Category Archives: Generation Start-up

Employer Insight: Corporate vs. Startups

Susan Zheng is the co-founder and CEO of Lynxsy, a mobile recruitment marketplace for companies to hire junior, non-technical talent. Previously, she was an early employee at Tough Mudder where she helped the company grow from 10 to 200 in two years. She graduated from NYU Stern with a degree in Finance and International Business.

Corporate, Startup. Startup, Corporate.

Is your head spinning yet? We understand. When you’ve graduated and don’t have a clear career path, it can be difficult to decide in which direction you should set off on your journey. You could enter the ranks of a large business in the corporate sphere. Or you could become a team member at a small startup. It’s all up to you.

As for which you should choose, there’s no right answer. We can’t tell you which path is right, but here’s some info to help you in your decision-making process:

Pros of the Corporate Path

  • Analyst Class Cohorts of first years often get hired by big corporations at the same time each year. Having a peer group in the the same performance and training cycle means you’ll have some people to share in your journey, and even make friends with.
  • Formal Onboarding You’ll have a more concrete job description and there will be an HR process to support your initiation into the job.
  • Guided Professional Development A large company is going to have resources in place to further your career development. You can anticipate formal training days, speakers and mentor meetings to be on your schedule.
  • Huge Clients You’ll get an inside peek at some of the biggest brands and companies, ones you’ve only read about in headlines.
  • Best Practices With years of experience, they’ll have tried and true systems of organization in place.

Cons of the Corporate Path:

  • Cog in the Wheel When you’re working in a 10,000+ employee organization, it’s easier to feel that your contributions are just a drop in the bucket. You won’t be able to see your impact or position and importance within the company as visibly.
  • Bureaucracy This is what people mean when they say “working for the man.” Politics are more likely to play a role in decision-making and hiring. Competition in the corporate world may be fierce, so you’ll have to get your game face on.
  • Slow Movement Things aren’t as fast-moving, so you may not see the result of a project for months or years. This also means that you’ll need to put in more time to move up the corporate ladder.

And now…

Pros of the Startup Path:

  • Visible Impact In a small organization, every contribution you make has a greater visible impact. A startup could go from having 50 users to 1,000 while you’re there, so you’ll be able to see the outcome of your hard work more clearly.
  • Ownership & Responsibility Because it is a smaller company, you’ll feel more personal ownership. It’ll be less about doing work because others tell you to do it, and more about you doing it because you care about moving the ball forward.
  • Acceleration Startups move quickly, as will your place within one if you put in the work. There’ll be a greater opportunity to accelerate your career, as your roles could be changing and growing daily.
  • See the Full Org When you’re working with a smaller team, you’ll get a better grasp of the structure and going-ons of the entire organization. Because your role will likely be less narrow than it would at a larger company, you’ll be in touch with every function of the startup, from marketing to product to tech.
  • Training Ground A startup is a great training ground if you want to found a company one day. Take notes. Fewer Formalities The environment is bound to be much more relaxed. You likely won’t see many suits walking around.

Cons of the Startup Path:

  • On-the-Job Training The edges of your training will be a little more blurred because it will most likely be more of a learning by doing versus a learning from others situation. On a small team, you may not have a manager looking over you, or telling you what to do, so be ready to hop right in and be self-directed.
  • Flying Solo At a startup, recruiting will be on more of a rolling basis. Don’t expect a batch of peers at the same level as you, like in a traditional analyst class. Unless it’s a larger startup, hires will be one-off based on need, and more focused on the individual.
  • No Formal Processes While more established firms may have systems of organization in place, at a startup you may be the one creating them.
  • A Level of Uncertainty Expect ambiguity. You’ll be asked to rise to the occasion on more than one opportunity.

These points are generalizations of the differences between startups and corporations. Do you gravitate towards one or other? Which environment appeals to you most? Use these points as a guide to when you’re weighing your options. And when it comes down to it, go with your gut. You can always switch it up later once you have some experience!

Learn more about Lynxsy and explore their open positions here.
And don’t forget to attend the Start-up Industry Expo on April 2nd!

 

How I, an English Major, Snagged an Awesome Job in Startup Tech Sales

Sawyer Huff is in sales development at Mag+, a platform for creating and distributing designed mobile apps. He graduated from NYU in 2014 with a degree in English and American Literature. Sawyer grew up in Minnesota and currently lives in Brooklyn.

 To say the least, I didn’t envision myself in sales or tech when I started undergrad at NYU. After sitting through my MAP courses for most of freshman year, I decided to take the least practical track and pursue a degree in English just because it was fun. Becoming an English teacher seemed like the career path of least resistance, so I told myself that was the one for me.

After graduation, I spent four years working as a tutor, speculating about writing some books, and questioning everything; I then found myself in a business development role at a tutoring company. My job was to drive around New Jersey networking with psychologists and schools and hire college kids as tutors and match them with referred students. I was stuck at an unoriginal company in a saturated market. Luckily, I did get to do some of my first cold calling, networking, sales, and presentations to prospective clients, all of which were invaluable experiences to dip my toe into. But I was bored by the monotony.

I started looking aimlessly on the internet for job openings on Craigslist, Jobs.com, Indeed, and Glassdoor. Trying to steer clear of education because of my unstellar experience, I started looking around at sales jobs in the tech industry (which I had paid close attention to since some of my friends had dropped out of college to work at startups).

Although I felt confident in my sales and business development skills, I didn’t have the resume for these jobs. I kept having to come up with fluffy cover letters about how I have great people skills and how much I looked forward to devoting myself to evangelizing ABC company’s Product X. I didn’t hear back from anyone.

That was when I came across CloserIQa platform that connects job-seeking tech sales professionals to all the awesome startup jobs out there. On CloserIQ.com, I was prompted to build my profile using my resume stats as well as my specific sales skills: how many years of sales experience I had, which industries I was familiar with, what knowledge of CRM systems and sales tools I had, and so on. Filling out the form was intuitive and quick—I was finished with the basic info in five minutes.

Anticipating the cover letter section, I navigated forward with sweaty palms. Ah, not yet—CloserIQ then prompted me to attach my resume. One more click landed me on a page with just two questions and a play button beneath each. The top of the page read, “Record your answers to the questions below. We recommend keeping your answers down to one minute!”

I was thrown off at first. “Am I confident in my ability to string together a sentence?” I thought. “I know I can identify the meter in sonnet, but can I talk?” The questions were tough, too. “What are some of your greatest professional achievements so far?” and “What are some challenges you’ve overcome and how?” After a few minutes of foot tapping and nail biting, I had my confidence re-gathered and my responses prepared.

After finishing, I had a good feeling. Submitting a recording of myself answering a question was an easier and better way to convey my personality to potential employers. It also saved me a ton of time—no more forced cover letters.

The next day, I got a message through CloserIQ from Javier Rosas, the director of global sales at Mag+. Over the course of the next few weeks I interviewed with him and the CEO Gregg Hano. I knew I could see myself working under both of them, I liked their vision of the future of Mag+, and I was desperate to get into something—anything—that was stimulating. I got the job, so it turns out that thing was tech sales!

Javier is my boss now and I’ve been with Mag+ for about 4 months. It’s been a great experience that will definitely keep me in the industry for a while. Mag+ is a software platform that allows designers to build mobile apps for materials that would have been traditionally printed, such as product guides, memos, and brochures. We started out in the magazine industry when the iPad came out, and grew from there.

Being on the sales side is continuously dynamic, and I have learned a TON on the job, not only through figuring out how the product itself works, but through researching the diverse businesses, industries, and solutions the platform is used in and for. Now I’m working with a creative, intelligent group of people putting something out into the world I can really get behind. Boxes checked!

Getting an English major wasn’t so bad after all.

Interested in tech startups and sales jobs? Check out CloserIQ to find open positions you’ll love and read our career blog for advice on how to get hired.

Employer Insight: 6 Tips Every Non-Tech Applicant Should Know

Susan Zheng is the co-founder and CEO of Lynxsy, a mobile recruitment marketplace for companies to hire junior, non-technical talent. Previously, she was an early employee at Tough Mudder where she helped the company grow from 10 to 200 in two years. She graduated from NYU Stern with a degree in Finance and International Business.

Career advice: Take chances, and don’t worry if your career doesn’t follow a formula. The most successful people in history have had non-linear careers.

“No way I’m applying to a startup! I don’t even know how to code.”

If there’s one thing November 18th’s Lynxsy sponsored “Insider Tips to Land a Startup Job” panel hammered home, it’s that this assumption is as outdated in 2014 as MySpace, Sarah Palin’s political aspirations, and meeting men/women without first swiping right on your phone. Startups need smart people, regardless of background, who can solve problems quickly, keep their cool, and think about challenges in a critical and balanced way.

Panel speakers included Co-Founder of Kinnek, Karthik Sridharan; Head of Biz Dev and Ops atTriggermail, Max Bennett; Co-Founder and CEO of Matter.io, Dylan Reid; and VP of Marketing at Bettercloud, Taylor Gould. While attendees got to learn what startup hiring managers are looking for in non-technical applicants, the rest of the world’s 6 billion people were unfortunately not able to fit into that tiny room. Luckily I’ve taken it upon myself to summarize their advice for the other 99.9999% of the planet’s population.

1) Leave your ego at the door.

Part of working at a startup is doing gruntwork! In a 6 person company, who else is going to cold-call and enter data? It’s an ultimate “the buck stops here” situation and founders want to make sure you’ll do whatever’s needed to grow out the company.

Applicants from consulting and finance backgrounds often emphasize the wrong things when transitioning to startups. It’s not as crucial that you closed a healthcare deal worth 10 billion dollars. What founders do care about is that you got assigned a project at 2 AM and finished it before 8…that you can become an expert in a random area in three days time.

Max from Triggermail attributed this willingness to get his hands dirty as the main reason for his meteoric rise in the startup community, “I didn’t care that I was doing linear algebra in college, I’ll still do cold-calling all day.”

2) Don’t be a jerk.

When a startup is in that hockey stick growth phase, jerks cause seismic quakes of BLEH in an organization. If one person doesn’t mesh, the rest of the team suffers. The last person a hiring manager wants to onboard is an overly critical, super obnoxious, culture-killer who makes others afraid to express good ideas. Dylan from Matter.io warned of hiring a specific breed of employee who doesn’t have the same commitment as the rest of the team, “People who aren’t committed force everyone else to question, ‘Why am I here working my butt off when this guy is at the Red Sox game?!’”

3) E-mail the founders!

As opposed to huge banks or tech behemoths, startups are lean. They usually don’t have set HR departments or hiring protocol, which means if you want to connect with the founders directly you can usually just e-mail info@STARTUPSNAME.com.

Even if there’s no job listed, startups can always use smart, enthusiastic people, so it never hurts to try to make your case. Do your research beforehand and see which startups just got funding. Odds are they have money to spend on hiring. However, this isn’t an invitation to send over an overly formal e-mail or blast out boiler plate “cover letters.”

Karthik from Kinnek put it quite well, “I don’t really need to see a good cover letter in a formal sense, but if you sent me a little blurb that says ‘Hey, I found you on AngelList, I’m really passionate about small businesses, nothing on my resume really communicates that but I think I’d be perfect for your company.’ I would definitely meet up with that person.”

4) Don’t worry about your title.

If you’re joining a startup to be a VP of Whatever or if you just want to add Senior to your resume you’re not going to get hired. At a company composed of 20 people there aren’t really managers or direct reports, as strict bureaucracy would just slow down innovation. You want to convey that you’re more worried about accomplishing a specific mission than updating your LinkedIn profile. Karthik, (again, the CEO of Kinnek) even changes his e-mail signature to “Customer Service Rep” when dealing with customers because he wants to make sure they’re not intimidated.

5) Be a confident communicator.

Aviod typoz at alll costs. So much of working at an early stage startup is communicating with all types of different people. Whether you’re selling the company to new clients, resolving the issues of current ones, or communicating internally with your team, it’s important that you express your ideas in a clear, professional, and articulate manner. Contrary to popular belief, your English major friends may actually have an upper hand! As Taylor from Bettercloud made evident, “Writing skills are huge. You need to effectively communicate what we’re trying to accomplish. I don’t ever want to have to edit someone for grammar or spelling.”

6) Don’t appear desperate.

Founders for the most part don’t want to feel like they’re hiring someone desperate for any job. They want to feel like out of all the companies that were hiring, the candidate was compelled to choose them. The ideal candidate makes a hiring manager feel lucky to have found that person. A way to convey this is to do your research about a company, express true passion, and ask probing questions about the business. As Dylan conveyed yesterday “There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at any company…There’s a lot in a black box that no one really knows about. If you’re not curious about what’s going on behind the scenes then from my perspective there’s something off. Are you really interested in working at MY company or are you just trying to get a job?”

As you can see, there’s a ton of different ways you can market yourself to startups! Though, before you can impress founders with your passion, intellectual curiosity, and go-getterness, you need to figure out what startups are out there and how to reach them. Let Lynxsy do the heavy lifting and make sure you get your foot in the door with the startups that matter.

Hear from more industry professionals Monday February 17th at Making It In: Tech & Wednesday March 4th at Women In STEM Career Panel

In case you missed it: Day in the life at Avoce

Here’s a recap of Co-Founder and Co-CEO Raphael’s day @AvoceEyewear, an e-commerce startup! Click their logo for a recap.
If the awesome organization seems like a good fit for you, make sure you apply to their Marketing Strategy intern position at NYU CareerNet Job ID 909430
Also, don’t miss out on the NYU Startup Expo on 11/21. Register today for more information!

In Case You Missed It: Day in the Life Weleet

At Weleet we’re looking for self-starters who embrace the opportunity to use social media to connect with and build an engaged and dynamic community.
If this is a culture and company you’d like to help build, please click here for Marketing Intern or here for Software Development Intern.

How About Starting A Startup This Summer Break?

Taking the leap to being an entrepreneur and starting something isn’t easy. It requires a lot of commitment to the concept and ability to stay determined no matter what the situation. I have previously written on recognizing opportunities and identifying which of those could turn into a business. However, the biggest challenge facing a lot of the individuals is the path to executing any idea.

So here is what I propose to those wantrapreneurs who are not able to take the leap towards committing themselves to an idea: Instead of going on a vacation or taking up an internship this summer break, dedicate those 10 weeks to working on your business venture.

The main idea behind this exercise will be to validate the viability of your concept at the end of your summer break. When validating a startup, you might come across a number of obstacles. Mentioned below are some of the most common challenges that are encountered by almost every entrepreneur, along with ways to address them:

Team: The best way to build a good team is to interact with individuals in your network and see if any of them are willing to be a part of your initiative. If that doesn’t help, attend Meetup groups. Relevant Meetup groups can serve as an excellent resource to meet interesting people who would share your passion/vision.

Financing: There are many avenues to explore when it comes to receiving seed funding, but to be taken seriously, it is crucial to build a prototype or demo of your product ASAP. Having a prototype to show is all you need to worry about, to help validate your idea.

Marketing: The best way to get yourself and your product noticed, is to go to startup demo events and pitch your idea. Apart from this, be sure to write a blog every few days. Blogs serve as a very powerful channel to communicate your business’ vision and concept to people around the globe.

At the end of these 10 weeks if you decide to purse your venture further, you will be in a great position to apply to startup accelerator programs that will provide you will seed funding, mentorship as well as all the resources you need to continue to grow.

To those who feel that this is a lot easier said than done I would like to assure you that once you take the leap, each challenge will appear to be an opportunity to prove yourself. There is no bigger incentive to work harder.

In the past one year, I have learnt a lot more working at my startup iFunding, than working at an analyst level could’ve taught me over three years. Irrespective of whether I like it or not, I have to participate in every aspect of the business and learn on the go. That is true for every entrepreneur. I have been fortunate to team up with an amazing co-founder who has patiently helped me learn aspects of the business that I wouldn’t have an opportunity to understand otherwise.

Feel free to reach out to me if you need any guidance/advice or access to resources that you are not able to find by yourself. I will be sure to revert to you within 24 hours. My email is sohin.shah@innovationalfunding.com

Boost your career this summer: Join Levo League!

Levo League: A Community for Young Professional Women

If you are a Gen-Y woman looking to enter the workforce, you may want to check out the latest resource for aspiring female professionals- Levo League.  This is a social good startup designed to elevate young women in the workforce by providing  FREE career resources to achieve personal and professional success. Their goal is to create a community where young  professional woman can find support and change the future of gender equality in the workforce.

Levo League offers weekly video chat sessions with an impressive roster of well-established mentors, including big names like Warren Buffet and Sheryl Sandberg.  They offer the chance for participants to hear about the mentor’s experience and even ask their most pressing career questions- without ever having to leave their desk.

Big names aside, if you are looking for another job board to supplement the NYU Wasserman Center’s impressive selection on NYU CareerNet, Levo League has a job board to help you find opportunities to build a career in New York and other Levo locations.  Job postings include industries such as consumer packaged goods, education, energy and renewables, fashion and design, hospitality, media and entertainment, medicine and healthcare, professional services, technology, and more!

These are just a few of the basic resources you will find on the Levo League wesbite.  If you are interested in joining a community of like-minded women, students, and mentors, go to the  Levo League Website to learn more and find out how you can get involved!

Align Passion with Profession: Join a Start-up

What is Startup Institute?
An 8 week immersive boot camp to gain the skills, network, and mindset for landing your dream job at a startup.

Startup Institute is unlike any form of education you have received. Our aim is to catapult you further and faster into a new career at a startup that aligns your passion with your profession. Through a hyperfocus on you as an individual we will elevate you to the next level. The program launches with a week long experience designed to inject you into the startup ecosystem, developing the relevant skills that will get you hired as a high impact employee at an early stage company. Some see these as ‘soft’ skills, but we and our hiring partners see these as the differentiating factor that makes you a major contributor to their company’s success.

94% of our grads are hired
140+ Founders, CEOs, and startup professionals as instructors
100s of hiring startups in our network
185 graduates in our alumni network

Does this sound like something you would be interested in? Join the information session on May 2nd at Phebe’s Bar and Tavern from 8 PM to 10 PM to learn more!