Startup tech jobs go begging -- how to get yours

More than 14,000 jobs are waiting to be filled at startups, including thousands for software engineers and developers

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Be a generalist. Being a generalist will get you noticed, too. Big companies can afford to have people with narrow skill sets, but startups can't, says Vijay Krishan, co-founder of Infoaxe, an intelligent-search startup with just 18 employees. Instead, startups are looking for people with passion who value the significantly greater opportunity to learn and grow at a fledgling firm compared to working with a larger, established company.

Showcase previous startup experience. Where you've worked in the past matters. Startups have a preference for people who've worked at startups previously. In fact, nearly one-quarter of the applicants on StartUpHire.com have at least one startup under their belt. On the other hand, there's an unfortunate stereotype in the industry regarding government contractors; people think they have a "fat and happy" attitude, says Roberson, making it harder for government-experienced techs to get startup jobs.

Focus on your cover letter. Although this bit of advice sounds old-fashioned, it isn't: Spend a lot of time on your cover letter -- don't just repeat what's already in your résumé. "Connect the dots, emphasize how you've helped other companies solve problems and pushed the envelope," counsels Roberson.

The question of age. This factor is very hard to pin down. Age discrimination is illegal, but many people suspect that the long hours and fierce dedication needed at a startup make it tough for anyone with gray hair to be hired. Roberson says he's not seeing that bias these days, although we've all heard anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

Where the startup jobs are

Not surprisingly, California has the largest number of startup jobs listed on StartUpHire: 36 percent or more than 5,000 positions, an increase of 123 percent over last year. As you'd expect, the other hot spots are New York, Massachusetts, Washington, and Texas.

In terms of industry, more than half the jobs are located in two sectors: software, with 36 percent of the jobs, and IT services, with just under 21 percent. No other sector has as much as 6 percent of the remaining jobs. Of those also-rans, business services leads at 5.7 percent, followed by clean tech and networking, each registering 4.8 percent of the posted slots.

Engineering and product development have the highest ratio of jobs to applicants, followed by IT (in general), quality assurance and testing, and sales. On the other side of the curve, administration, HR, manufacturing, and operations have the highest ratio of applicants to jobs.

Some of these jobs are hard to get, but the balance of power has shifted to the applicant, says Krishan: "It's simple. There are too many opportunities and not enough talent." Go for it, and good luck.

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This article, "Startup tech jobs go begging -- how to get yours," was originally published by InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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