Startup savvy: The 6 best tips for job seekers from Boston tech in 2017

by Justine Hofherr
December 29, 2017

There were some themes in the job-seeking advice we gathered from Boston tech companies over the course of 2017: Do your homework before an interview, always look for networking opportunities and don’t craft a generic Microsoft Word resume, were amongst the list of advice.

If this is the year you hope to break into the local tech scene, you might want to brush up on your interview and networking skills. Start here, with the six best pieces of job-seeking advice we heard in 2017.

The Toast recruiting team gives the inside scoop on crafting an interesting application.

“A candidate can make their application stand out by explaining and conveying their versatility. Many employees that work at a startup wear different hats and are involved in a variety of projects. Being able to talk about projects that you worked on and how they helped achieve a business need will help you to stand out to any startup employer. We also encourage candidates to wear business casual attire to their interview and express their personality through their clothing choices.”

 

Bruce Zambrowicz, senior director of global talent acquisition, shares how job seekers can stand out during the interview process.

“Do your homework on the company and see if you know anyone. This always helps set you apart and start the conversation. Be you. We want to get to know who you are. Make sure your resume is clear and concise. If you think it’s helpful, add a cover letter and let us know why you are interested in working with us and what excites you about the job.”

 

Talent acquisition partner Tommy Barth shares how to crush an interview at the fast-growing cybersecurity company.

“Do your homework. Be prepared to answer questions, including who their investors are, what the vision for the company is and why the leaders of the organization have made certain choices along the way. At a startup, you're effectively joining a family and you should be interested in more than just the job you're interviewing for, focus on how that role fits within the broader picture.”

 

Ryan Elberg, head of talent acquisition, explains how to prepare for an interview. Hint: It does not involve blindly sending out LinkedIn requests.

“In my opinion, blindly sending out a request on LinkedIn or equivalent is an exercise in futility. Thousands of invitations flood my inbox on a monthly basis and without any context, it's normally ignored or worse, relegated to the "I don't know this person" bucket. Instead, stand-out. Be positive, polite, and confident. If you have a resume, make it original – not some template given to you via boot camp or Microsoft Word. Job recruiters are very good at pattern recognition. Do your homework by preparing to speak thoughtfully about why you are a good fit. Do this by marrying the company's goals to real problems you have solved (or can solve).”

 

Stephanie Newby, CEO, said she networks “low-key” for 360 days per year.

“This piece of advice is for young graduates looking for their first job: Replying to hundreds of applications will not land you a job. Networking will. And your network is (a) your friends' parents and (b) your parents' friends. Ask people questions about what they do. If their response is interesting, keep asking more questions. What you learn will inform you: either move on to someone else or keep learning from the first person. Once they have spent some time answering your questions, they are likely to ask some questions about you. Wait patiently for that moment. If they don't ask any questions, you can secretly condemn them as a narcissist, and move on.”

 

Adrian Hall, HR operations associate, described the best way for job candidates to craft their resumes.

“The most important thing a candidate can do to make their application stand out is to line up the bullet points of their job responsibilities with the bullets listed in a job description. Show the startup that you can perform the job described based on your previous experience. If you don’t have previous experience that matches the job you apply for, then show us that you have the motivation to learn.”

 

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