I often get emails from folks that have never done a startup asking me how they can “break into” the startup world and join a great young company.
The traditional way is to network into that company. Find someone you know that knows the people in the company or perhaps one of the investors or board members. This often can work out nicely (assuming of course that you are excellent and fit into the company culture). Those methods are tried and true.
But what if you don’t know anyone at the company?
One suggestion: become an activist of the products that you love. Use them. Blog about them. Write about stuff you want to see in the future and why you think it’s important or fun or whatever. Build stuff with those products. Give feedback to the company. Participate early and often. Get involved. Comment on other blogs with your insight. Maybe the company hires you or maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own company.
Many of our portfolio companies look to hire users of their products. Many if not all of the early employees hired at Twitter, Boxee, Tumblr and others came out of the community. These folks are not only talented and smart — but they are passionate about the product and it shows.
Nice bit of info here, it is true that many of the initial employees tend to be drawn from the community that the startup supports. Also coming from the other side of the table we(mymai.tv) have recently been seeking out talent for our company and have found many nice resources to do so. Online the obvious first place to check is craigslist, especially in the bay area where you will find countless job postings for startups in the web/tech fields. Jobnob, alumni-listservs and face to face meetups are other great options too. There are meetups that focus on startups that often have 30 second spots to promote companies staffing needs, now there is even a meetup in the SF area that is focused on helping find co-founders. Outside of these resources the prospective employee should be proactive and inquire with companies to see if they are seeking interns, i think that you will be hard pressed to find one that is not looking for help. While this may not be the most glamorous position, it is a great place to start and many times can lead to a full time position when the company is ready. I know that we are always looking for more interns in the SF area here at MyMai.tv. If anyone reading this is interested, you can contact me directly regarding internships or other positions at firstname.lastname@example.org .
-kris miller, co-founder MyMai.tv