Startups do not need several employees. What they need are a few quality employees that are capable of handling entire departments alone. They tend to screen more resumes than well-established corporations as they are more selective with their hiring needs.

So, nothing less than a picture-perfect resume will work, if you want to land a job in a startup.

If this seems like something you want, go through this list of 5 essentials that will make your resume lucrative for any startup recruiter:

Well-designed resume example

1. Quantify your achievements

Startups do not have the time or the resources to train a fresher. They need someone whose training wheels have come off and they can hit the ground running.

Unlike big corporations, startups are unlikely to hire you based on your potential alone.

They give you a ‘learn on the job’ environment and you are expected to be hands-on with your skills in more ways than one. Startups want to see results and you can demonstrate that through an effectively constructed resume.

If you want to get a call-back from startups, you have to prove your worth. Presenting big names and vague descriptions of your previous responsibilities will just not cut it. You have to give sound proof of your competence by using concrete numbers to catch their interest.

You can accomplish this by including performance/achievement figures to quantify your achievements.

For instance, if you are eyeing the job of a content writer in a start-up, you can demonstrate your contributions and their outcomes in the following manner:

  • Designed 10 ad-copies per week to meet customer satisfaction & enhance brand value
  • Drafted 30+ SEO-targeted blogs monthly which increased the website traffic by 60%
  • Edited website consent and incorporated relevant keywords for SEO optimization

The structure followed by the above-mentioned points are also infamously known as action-oriented statements. The use of specific numbers in the bulleted points helps candidates prove their competence and solidifies their potential.

This is exactly why you should optimize your resume with performance figures wherever they are applicable.

Woman writing resume

2. Use the right resume format to write a resume for startup recruiters

You could hit all the points in a startup recruiter’s dream checklist for a model employee but if your resume is not structured properly, you will fail to make the cut.

This is why your resume needs to be structured to perfection.

The best way to structure a resume and make it relevant for the recruiters is by using the reverse-chronological format to organize the sections in your resume.

This format presents the recruiter with the details of your education, internships, and professional experience in a reverse-timeline order. Hence, your resume will display your most recent work experience first, followed by the second most recent work experience, and so on.

Use this format to write a shortlist-worthy resume targeted for startups.

Writing a resume

3. Tailor your resume according to your target startup job

Framing one resume and using it to apply for every job is a rookie mistake. You need to step up your game and craft carefully customized resume tailored specifically for the startup job you are targeting.

These are some tips to help you craft a customized resume:

  • Comb through the job listing/advertisement posted by the startup and single out the keywords used in it.
  • These keywords will tell you the specific skill-sets that the startup expects from an ideal candidate.
  • If you hold this particular skill-set, incorporate these keywords in your resume as you originally found them in the job description.
  • Make sure that you only mention the keywords that apply to you.

Using these keywords or resume buzzwords as they are commonly called, will show the recruiters that you are qualified for the job and that you meet the minimum criteria.

You should also craft a distinct ‘Key Skills’ section to incorporate these keywords.

This will highlight your relevant skill sets as illustrating them under a distinct section will ensure that it does not miss the recruiter’s eye.

Writing resume summary

4. Write an effective summary

Your resume summary acts like an elevator pitch that can make or break your chances of getting into the shortlist for your dream startup job. Write a succinct resume summary that highlights the best in you to draw the recruiter in.

Here are a few useful tips that can set you on the right path:

  • Write your resume at the end. As you are summing up your resume in this section, writing it in the end eliminates the need to reevaluate your statement and helps you write an effective resume that endorses your main achievements and skill sets.
  • Keep your resume summary crisp and to the point. Try not to exceed 5 lines as your resume already has all the necessary information. All it needs is enticing information about your career trajectory that will get an employer interested in going through the rest of your resume.
  • Startups only care about how much value you can bring to their organization. If you show them at the beginning of your resume that your presence will benefit their goals, you will be more likely to make the shortlist.

Following these points while composing your resume summary will help you in coming up with a smashing statement that will help your application stand out from the competition.

A startup job applicant writing cover letter

5. Include a Cover Letter

A cover letter will give a personal touch to your job application. Here you will be directly addressing the founders of the startup you are applying to.

Keep it brief and enthusiastic. Make it look like you researched before applying by telling them how you discovered their organization, why you think you would be perfect for this role, and how your presence will help them expand their business.

Use a cover letter to communicate your passion for working in a fast-paced environment. Showing your will to learn and willingness to adapt in an ever-changing environment will show them that you have what it takes to thrive in a startup.

Ending a cover letter with a “thank you” for their time will act as the cherry on the cake. So make sure you incorporate this thank you note at the end of your cover letter.

Getting hired in a startup

Conclusion

Startups are made possible by visionary people. They only look for people that will add considerable value to their operation. You have one chance to convince them of your candidature and you can do it with your resume.

These 5 steps will lead you right into an interview at your dream startup:

  1. Quantify your achievements to back up your claims.
  2. Use the reverse-chronological format to structure your resume.
  3. Customize your resume according to the job you are targeting.
  4. Write an impressive resume summary.
  5. Seal the deal with a personalized touch by including a cover letter.