Working at a tech startup can be fun! You’ll have the opportunity to build something from the ground up alongside passionate and talented peers. You also get to see how technology companies are built from the inside, gain insight into cross-functional departments, and be a part of something new. However, beyond all the perks and excitement, it’s important to remember that working at a tech startup is hard.
The recruiting experts at Syndicatebleu work with a lot of major players in the high-growth technology and SaaS industries. What have our recruiting experts learned? The tech industry is capturing the interest of valuable prospective candidates across different industries who hope to pivot from the corporate world into the innovative tech landscape. But how should you prepare for the shift? And how can you market yourself to big tech companies? If you want to work in the competitive tech market, here are some things you should know upfront.
What you should know about the competitive tech market & how to market yourself.
Salaries are going to be a bit lower.
Typically salaries are lower at earlier stage companies simply because they have less capital – but many tech companies make up for it with compensation packages that include equity or stock options. One of the draws to getting in with a technology company is the idea that equity/options will be worth a LOT if the company goes public with an IPO (initial public offering). If you’re new to the tech or startup world, every tech company’s goal is to become profitable or influential enough to either go public with an IPO or get bought out. Meaning, helping build a company from the ground up is not only personally rewarding, but it can be a significant investment for a candidate with stock options or equity down the line: high risk and high reward.
You may have to take a step back in your career trajectory.
You should be open to taking a step back in terms of career trajectory to get your foot in the door. If you don’t have specific tech industry experience, or direct experience in the type of role you’re applying for, then you should remain open to different types of roles. Most people move up within tech companies, so think of this as a short-term and strategic move. Once you get into the industry, you can work hard and prove yourself. A perk of working in tech: the trajectory of growth is much faster than other industries because companies grow and hire fast. Don’t get stuck on the job title; look at the career opportunity as a whole.
If you lack tech industry experience, learn to leverage other industry knowledge.
Transitioning from a non-tech field to the competitive tech industry can be difficult. Most technology companies target candidates with experience from a high-growth company with a similar product or sales cycle, such as SaaS (Software as a Service) or DTC (Direct to Consumer). The easiest way to make this transition is to look for a tech company that addresses a side of the market that you have experience in. For example, if you’re a Financial Analyst looking to get out of the finance industry and into a finance-based technology career opportunity, you should look at FinTech companies. Then, think about how your specific experience can translate and fine-tune your resume to reflect that. At the end of the day, tech companies are looking to hire someone who will add value and someone who is passionate about their mission and product. Having relevant industry knowledge will definitely help!
You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the tech industry.
Prior to interviewing with a tech company, it’s important that you research the competitive landscape. You should understand who the company’s competitors are and what your prospective employer is up against. Learn who their investors are and what other companies are in that investor’s portfolio. The tech world is surprisingly interconnected, and most Founders share advisors, sit on panels together, and run in the same circles. If you leave a good impression in your interview, they might refer you to one of their contacts (which happens all the time!) Even if you may not be the best fit for that particular company, it’s good to build a relationship.
It’s about who you know – meaning, network!
When you’re trying to improve your chances of landing a job in the tech industry, you might be thinking of investing money in online classes or certification courses. While having the technical skills required to do the job is essential, spending money on expensive certificates rarely helps. The candidates you are competing against will all have the same required proficiency, but you’ll be a step above the rest if you have spent time building relationships. Instead of wasting money on extraneous certifications, invest time into attending panels and networking. Oftentimes, the difference between getting in with a tech company or not is working with recruiters that have proven relationships with top tech companies, like Syndicatebleu.
It’s not a 9-5 job.
Jobs at a tech company are rarely (if ever) going to be 9-5. For most tech companies, the mentality is to grow fast or die, meaning the typical turnaround time on projects will be shorter than at a larger company. Coupled with this, the expectations placed on you will be high. The culture at many early-stage startups is to put long hours in now, anticipating the payoff for your hard work later. Candidates should mentally prepare themselves for this and make sure they’re at a place in their life where they can work beyond the typical workday to get things done. Many tech companies build more perks into their compensation packages to make it worth your while – things like endless snacks, well-designed and comfortable workspaces, and performance-based incentives.
Working at a tech startup has significant perks. You’ll learn how to build something from the ground up and work closely across departments – like product, marketing, and engineering. However, there is a natural amount of risk involved in working for a brand new company. It is a big commitment, and you should carefully weigh the pros and cons, but if you’re passionate about the company’s service or mission, it will all be worth it. If you’re interested in working in tech, browse Syndicatebleu’s job openings to get in touch with a recruiter today.