How to Tailor your resume for Startups and SMEs

So, you’ve found a startup you definitely want to work at, or an SME that seems a perfect fit for you. But when you read their job postings, you notice they’re different from the dry, formulaic stuff you normally see from MNCs.

It follows that if you want to appeal to a startup, your (equally dry and formulaic) basic resume won’t do the trick. To show them why they ought to invite you down, it’s crucial to demonstrate that you’re “on their level” – and the job posting is a great place to start taking your cues from.

Hence, if you’re tweaking your resume to appeal to a startup, we recommend:

  1. Wit and wordplay

    Ditch the buzzwords and well-worn phrases out of business textbooks. A startup normally has a more laid-back culture, and many of them appreciate a good joke. We’re not saying to script a brand-new comedy for submission, but a few puns and metaphors will show your humour and style.

  1. A clear summary statement

    As startups run a tighter ship, sometimes the person looking through the resumes may not be a dedicated HR staff but the office manager or even the CEO himself. These people have even less time than the average hiring manager to find a good candidate, so make their search easy with a big, bold summary statement about yourself up top.

  1. You “Get” the culture

    There are thousands of startups in Singapore, each with a culture of its own. Don’t get caught up in “startup stereotypes” and research the company to make sure you’re pitching your resume right. Look through the corporate website, Facebook, LinkedIN pages and don’t forget blogs and channels (if they have them). This research will also help you decide if you want to apply there in the first place.

  1. A list of successes

    Hopefully, you’ve previously tuned your resume to list your accomplishments rather than your tasks. This recommendation goes for any application, startup or no. Instead of reciting what you did, focus on what value you brought to your previous company. Include numbers and statistics to really bring your point across, and wait for the callbacks to come in.

  1. Targeted skills

    Go through the job posting and make sure you mention the skills the company wants. Startups may be looking for very different skills compared to larger companies. These include passion for their product or service, flexibility, and a willingness to go the extra mile. (For some, a sense of humour or a laid-back personality is a must as well!) If you have these skills, make sure you highlight them in your application!

Start your journey with a startup (ahem!) on the right foot with our tips, and apply with confidence!

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash