This blog post was written by Abi.
I get asked quite a lot about how I came to work at Peppersmith so here’s a bit about how I landed the role and importantly some tips if you’re also looking to join a start-up.
For me it was a very much a case of ‘right place, right time’. An old holiday playmate who I hadn’t spoken to in 6 years posted on Facebook about a paid internship (the holy grail) at the little food startup that she worked at.
I was a year out of University, looking to make my break into London from the wilds of Bedfordshire and I loved what Peppersmith was all about. Six months later I had a full time job and I’ve now been there for over 3 years. The great thing about being in a start up is that you get to see how all areas of the business work and in that time I’ve learnt loads about marketing, supply chain, finance and sales.
I know not everyone is fortunate enough to stumble across an opportunity through a friend so here’s a few tips on other ways you can find work at a start up.
1. This may sound obvious but just ask them for a job. If you like the look of a company, send an email with your CV. People who have set up their own businesses are SUPER passionate so explain what attracted you to their company, why you want to be a part of it and how you share their values. DO NOT send a generic email as that’ll never get you anywhere.
Start ups need people that are proactive and passionate and taking the initiative to get in touch is a great way to show that you’re both these things.
2. Follow up. When you first get in touch there may not be an immediate need for help or things may be so busy that the right person hasn’t read your CV. So pick up the phone and call in to check they’ve seen it. In a start-up the phone’s more likely to be picked up by the MD than a receptionist so it’ll also be a good opportunity to make an impression. And if they say there’s no opportunities at that time, check in again in a few months.
Following up shows you have persistence and personality – traits massively valued by start-ups.
3. Offer up your services. Food and drink start ups often do lots of trade and consumer shows. Last year Peppersmith did 17 of them which is a huge amount of work for a small team. Most shows are clustered around Christmas or the beginning of summer and this means that companies are often roping in extra people to help. If you are really keen on a company but they don’t have an opening at the moment, asking to help out at a show may be a way in the back door. You will learn more about the company as well as having the opportunity to show off your skills and make friends with the team.
4. If the little food start up of your dreams doesn’t have any room then ask if they know anyone who does. I will tell you a secret… the food and drink world is SMALL. Everyone knows everyone and everyone is also super keen to help each other. So if you make a good impression you may just end up getting introduced to a company that is an even better fit for you. We have passed on details of a couple of keen people to our foodie network who are now happily employed.
I hope that helps. If you have any other questions on how to get noticed by a food and drink start up then don’t be shy, just drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try and help.