9 Job Hunting Tips for Ex-Startup Founders

by / ⠀Career Advice Entrepreneurship Startup Advice / November 19, 2013

Q. Got any job hunt tips for ex-founders/entrepreneurs?

Job Hunt

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Relate Your Experience to What the Company Needs

Sometimes hiring managers don’t like entrepreneurs because they perceive them to be loose cannons who won’t fit in and will serve themselves rather than the company. Refute these perceptions immediately by coming in with a plan for how you’ll use your skill set to benefit the organization. Show that you’ve thought about its needs and why you’re the perfect person to address them.
Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

2. Search AngelList

AngelList is the easiest way to find jobs at other startups and “apply” with one click of a button. You see details about the startup, salary ranges and the equity package upfront. Chances are, if you’ve accomplished anything meaningful at your last startup, plenty of businesses on AngelList will be excited to talk to you.
– Danny Wong, Blank Label

3. Create Your Digital Resume on LinkedIn

LinkedIn can create credibility for your personal brand, and it’s important for you to show off what you’ve done and what you’ve learned. A LinkedIn profile can operate somewhat as a digital resume. Recommendations are the equivalent of references, except they are public, and everyone can see the people who are recommending you. Now you can also upload images and videos of your work.
– Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

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4. Advertise Your Soft Skills

Our company is in business to help skilled IT professional find jobs and brilliant companies find people who will help them grow. Now more than ever, having the people skills, culture fit, perseverance and creativity in the workplace are as important as the technical skills people bring to the table. Market your people skills and your negotiating skills and show you are business-savvy.
Grant Gordon, Solomon Consulting Group

5. Be Open

Be prepared to talk candidly. If you were a business owner, it will seem likely to those interviewing you that you might be less enthusiastic about working for someone else, and they’ll want to know what about you and your style led you to seek a job.
Rakia Reynolds, Skai Blue Media

6. Network

Networking is the key word for finding any new position regardless if you’re an ex-founder or entrepreneur. People want to hire people that add value, not fluffed resumes, old titles, etc. If you can engage in an intelligent conversation about the role and give valuable insight into the area of growth needed, then that’s all you need. Really utilize your personal and professional networks as well.
Andrew Vest, Preferling

7. Be Honest

Be honest with why your company failed. I have interviewed quite a few ex-founders, and they always seem to have elaborate stories that seem pretty unbelievable. When you’re interviewing, be honest with what happened — no one is going to judge you if you couldn’t build a multi-million dollar business.
– Phil Laboon, Clear Sky SEO

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8. Follow Your Heart

If you’re an ex-founder or entrepreneur, you have some qualities that few others have: a willingness to take risks, an ability to go above and beyond to achieve your goal and passion for certain things. A prospective employer will see these qualities, and if they’re smart, they will hire you. The main variable will be how interested and passionate you are about the prospective opportunity.
– Roberto Angulo, AfterCollege

9. Prove You’re Passionate About the Market

The most compelling thing for me is when ex-founders are still passionate about making the same difference, just with a new team. If they’re hellbent on impacting the same space, I always take them seriously.
– Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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