Startup job hunting wisdom – Don’t be another resume in the pile!

Fraser Kelton is the COO at GetGlue, a venture-backed startup at the intersection of television and social networking.  Fraser started at GetGlue in business development and shares some great insights below about how to stand out from the crowd when startup job hunting.  –John

You have a pretty interesting story about how you ended up working at GetGlue (back when itDon't be another resume in the pile was AdaptiveBlue).   What’s the takeaway for people who are startup job hunting?

The simplest advice is also the most important: don’t be another resume in the pile.

The hiring risk at a startup is so much greater than at any other company and mitigating that risk will help your chances of landing the job.

For example, we had a QA applicant submit bugs continuously from the time of the job listing being published through to the end of the interview process. It not only showed us his capabilities, it clearly showed us that he was interested in this job and not just a job.

Extending this thought to its logical end, with a startup you can work to create a job that the company doesn’t know it needs to hire for yet. How many people would have loved an early BD role at Foursquare? Likely a lot. How many people were willing to hustle and create a role to fill? One: Tristan Walker.

Don’t be another resume in the pile. Hustle and humbly accept that while you may think that a startup would be lucky to have you, the startup doesn’t know that yet (so, show them this).

When you interviewed with GetGlue, how did you prepare for your interview?

I had an ongoing conversation with Alex, GetGlue’s CEO and founder. Over a couple of months I gained an understanding of the vision for the company as well as the current problems it faced. I started to pull together thoughts and ideas on how I could help overcome some of the problems and play a role in helping the company realize its vision.

Throughout the time that we spoke, it was important that I gained an understanding of the vision, the market, the competition, and especially the product. At a consumer-facing startup it’s impossible to fake an interest in the product. You either use it or you don’t and that information is easily obtainable.

How did the BD role prepare you for your current role as COO? Any general takeaways that would applicable to startup job hunting?

Most importantly it helped me understand the importance of focus at a startup. Opportunity abounds at a growing company. Combine that with the logical thought that risk is mitigated by doing multiple things and a common conclusion is to pursue many projects all at once. Startups are so hard, with so much against them, that it’s important to focus on a few things and make them very successful.

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