How to Craft Your Resume When Applying For a Startup

How to Craft Your Resume When Applying For a Startup

You may have crafted a resume before, in the process of applying to a job. But when preparing to apply to a startup, your resume may have to look a little different. Startups differ from traditional companies, and their approach to hiring is accordingly different. To give yourself the best shot at the position, there are a few factors to consider when preparing your resume.

Things to Keep in Mind About Startups

As we’ve said, startups are different from traditional businesses, and this will affect the application and hiring mentality of their recruitment officers.

  • Startups don’t have a lot of hiring resources — it’s often one person doing the recruiting and they have to field many applications. It’s important that you make their job easier by making your resume clear and focused for the role.
  • They’re holding out for the perfect candidate. Startups are very passionate about hiring the right people, so they’re going to search carefully for the exact person they want. Your resume should reflect the reasons why you are the perfect candidate.
  • They value different things, namely, they are looking for a personality fit, for passion, for something beyond the traditional resume. They’re looking to create a culture, and your resume should show that you share their values.

What To Include on Your Resume

So how can you tailor your resume to a startup’s specific asks? Here are some things to include:

  • Any big-business experience. Though startups are the opposite of a big business, they often hire from these businesses, because workers coming out of them are skilled and talented, and also want to break away from that world.
  • Entrepreneurial experience. Startups want to see that you’re more than just the traditional jobs you’ve had. They want to see that you’re a self-starter and motivated to accomplish things outside your regular job.
  • Quantifiable accomplishments/results. Startups are looking for solutions and results, so showing that you’ve previously delivered these, how, and how much, will show that you’re ready to take on their challenges.
  • Clarity. Your resume must be very clear and concise, as this saves time for the recruiter and makes it more likely that they’ll find you appealing. A complicated resume, both visually and verbally, will frustrate them and likely make them pass on you.
  • List their keywords. Recruiters are looking for a specific role and specific skills, so if they’re listed on the job description and you have them, include them word-for-word in your resume.
  • Passion and knowledge in the industry. Passion for the industry is key at startups; often everyone working at one is a wiz in the industry, someone too innovative to loiter in a traditional role. They also tend to know a lot about their job. Show you’re both and you’re bound to stand out.
  • Culture fit. Fitting into the office culture is key for startups, who are looking to create a new and better environment than the ones they likely left. Find out what the company values and whether you align with those values. If you do, make this clear in your resume.


Startup jobs seem difficult to land, but with the right factors in mind and a solid resume that highlights all of the above, you’re well on your way to a final interview.