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Earlywork #24: Top 5 Factors Startups Look For in Entry-Level Candidates
Featuring interviews with Cameron Ensor (Student Fellowship Associate @ Startmate) + Tristan Frizza (Co-Founder @ Zeta)
Ello ello Earlyworkers!
It’s Team Earlywork pumping out Earlywork #24, a junior tech & startup career newsletter that gives you:
Free career resources for young people interested or working in tech & startups
Interviews with young startup founders and employees
A roundup of the latest industry news
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💡Weekly Cheeky Tip
This Weekly Cheeky Tip is a guest piece from our mate Cameron Ensor, a Student Fellowship Associate over at Startmate. You can check out the awesome work Cam and the team are doing here.
Are you someone who craves autonomy?
Would you prefer to move quickly and tangibly see the impact of your work?
Do you dream about working on a problem that energises you, with a team who brings out the best in you?
Do you want to ditch the suit and wear a t-shirt to work every day?
Then perhaps a career in startups is just what you need!
Pathways into more traditional careers are well defined, however, knowing what startups look for and how to thrive in the environment is not as widely known. Having spoken to many people in the startup community, here are the top 5 qualities that startups are looking for in entry-level candidates.
1. Growth Mindset
Startups are looking for someone who has an appetite for continual growth. As opposed to believing that your ability is fixed (a fixed mindset), a growth mindset promotes the notion that your talents and intelligence can be developed to get to where you need to be. Given the faster pace and ever-evolving environment, adopting this approach to life and your position will help you go far. Experimentation is encouraged, and failure, with its lessons and insights, is welcomed. It is not necessarily the skills you know today, but rather the willingness and curiosity to keep learning and ask questions that will make you an attractive hire.
Adopting an ownership mentality is another trait that is highly valued. For a lot of projects you work on in a startup, they only go as far as you are willing to take them. A candidate who can demonstrate that they are willing to take ownership of their role and initiative to best solve the problem in front of them is a big tick.
3. Getting Sh*t Done
Another sought after characteristic is people who are go-getters. Demonstrating that you just make things happen quickly, sometimes with a slight sacrifice of perfectionist self to get things moving along.
4. Doing Your Own Research
When you go into an interview, having done your own research about the company and your role is another great indicator. This will show your interviewer that you are diligent and someone who is proactive. How you approach the interview will signal how you will likely approach the role if you were to be successful.
5. Love for the Problem/Product
Finally, a strong passion for the product or problem the company is trying to solve. This is particularly appealing as it shows you really care about what the company does and can relate to its mission. Founders are super passionate about their startup’s vision, and for you to feel the same way and really connect with the problem the company set out to solve, demonstrates that you are more heavily invested.
Bonus: Be Yourself
Lucky last, just remember to be yourself...be authentic. There are such a wide variety of people in the startup world that your uniqueness is valued.
No matter your educational background, if you show the above traits, you will be on the right track to attracting interest and carving out an exciting career in startups.
🌏 Community Update
We’re now at 300+ members for the Earlywork Slack Community and based on your suggestions, we’ve launched a bunch of new channels including #product, #crypto, #stonks and #lifehacks.
Plus, we’re now trialling fortnightly random coffee catchups to pair up community members for a cheeky chat!
Wanna get in on the chatter? Sign up now to join in discussions with other young Aussies in tech & startups, stay up to date with industry news & events, and find/share job opportunities.
1️⃣ 🕐 💪 One Minute Hustle
We are back once again with One Minute Hustle, a bite-sized interview with an emerging Australian young startup founder or operator. This week, let’s get inside the noggin of a fresh founder
Tristan Frizza, Contributor @ Zeta
What are you working on?
I'm contributing to Zeta, and under-collateralized DeFi options trading platform built on the Solana blockchain. We aim to bring derivatives trading to decentralized finance by solving key issues around fragmented market liquidity, high transaction fees, inefficient pricing and unintuitive UX that we currently see in the space. Think of it like a decentralised P2P Robinhood.
How'd you get started?
I'd been casually trading crypto for the fun of it since 2017 but took a bit of a break over the last 2 years to focus on work. Late last year I decided to learn some Solidity on the side after wanting to pick it up for years, knowing my skillset was much better suited to engineering than trading. Got in touch with a few uni friends who shared similar interests in trading, software and crypto and after some market research we came up with the idea to build a DeFi options platform.
Why do you do what you do?
I've worked in a handful of early stage startups in the past and I just love the energy and speed that they move at. You're mostly unconstrained by conventional blockers to progress in bigger companies and you can really start to dream big. For me, being able to try to solve technical problems that are both important and as of yet unsolved was a super exciting opportunity, and being able to tackle them with some of my best friends has been incredibly rewarding.
📚 Big Moves in Tech
Five juicy stories from the Australian tech & startup community:
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