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Applying at a Startup? Here’s How You Can Stand Out Even with a Weak Resume

With the success of many startups these days, it’s no wonder many employees from larger enterprises are thinking about ditching the corporate world to work at one.

If you’re one of them, then you’re probably wondering how you can impress hiring managers. The good news is that startups tend to have different criteria when it comes to new hires, which can give applicants with a ‘weak’ resume the chance to impress employers in different ways than expected. Aside from your skills, here are some attributes you need to emphasize during the hiring process.

People Smarts over Technical Smarts

fizkes/Shutterstock — Having people smarts means you can read other people’s body language and emotions

Small businesses like startups value people who can communicate well with other people, be it colleagues or clients. Workers with people smarts demonstrate strong social skills and can read other people well.

Richard Branson, the founder of technical companies like Virgin Galactic, is a great example of a successful person with this valuable skill. Although he had no related technical credentials, he managed to build and run several businesses thanks to his ability to effectively communicate with people.

Positive Track Record

You can make up for a lack of experience by highlighting the results you’ve had in other jobs instead of how long you’ve been employed. Startup entrepreneurs would be more impressed by your ability to get things done instead of hard work alone.

Young businesses often face tough challenges and need workers who are persistent and willing to take on a heavy workload. Use this as an opportunity to illustrate your ability and determination to solve difficult problems.

You can tell stories about past instances at another job or at school when you didn’t let an obstacle or setback stop you from accomplishing.

Innovative Thinking

airdone/Shutterstock — Because they typically cater to untapped markets, startups likely need to create new processes

Startup companies are distinguished from other small businesses because they offer a unique product or new service. That said, they need people who are able to think outside the box

Employees with this quality are confident and have a low need for approval. They take initiative and don’t always need orders.

Look the Part

Maridav/Shutterstock — You can get away with a more laid-back but still professional look due to the less uptight nature of startups

Dressing appropriately for the job conveys that you respect the company you’re applying for. It also helps the interviewer build their trust in you and believe that you can fit in with the team.

The latter is particularly important as small businesses often work with fewer employees who need to get along well to get things done.

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