so I’m creating an online course called “How to Get A Startup Business Development Job.” If you’re in this camp, I encourage you to sign up so that you can be notified when its ready.