How to apply for a tech startup when you didn’t study IT

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The tech scene dubbed ‘Silicon Savannah’ is a good hiring ground for Kenyan graduates at the moment as it is a growing market.

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Tech startups are quite the rage these days, and Kenya is no exception in this regard. The tech scene dubbed ‘Silicon Savannah’ is a good hiring ground for Kenyan graduates at the moment as it is a growing market.

Growth in the tech sector has led to an influx of IT graduates looking for entry-level opportunities in startups as programmers or coders. While such education backgrounds are integral for tech startups, you may wish to work in a tech company but are concerned your lack of IT skills will limit your chances. However, you shouldn’t be worried about that at all. To help you secure an interview at a tech startup, here are several tips to get your foot in the door.

Soft skills are important for graduates

Working for a tech startup isn’t necessarily about being a software or web developer. You can work in other capacities such as an accountant, graphic designer, an admin or maybe a business development role.

Graduates need to be aware of the fact that tech jobs are constantly evolving and the hiring managers are looking for different qualities in candidates than before.  It is not enough to have a degree and have experience working in the IT sector or a similar position, but you must have ‘soft’ skills such as the ability to adapt, being a team player and have a knack for problem solving.

Passion for the company trumps education or experience

Companies are interested in well-rounded employees who can connect with people to create products and services that add value to the lives of users. Tech companies will ultimately hire people who are passionate about the company’s products and love what they do, as opposed to purely their education or experience.

Therefore, whether you are applying for a job at a startup that focuses on bitcoin in Africa or a startup that is developing a new social media app, as long as you can demonstrate that you are eager to learn and contribute to their company’s success, you will be able to get your foot in the door.

Tailor make your CV to reflect your strong points

Think of your CV as a pitch for a product and the product is you. Ideally, it should cover one page and communicate three important points. This includes the relevant work experience, the applicable education and your passion for what the company does. These key points will be spread across the following sections on your profile, educational background and work experience.

In the experience section begin each line item with an active verb such as designed, sold or created and follow the description with your achievements. Your results should be quantifiable, for instance; cost reductions, sales targets or shipping orders.

Once you have prepared your CV have someone else look through it for typos or grammatical errors. It may be a less formal working environment but attention to detail is still a major requirement for local startups. 

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