As the Director of Global Expansion for Event Technology Platform Eventbrite, Elsita Sanya knows a thing or two about hiring startup staff. The San Francisco-based businesswoman made time in her hectic flying-around-the world-schedule to share some essential tips and tricks on how to apply for a job at a startup. Steffie Meuter, Eventbrite’s new Account Manager for the Netherlands, joins in to explain how she landed a job that lots of candidates applied for.
1) Fast-paced and flexible team-players required
Elsita points out there are specific qualities that people who wish to work at a startup should display in their cover letter and resume: “Technology companies are generally very fast-paced, so when we look for talent we look for really fast thinkers, who are also very flexible. Startups tend to go through lots of changes, so we need people who embrace change. Each time we start in a new market we start off with a small team, so we also need to have real collaborators; people that really thrive when they work closely with others”.
Being ambitious and eager to develop oneself wouldn’t hurt either: “As a company we aim to grow very quickly, and I believe if you want to grow as a company you need to hire people who want to grow individually and who continuously want to learn new things”.
2) Show Genuine Excitement
The above-mentioned qualities will always shine through in a well-written cover letter, according to Elsita: “We can see things like collaboration and flexibility in cover letters and resumes; if applicants switched roles and took on more tasks within their companies for instance”.
The importance of a good and most of all genuine cover letter should never be underestimated: “You can tell in a cover letter how excited people are about the position and the company”. Candidates that think they can get away with applying for a role without a decent cover letter do not stand a chance: “It’s very obvious when cover letters are just a matter of copy and paste”. In the end, hiring people all comes down to trusting someone: “You need to be very diligent and detail-oriented, I need to trust you as my new person who comes on board”.
3) Be creative – but not too creative
Opinions vary on whether it’s good to stand out or not when applying for a role, but Elsita explains that while it is great to show creativity, you should not necessarily use your cover letter or CV to do so: “When you get hundreds of applications for the same role, and every cover letter looks completely different with crazy images and crazy fonts, it just gets so tiring. Sometimes they just look so crazy that I don’t even read them because I just don’t have the time. So while it’s great to be creative, I advise to make your cover letter and CV very easy to read, so I can look for the things I want to see. If you want to make a Youtube-video and link to that in your cover letter, that’s great though – that’s the place to get creative”.
4) Do not search for a job, search for a company you believe in
Steffie Meuter recently joined EventBrite as their new account manager for the Netherlands. The new recruit is convinced it was her genuine excitement for the company that made her application stand out: “I wasn’t looking for a job at all, I actually had a great job. But then I found out Eventbrite was coming to the Netherlands. I used Eventbrite before and I found it so easy to use. Plus I really love the vision of the company. So I actually googled the name in the newsletter and sent a message via Linkedin, and suddenly I was in an application process. So my advice is: ‘Do not search for a job, search for a company you believe in’. I chose Eventbrite to be the next step in my career. And thank God they chose me, haha!”
5) Reach out – but make sure to do so the right way
While Linkedin is a great tool to connect, many aspiring employees are taking it a step too far. Elsita explains the fine line between digital do’s and don’ts: “Sometimes we advertise a position and I get hundreds of people who want to add me on Linkedin. I would not necessarily add someone like myself or the GM of a company, instead I’d see if there is someone in a similar role in your country. You could send them a message saying: ‘Hey, I notice you are working at Eventbrite, I am looking to apply for a similar role, can I ask you a few questions?’ Often these people have more time then the HR managers who are running around like crazy”. You could then mention in your cover letter that you spoke to someone about the role”.
Eventbrite is not currently hiring. But when they will be, you now know what to do…
Photo of Steffie Meuter (l) and Elsita Sanya (r) provided by Eventbrite