Would you like your job to be a diverse and exciting experience as well as increasing your chances for fast career growth? Consider applying for a job at a small or a start-up company!

According to SBA “Small Business Profiles for the States and territories,” February 2015 (UK has similar statistics), 92 per cent of all employers do not employ more than 20 people . At first glance, you might assume applying for a job in such a company might be more relaxing and easier to do, hence you are more likely to get it.

Not so, as it’s always a challenge to get a job in a good company. The hiring process might look similar to jobs with big companies, like sending a CV and passing an interview, yet applying to a small company or startup has several hidden differences that really matter.

Show your abilities and potential

Show you possess the relevant competences for the specific job, though not all of them are obligatory. For a variety of jobs some competences can only be learned as you grow and develop working in the company. You might lack some skills, but will be considered for an interview if you are able to show and prove you are a good and quick learner. When I select a person for a job I want to see (in the CV and at interview) that the applicant is:

  • a good professional with an authentic interest in the chosen field (if this is true, and even if you don’t have a relevant job experience, it is possible to highlight it through various activities you had previously); and
  • a person, who is motivated to learn and develop to make my company better because he/she loves it (brand, what we are doing, or people, who work here), as well as understands and shares the company’s values. They want to make a difference.

Build your network

Another obvious-truth-reminder is that you will have a much better chance to be considered for the position (especially in a small-size company) if you know a Director personally, or at least someone in this company, who can recommend you.

NetworkTo obtain more professional contacts visit more networking events and conferences – speak to people and start building your own professional network. It is a process that can take years, so start doing it as soon as possible – it will increase your future chances dramatically! Sometimes it is enough to have the right people from friends on Facebook or LinkedIn.

When I consider for a job vacancy someone I know in advance, and they meet the criteria, then he/she automatically passes the CV stage and will be invited for an interview. Among applicants who I knew previously, 82 per cent were successful in their job applications. Most of them were not my close friends, but people with whom I was on international workshops, courses, met through some other activities or who were recommended by such friends. Build your own network – it really pays off.

Be proactive

A startup’s organisation in the early stages is usually one huge mess. Once you get the job, helping to sort things out will gain you credit. You have to be flexible enough to adapt to it and be able to do your own job at the same time.

Build your professional reputation and status in a company through showing and proving your initiative, attitude and skills. From my experience of managing people, I understand, appreciate and remember the high value of every single initiative. Besides the usual tasks people from my team do, they constantly interact with me by calling, texting, sharing new ideas, volunteering to do new tasks, which they feel confident about and I give them a space for it.Action

A proactive approach to the job you are doing is incredibly important, because behind these actions the employer sees your excellent attitude, motivation and reliability.

Getting yourself a good job with a small or startup company involves standing out from the crowd. Once you catch the attention of the employer, prove yourself a professional with passion for what you are doing. Good startups usually have sky-high ambitions. Take the job application process seriously, appreciate the fantastic benefits and the wonderful career perspectives you can gain from the very beginning of your career. If you prove your credibility, then you will have a great chance to quickly become a manager or a head of  department. Isn’t that worth all your efforts?

Guest post by Mikhail Liakh, co-founder and director at TiES in Belarus, professional coach, International Coaches Union