To help job seekers amid this crisis, I’m spending a lot of time doing 1-1s and resume reviews. Below are my most common pieces of advice.
Mail us your resume (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want feedback or pointers. And if you’re looking for a job, check out our active jobs list on Work at a Startup, which makes it simple to browse the 400+ YC companies that are well-funded and actively hiring, including larger ones like Gusto, Brex and Stripe.
Resume: For each position on your resume, be sure to cover what, how and impact.
Lastly, do some spring cleaning. Remove side projects that don’t necessarily match the job, especially if there are more recent examples on your resume. For example, if you’re a lead of a team in your current role, having leadership roles from 10+ years ago in college isn’t as relevant. And trim down each position to 3-4 bullet points, maximum. It makes it easier for the recruiter/hiring manager to read it all, and shows you can be concise and direct.
Cold outreach: Highlight 2-3 things you’d be excited to work on at the company — and why.
When applying to a position, be sure to suggest ways you’d be excited to contribute; include these suggestions on your resume, cover letter or in an intro email. Being a genuine user is a huge plus. These things can helps you stand out from the hundreds of other resumes in the recruiter’s inbox.
At Twitter, I hired a few people who stood out because they showed initiative: suggesting strong product ideas/improvements, outlining plans for go-to-market, or even writing sample code showcasing skills and interest. And I practice this myself; when I interviewed at Lyft, I reversed engineered the API and built a small SDK to perform common tasks. It took a couple nights learning WireShark, but it ultimately helped me land the job.
Considering startups: Ask about runway & burn rate.
Many YC startups are well funded (some even with $10M+ raised) and offer benefits and job security equal to more established companies. If you’re considering startups, know what to ask about, like runway and burn rate.
You should be discussing these things with the founders at least at the offer stage, if not earlier. We tell YC founders to be transparent with this information, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it helps establish mutual trust. You should be wary of founders — YC or otherwise — who are not forthcoming and honest, as a reflection of what to expect later down the road.
The silver lining of the current job market is that 1.) there are still a lot of great companies that are actively hiring (including hundreds of YC companies), and 2.) job offers have not yet decreased — mostly because many of the larger companies are still competing for good talent.
Hopefully the above helps you stand out and get conversations going. At YC, we’ll continue to share more on job hunting, including interviewing and negotiating offers. Reach out if YC or I can help. You got this.