4 Tips for Getting Involved in a Startup

Pete Petrella, Managing Director

As many companies have finalized their moves to the Queen City in recent months, the Western New York startup community has continued to attract great startups and emerging businesses to our ecosystem. If you’re on the hunt for a new job, there’s never been a better time to get involved with growth organizations like these.  

Pete Petrella, Managing Director of Viaduct, is here to offer guidance to improve your job search. Here are his four tips to get your foot in the door with a Buffalo startup: 

  1. Offer your services

Startups are always looking for an extra pair of hands and some expertise. Offering to lend a helping one is a great place to start. Whether it’s entering data, researching a particular topic, or creating an infographic in Photoshop, there are always tasks that need to be completed. While these may seem like menial chores, take a step back and consider the value they add to any startup. Your willingness to take on these smaller tasks will allow company leaders to focus more on profitable business opportunities. By showing reliability and dependability, you’re demonstrating your worth. If you claim to be a team player, now is the perfect time to prove it.  

  1. Re-skill

As our world continues to evolve, workers have no choice but to prepare for the future. Think about your talents and examine your abilities. Are there skills that you lack or areas in which you can improve? Ultimately, candidates need to think about how they can make themselves more marketable. Take part in one of the 13,000 courses available on LinkedIn Learning to brush up on your skills. Sign up for virtual workshops and online webinars to learn from industry leaders and business professionals. Look into local opportunities like the Tech Buffalo initiative to take advantage of their training programs on coding and programming. By becoming more proficient in unfamiliar areas, you can repackage yourself to stay ahead of your competition and bring more to the table during your job search. Your mentality of continual self-improvement will only benefit your professional development in the long run. 

  1. Get engaged

Despite COVID-19’s impact on the region, the Buffalo startup ecosystem remains alive and well. If you want to discover more about different startups in the area, join the WNY Startup Community channel on Slack. This network of more than a thousand people helps to aggregate Buffalo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and raise awareness in support of local events. In recent weeks, groups like the Open Coffee Club have shifted their meetings to a virtual setting. Joining these online conversations is another great way to acquaint yourself with leaders and contributors to the startup community.  

  1. Do your homework

Before engaging with any startup, learn more about the organization and its mission. Find out if the company has raised recent funding. Spend time researching awards or recognition that the startup has received. Explore LinkedIn to discover more about the company’s executive leadership and their backgrounds. Understanding what a startup does will ultimately help you to better convey why you’re interested in getting involved in the company. Showing that you have done your research will reflect favorably on your sense of preparation. From there, come up with a list of ways to prove how you can help to better the organization. Sell yourself, your experience, and your skillset. But remember: it’s not just about what the startup can do for you – it’s about what you can do for the startup.   

If you are interested in viewing a list of current job openings at Western New York startups, click here to launch the page on our Viaduct website. You can also browse Forge Buffalo’s startup job board here.     

For more job-seeking tips and insights on the Buffalo startup community, connect with me on LinkedIn

Be sure to stay in tune with all things Viaduct on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.  

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