Find a Job at a Startup

Once you become a Fellow, it’s time to find a job. Don't worry, we'll help you every step of the way.

The Job Match Process

Unlike many traditional fellowship programs, we don’t place Fellows in specific roles. Instead, we will help you find the right fit through our Match process.

We simplify and speed up the job search process, but make no mistake—it is still a job search process. It will be your responsibility to find the right fit. But you don’t have to do any of this alone. 

Once you’re accepted, it’s our number one priority to help you find your future team. We’ve coached Fellows & Alumni through thousands of emails, interviews and offer decisions before. You’ll be in charge, and you should approach this as you would any job search process. But we’ll be there to help guide and support you.

How We Help Fellows Find Jobs

Finding the right job match

On our private job portal, VFA Match, each season hundreds of startups list open roles just for Fellows. Once you’re accepted into the Fellowship, you’ll get access to Match.

There, you’ll be able to sort and filter through these roles to find the ones that most interest you. You’ll also post a profile so companies can reach out to you as well. We’ve set the system up to make it easy for both sides to find the right fit.

Once you find an opportunity that looks interesting, you’ll send a short, 1-2 paragraph pitch for the company, explaining your background, why you are interested and what you bring to the role. Don’t worry about what to say, we know this is different from other job searches so our Team will coach you through this and every other step of the process.

Impressing in interviews

With startups’ lean teams and aggressive goals, finding the right fit for new employees is even more important. We make sure our Fellows are ready to impress with interview coaching. Either in person or via webinar, we will guide you through how to frame your background and experience for a startup founder (i.e. why working as a barista makes you an awesome customer success professional), what to wear, and how to prepare for phone and in-person interviews.

Interviews are a two way street, so we’ll also coach you on what you should be looking for from a future boss and team. We will show you how you can root out the opportunities with the most growth potential, figure out which companies are best poised for success, and understand if the team you’re joining is the right culture and personality fit for you.

Speed interviewing for startup jobs

We arrange job fairs each spring in cities across the country. We bring in our startup company partners and set up a day of speed interviews and networking. At a job fair, you’ll be able to interview and meet with as many companies as your schedule allows to find which are the right fit for you.

We also make sure you get the chance to see the city and understand what life working for a startup there would be like. With walking tours and networking events, we want you to feel confident that you’ve found the right role in the right place for you.

Adding a personal touch

For our company partners that are looking for unique skill sets or Fellows with more specific preferences, we make direct introductions on their behalves. Think of this like being contacted by a recruiter for a role that’s perfectly matched to your background.

Most Fellows come with broad-based backgrounds and are able to find the right roles using the typical job search and interview process. When we can help by making curated introductions, we absolutely do.

Private Job Portal

Finding the right job match

On our private job portal, VFA Match, each season hundreds of startups list open roles just for Fellows. Once you’re accepted into the Fellowship, you’ll get access to Match.

There, you’ll be able to sort and filter through these roles to find the ones that most interest you. You’ll also post a profile so companies can reach out to you as well. We’ve set the system up to make it easy for both sides to find the right fit.

Once you find an opportunity that looks interesting, you’ll send a short, 1-2 paragraph pitch for the company, explaining your background, why you are interested and what you bring to the role. Don’t worry about what to say, we know this is different from other job searches so our Team will coach you through this and every other step of the process.

Interview Coaching

Impressing in interviews

With startups’ lean teams and aggressive goals, finding the right fit for new employees is even more important. We make sure our Fellows are ready to impress with interview coaching. Either in person or via webinar, we will guide you through how to frame your background and experience for a startup founder (i.e. why working as a barista makes you an awesome customer success professional), what to wear, and how to prepare for phone and in-person interviews.

Interviews are a two way street, so we’ll also coach you on what you should be looking for from a future boss and team. We will show you how you can root out the opportunities with the most growth potential, figure out which companies are best poised for success, and understand if the team you’re joining is the right culture and personality fit for you.

Job Fairs

Speed interviewing for startup jobs

We arrange job fairs each spring in cities across the country. We bring in our startup company partners and set up a day of speed interviews and networking. At a job fair, you’ll be able to interview and meet with as many companies as your schedule allows to find which are the right fit for you.

We also make sure you get the chance to see the city and understand what life working for a startup there would be like. With walking tours and networking events, we want you to feel confident that you’ve found the right role in the right place for you.

Direct Introductions

Adding a personal touch

For our company partners that are looking for unique skill sets or Fellows with more specific preferences, we make direct introductions on their behalves. Think of this like being contacted by a recruiter for a role that’s perfectly matched to your background.

Most Fellows come with broad-based backgrounds and are able to find the right roles using the typical job search and interview process. When we can help by making curated introductions, we absolutely do.

Accepting Your Job Offer

Accepting Your Job Offer

Fellows who take the job search process seriously can expect to secure at least one job offer; though many do find themselves in the lucky position of having to choose between multiple offers.

The VFA Team will be on hand to help you weigh any offers to make sure the role is the right fit and somewhere you will learn and grow for the two years of the Fellowship. We’ll also be on hand to help you negotiate any salary or compensation packages, though you should keep in mind that the best way for entry-level employees secure higher salaries is to prove themselves on the job. Many Fellows find themselves taking on more responsibility and being promoted or given raises after exceeding their initial performance goals.

Before starting your job, you will head off to Training Camp for five weeks of training and startup preparation. Most Fellows have jobs secured by the beginning of Training Camp but many continue to research, pitch and interview during the summer.

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FAQs

Will VFA place me at a startup or in a city?

Nope! We understand that finding the right job is a complicated thing, and we want every Fellow to find an opportunity that suits them. For that reason, every Fellow drives their own job search process.

Why doesn't VFA just give me a job?

Work is inherently personal and we want our Fellows to enjoy and thrive in their roles. We won’t tell you where you have to work and who you have to work for. Instead we’ll help you find the right role for you, a place where you can see yourself learning and growing as a leader for the two years of the Fellowship and beyond.

What if I only want to work in a specific type of company or role?

Many Fellows take a more targeted approach to the Match process, and focus their search on a particular type of role, industry or geography. Our company partners span almost every industry, product type and business model one can think of.

That said, not every company is hiring every year so we encourage incoming Fellows to cast as wide a net as they can when looking for the right roles. We’ve had many Fellows turn out to be pleasantly surprised by how much they loved a company or city outside of their original criteria.

How does VFA choose its company partners?

Our dedicated Company Partnerships team develops relationships with each company, usually through on-site visits and referrals from local partners. We prioritize leadership, relative financial stability, and a high-potential working and learning environment. That said, these are startups, and things change quickly.

What kind of role will I have at my company?

Fellows fill entry-level startup roles. The actual jobs, responsibilities, and skills of an entry-level employee can often evolve based on the company’s changing needs and direction. Roles include account management, content production, marketing, web development, engineering, data analysis, social media management, sales and business development, operations, or often, some combination of these. No matter the  job title, at many startups, team members end up working on a variety of projects and functions, and what Fellows work on in the first several months may not be what they’re working on several months later. When you’re interviewing for different roles, we’ll encourage you to ask the right questions to figure out what your job will look like, and what opportunities you’ll have for growth.

What type of salary can I expect?

Fellows can typically expect a starting salary of at least $38,000 per year, with some companies offering equity/options. Most Fellows will receive their first paycheck between late August and late September, depending on the payroll practices of their startup. From there, many Fellows earn raises once they prove themselves and add real value to their team—provided they’re excelling and the company is growing.

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