My name’s Amber and I’ve been working in the startup space for just over 3 years, currently in a Customer Success Manager role at attract.ai (a HR tech start-up).
It’s been an awesome journey so far and I’m here to share my story and tips for getting your foot in the door with a startup. In particular, how you can use your LinkedIn presence to get noticed.
Not long after I made the changes below, I found my first full-time role. Funnily enough, I’ve now found myself on the consulting side of LinkedIn - working with an AI-sourcing engine to discover epic people for open roles in the startup space. I speak to talent leaders everyday about what they’re looking for in their next hire and what skills they want to see (on a Linkedin profile).
P.e.r.s.o.n.a.l.i.t.y trumps professionalism. Drop the corporate fluff and 3rd person bios, the startup space is anything but impersonal and fluffy. What makes you, you? Share your interests, quirky experiences and don’t be afraid to be unique. And then drizzle on the keywords. An AI search tool will look for keywords across your profile so pull out your thesaurus and go to town. Here’s a great example:
Boost your activity to create talking points with your network and get picked up on news-feeds across town. Easy wins include sharing podcasts you’re listening to, webinars you’re going to attend and articles that piqued your interest in the news - and if you want to go the extra mile, you can pen a Linkedin article. Make a daily habit of dropping comments and likes on posts from your network, and even tag connections who might be interested in the conversation. Our AI is more likely to put forward profiles where it can see activity. It also doesn’t hurt to follow thought leaders in the startup community so you’re across the happenings (maybe someone just raised $$$ and are about to expand their team).
If you’re studying, share parts of your assignments (juicy data insights are great) as that will showcase your skills and interests.
Fill in the gaps. If you’ve got gaps in your work history, that’s no biggy, but fill them in with what was happening in your life at the time. Common non-work related stints I see are ‘maternity leave’, ‘gap year / travel’, ‘taking care of family’ or ‘sabbatical’.
Add your skills and pin the three that you want to be recognized and known for. Next, start endorsing other people! When you endorse someone, they’ll probably return the favour.
If you’re only getting started with recommendations, buddy up with a friend or colleague and write recommendations for each other. Once you have some recommendations on your profile, you could reach out to higher profile people (consider providing them with a structure of what you’re looking for).
Some talent leaders get very excited about extra-curricular and learning activities. It’s not essential but it doesn’t hurt to add cloud certificates and leadership courses (depending on the area you want to get into) to your profile. This is definitely a cherry on the top kind of thing.
Curiosity is a really valuable skill for startups. Rather than spelling it out on your profile, take the initiative and reach out to people in the startup community. Introduce yourself and see where it takes you. Startups don’t have time to run grad programs so get out there and start making connections.
Besides sprucing up your LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to chat to people as you go about your day. You never know who you’ll meet! They might be your next boss or colleague.
If you want to catch up over a martini (or two), hit me up! Find me on Linkedin here.
See you ‘round!