Corporate Background Can Help to Get a Startup Blogging Job

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For many, leaving the world of cubicles and bureaucracy to join a startup is alluring. The chance to be part of something huge and world-changing! The flat organizational structures! The unlimited vacation time!

But figuring out how to make that move isn’t always easy. You’ve most likely spent years focusing on one particular set of skills and working with a team of people who all focus on the same thing—pretty much the opposite of how scrappy startups function. So, how does your corporate experience translate into a world without traditional career ladders, job descriptions, or even defined roles?
Turns out, better than you might think—you just need to know how to tell your story in a way that makes sense. Here are five things you’ve picked up at your corporate gig that startups will definitely value (and how to talk about them at your next interview).

1. You’re a Team Player

Most likely, you’re not doing your corporate job in a silo—you’re on a team or in a department of people who are all working toward accomplishing the same goal.
In a startup, though you may be the only person doing, say, marketing or business development or sales, this team mentality is more important than ever. “The team-player attitude is everything for the startups we work with,” says Startup Institute co-founder and New York director Shaun Johnson. Elise James-Decruise, senior director and head of global training at MediaMath, agrees. “The ability to ‘lean in’ and collaborate with another department or client to accomplish a common goal is just as or equally important as accomplishing it on their own.”
So, look for ways to show hiring managers just that. Think about times you partnered with another person or department—not necessarily when you led the team, but when you were part of one that achieved great things. While traditional resume and interview wisdom is that you should emphasize your personal accomplishments, startups want to know that you’re interested in the success of the group as a whole.

2. You Know Processes That Work

In a corporate job, almost everything you do has a process—from tracking customer feedback to requesting vacation time.
All of this might seem totally irrelevant in a startup environment, where you’re creating things from scratch and doing a lot of flying by the seat of your pants, but remember that startups that grow will eventually need to put in systems and processes for everything from sales lead tracking to payroll management. And if you have knowledge of efficient ways to do those things, it can be very helpful. “Our project manager came from Popular Science, and not only came with an understanding of how to roll out a project from start to finish, but also how to take a concept and create a system for rolling it out,” says Alex Wolf, CEO and founder of na2ure. “It was very helpful to us, as a startup, to find someone who could take ideas and turn them into action items.”
So, don’t be afraid to talk about your experience and the types of processes you could bring to the table as the startup grows. Just be mindful of how you position it. “Experience creating new teams, making process, and workflow can be very useful when you are at a growth-stage startup,” says Mariko Kosaka, an internal tools engineer at Percolate, Inc. “Just don’t get too caught up in ‘This is how I used to do at [name of company]—be adaptive to your environment.”

3. You Love to Learn and Grow

It was pretty much unanimous among the companies we talked to that to join a startup, you’ve got to be obsessed with learning, growing, and evolving. As Ethan Austin, president and co-founder of GiveForward, puts it: “We’re always looking for learners and people who are curious about the world. Skill sets are irrelevant because things change so quickly at a startup. You could be working on customer service one day, SEO the next, and product management the day after. We like people who are constantly looking to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities.”
Instead of just giving the highlight reel of what you’ve done and achieved, think about times when you’ve taken on something totally new—especially when it’s something you pursued on your own. Did you learn to code when your department website needed some updates? Jumped in to help with SEO when the data analyst was out on leave? These are great ways to show that you’d be willing to tackle responsibilities outside of your job description. “Nothing’s more important than finding people who will do whatever it takes to learn,” says Jay Neely, digital community manager at Boston Globe Media, which has been in operation for over 100 years and is finding that integrating a more startup-like culture is essential to building a future for journalism. “Demonstrated passion for building your skills is more important than a college degree or X years of experience.”

4. You Know How to Communicate

If you worked for a big company, you had to be a master of communication: keeping your boss updated on what you were working on, sending detailed reports to clients, translating your needs and priorities to other departments—you get the picture.
This is actually something that startups really value. “Someone who is confident, has business savvy, and can communicate their ideas clearly and effectively to internal and external audience are all at the top of my list for new hires,” says James-Decruise. Why? It goes back to the team mentality—you’ll be working closely with people from all different backgrounds to achieve the same goal, and being able to effectively share your ideas, views, and feedback is crucial. Plus, as you’re figuring out how to launch your startup into the world, you’ll be interacting with and listening to customers and users more than ever before. And finally, startups (successful ones, anyway) grow quickly, with new people being added to the team all the time.
The best way to let startups know that you’re a great communicator is, of course, to show them. Have a story—and know how to tell it—about the skills and experience you bring to the table. And most importantly, talk openly and excitedly about why…

5. You’re Excited to Ditch the Corporate World

Frankly, there’s a reason you’re considering leaving your corporate job for a startup. You want to be part of building something world-changing, to have a real say in company decisions, and to take on more responsibilities than you currently have.
Well, this right here might just be your biggest asset.
Hands down, the #1 thing that startups look for in their employees is passion for helping the product and company succeed. “People I've hired from corporate backgrounds all cite the same reason for leaving their jobs when we interview them—they want to be at a place where they can meaningfully contribute to the growth of the company,” says Deepti Sharma Kapur, founder of FoodtoEat. “They are dedicated to building the company from the ground up and are passionate about achieving their goals.”
The lesson: Think deeply about what it is you really want out of joining a startup and—more importantly—the types of companies and products you want to work on. Then, share this passion in everything you do—from networking with employees to discussing what you could do for the company in your interview.
The good news? A corporate job provides tons of experience you can use to get a gig at a startup—you just need to know how to shape it. And that’s probably the best piece of advice we can give: Know when your corporate experience is an asset, but be able to show and explain how you’ll succeed in a totally different environment. The best hires, explains Marc Ioli, business development manager at Appboy, “know when to tap on their corporate experience but don’t let it define them.”
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Blogging Was Hobby but Now, It Is A Profession

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Do you blog? Maybe you chronicle your travels, report on the issues in your industry, or share your latest fashion finds with the world. Blogging can be a hobby, a way to build your brand, or a line on your resume that can help you land a job.

But did you know that it can be a job, too? While the majority of blogs are personal platforms, Technorati estimates that up to 39% of bloggers do it for money. Plus, Hubspot reports that companies are increasingly shifting marketing dollars to blogging and social media, creating more opportunities for contractors, freelancers, or full-time employees to blog for a paycheck.
So how do you go from blogger-on-the-side to blogging for someone else? Building and showing your skills through a personal blog is a great place to start. And from there, here are the five key things you’ll need to turn your hobby into a job.

1. Know Your Blog

If you haven’t already, take inventory of your own blog. What is your niche and demographic? What types of strategies have you used to get your blog noticed? How do you plan and organize your content? Keeping a record of your own successes as a blogger will help you identify what you can bring to a company’s strategy and how to craft your resume. Similarly, noting the areas where you can grow will show you where to focus as you’re improving your blogging skills.

2. Get Noticed

As you know, blogging isn’t just about writing, it’s also about getting others to read your writing. Standing out in the blogosphere takes effort—but it’s a key skill employers will be looking for. So focus on getting your personal blog out there: Network with other bloggers, participate in social networks, and attend industry or blogger events. Even if your blog is in the handmade goat cheese mini-niche, if you’re getting noticed, you’re doing something right, and that’s a great story to tell in a job interview.

3. Write

In addition to writing (regularly) for your own blog, establish outside credibility by contributing to other blogs and publications, too. This will not only enhance your writing skills, it’ll get your name in the blogosphere and help you make new contacts. A lot of blogs take contributors or guest posts, so start with what you know and branch out. If you write a food blog, see if you can guest post for other food bloggers, then try pitching a kid-friendly recipe to a family blog.

4. Diversify Your Skills

The best blogs have more than just words. They include high-quality visuals, an appealing layout, creative content, and interactive features. So think about the other skills you can bring to the table aside from writing—such as photography, design, or technical capabilities. And if you don’t have any yet? Pick one and use your own blog to develop it. Try taking your own photos instead of using Creative Commons-licensed images, or try your hand at customizing a header. Developing skills from coding to graphic design to video production can give you a big boost over other blogging candidates.

5. Apply

Once you’ve beefed up your blogging resume, the process of finding a corporate blogging position isn't too different from finding any other new job, with a couple of exceptions. First, keep in mind that “blogger” may not always be in the position title, so make sure to check out communications, marketing, and other related keywords. (A lot of blogging jobs get posted on specialized or writing-oriented sites, so start with ProBloggerMedia Bistro, and Freelance Writing Jobs.)
Next, consider part-time blogging positions. Not all companies have the dollars to dedicate a person to a full-time blogger, but that’s OK, especially when you’re starting out. Consider getting your feet wet and some experience through a part-time or freelance position.
Finally, make sure your blog is in order (the first thing an employer will do is click that link) and that your cover letter demonstrates your creativity, passion, and writing prowess. After all, that’s exactly what your future employer is after.

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