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How to land a job in tech – and why you should consider a start-up for your next career move

By Hollen Spatz, VP of People & Operations at ClassPass

Job hunting is never easy – it’s a challenging process that has been made even more difficult by a global pandemic.

The good news is that opportunities still exist, particularly in the tech world. The pandemic has forced almost every business to move some elements of their business online. Many companies that previously catered to offline experiences now offer a digital product and companies have accelerated their plans for remote work, updating their employee systems to enable home offices.

There are more opportunities than ever before to seek remote work, find a role with some digital footprint and gain tech experience. Here’s how to get started:

Look for companies that have some connection to your hobby or specialty

Are you passionate about a specific social issue, or have a hobby such as playing video games or baking? Start by looking for companies that relate to your interests. You will stand out in a cover letter if you demonstrate knowledge of the industry and a clear reason why you are applying to that company beyond needing a job.

In my role as Head of People at ClassPass, the leading fitness and wellness network, applicants stand out when they are able to express how health and wellness activities have made a positive impact in their life. We are not specifically seeking all-star athletes and there is no requirement that applicants have used ClassPass before they apply, but the genuine energy from candidates who understand and believe in our mission helps them to stand out.

Identify the right job titles

Start by making a list of what you do well. If you’re unsure where to start, ask a friend the top three things that come to mind about you. Are you a great communicator? Is one of your strengths being detail-oriented? Are you the best person they know at keeping a group on schedule? Once you can articulate the strengths you hope to lean into as well as which skills you want to continue to grow, figure out what that job is called at the companies where you may apply. For example, ClassPass uses the title “Customer Experience Associate” for team members who specialize in helping members with questions. Make a short list of the job titles that your target industry is using so that you can more easily locate new opportunities as they are posted.

Revamp your LinkedIn profile to better fit the roles you are applying for – Every industry has their own jargon and buzzwords. Revisit your resume and online portfolios such as LinkedIn to make sure you’re using language that matches the job description of roles that you seek. Make it easy for a recruiting team to quickly understand how your previous experience is transferable.

Look for opportunities to upskill

One of the main things we look for at ClassPass is agility and adaptability. Whether it’s a global pandemic forcing us to accelerate our online strategy or a new product we are excited to launch, we are constantly evolving, taking risks and learning along the way. Two of our core values are “adopt a growth mindset” and “seek to understand.” We want to hire team members who are curious and want to learn new skills on the job and ask questions when they don’t immediately understand the problem they are facing. It’s impactful when we hire a candidate who can talk about actively seeking opportunities to develop their skills. I always encourage people to reach out to someone with the job you’re seeking – ask about what the day to day of the role is like and what skills are needed. If you read a job description and think “that’s what I want to do next,” seek opportunities to learn or strengthen the skills you may be missing – it speaks volumes at an interview and can really help increase your chances of landing a job.

Do the research

Every applicant should spend time researching the companies where they apply. Check out recent blog posts and news about the company, take note of competitor buzz and understand what’s happening in the industry where the company sits. If you can show that you’re passionate about helping that company achieve leader status, you will stand out as an applicant and show the value in asking you to join the team.

Why should you consider a start-up for your next career move?

If you’re up for a challenge and thrive in an environment where you don’t know what will come your way then a startup might be the right place for you!

Small team, Big opportunities

Startups offer a chance to dive in and get hands-on experience. In a small team, it’s also likely you’ll have more responsibility and move into managerial roles quicker than if you joined a larger corporation. Startups also leave more room for experimentation – you can propose an idea that takes weeks or even days to stand up and test with your users or customers.

Passionate colleagues

Many startups are founded on passion and building something that has never been done before. You’ll be able to have the unique experience of being there from the beginning and watching the company scale. That’s not to say that it will be easy – startups come with a lot of long days, but you’ll be working with impassioned teams who are invested in the success of the company you are all building together. Teamwork takes a whole new meaning when working at a startup.

Modern work culture

It’s no myth that joining a startup usually comes hand in hand with a modern work culture. That doesn’t mean that every startup has free beer on tap but it does mean that your employers will probably be more clued up on things that are truly important to your wellbeing such as flexible work hours, fitness benefits, and promoting a positive company culture. At a startup like ClassPass, there are a number of priorities and we move at a rapid pace. However, we always make time for a bit of team fun by organizing interactive events like company-wide virtual workouts and trivia nights!

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