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How to find exciting startups to work for

Posted by Chad O'Connor  July 25, 2012 11:00 AM

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The Boston/Cambridge area is covered in startups – every time you turn around in kendall square or the seaport, it seems like you can easily bump into people working for one. As a job seeker looking to become part of the entrepreneurial scene, how do you find one of these exciting companies to join? Below are a few tips to connect with these companies:

The critical focus (and success factor) for any startup is to connect with top talent. However, this is not always as easy as one might think. Startups, by definition, lack the instant recognition associated with more established companies such as Novartis, Microsoft, or Facebook. Consequently, start-ups tend to hire through their network and also referrals that come in through their network. Forging connections with people in both the greater entrepreneurial landscape and in companies that you want to work for, will enhance your ability to successfully land a job.

In the Greater Boston area there are numerous ways for job seekers to network with individuals in the startup scene. Many events occur that profile exciting companies and provide a gathering point to meet others who are passionate about the area. These include the MIT Enterprise Forum, Mobile Mondays, The Capital Network, Venture Café, Mass Innovation Nights, and of course, BWP’s monthly mixers. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but an excellent starter. For an extensive listing of events, check out the Greenhorn Connect calendar.

For talent looking to work in startup companies, it is important to get to know the companies, their people, and their aspirations to ensure it is the right fit. If you are interested in a specific area like mobile apps, oncology therapeutics, or smart grid technology, look to see which events are happening in your area of interest and attend them.

News sources like Scott Kirsner’s column, Innovation Economy, and Xconomy, are tremendous sources of insight about entrepreneurial organizations.

Start following and searching for companies using social media tools to identify startup / stealth mode companies that interest you. You can search Twitter, blogs, events, Xconomy, and other information sources to identify these companies. Use key words to begin idntifying companies and then dive deeper from there. Once you identify these companies and research them, contact them to tell them more about your background and how your skills can be useful for them. Personalize your communication so the companies are able to see your genuine interest in what they are working on.

Your hard work and thoroughness will go a long way to building meaningful relationships. In some cases, even if the company is not immediately hiring, they may even create a role for you if they realize your skills can create tremendous value for them. Good luck with your search!

Lauren Celano is founder and CEO of Propel Careers and a BWP Connector.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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