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Are You a Good Candidate for a Startup?

Working at a startup is often more appealing than going the corporate route; however, a recent survey from HireArt suggests that half of job applicants don't actually know what working for a startup company entails.

"People think these days they want to work at a startup. It's a new hot thing. There is an ethos, like 'Oh startups are so sexy,' but people don't really understand what it means," said Elli Sharef, co-founder of HireArt. "It's a ton of grunt work, the pay is really low, a lot of startups are pressure cookers and you have to achieve results quickly. Yeah, there are some really fun parts to it, but one of the things we found is that people aren't realistic about what working for a startup really is."

Before applying for a job at a startup, there are a few things you should know, including the skills every startup needs and will inevitably look for in a new candidate. Sales experience, SEO/SEM knowledge, experience in data analysis, engineering experience and the ability to be flexible with your job description are a combination of skills that are hard to come by, but also ones that will help a startup employee become successful.

That said, it is important to highlight the skills you are best at. Attempting to be great at everything will not impress potential employers.

"Some people we interview come in and say 'I'm an awesome marketer, but in addition I'm really great at business development, and by the way I'm also really wonderful at design, and I also know how to code.' No, clearly you aren't excellent at all those things," Sharef said. "Pick one thing you're good at, and emphasizing that will help you land a job at a startup for sure."

If you have three or more of the skills listed above, you'd probably make a great candidate for a startup company. To ensure the job really is a good fit for you, ask potential employers to break down what a normal day would look like. That way, you know exactly what you're getting into.

Do you have any other tips for applying to startup companies?

More from PayScale

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Why It's Startup Time in America [infographic]

Why We Should Invest in More Women-Owned Startups [infographic]

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(Photo credit: Gangplank HQ/Flickr)

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