As a few of you know, we recently wrapped up the Venture University program for Cohort one! I’ve been a bit underwater as of late being what my girlfriend likes to call “fulltime unemployed.” Jokes aside, the VC job search process is an arduous one — which I’m sure many of you know. I’ve been quite busy as of late, but I have a lot of really fantastic updates I hope to share in the coming days.
I thought about writing a post on the two traditional routes into VC: PE/Banking and Startups. However, I don’t want this blog to be what many VC blogs are, which is a regurgitation of the same content. I thought I’d instead share what I’m doing that may be a little “outside the box” thinking. If you’re not a banker or a startup guru, you’ll need to be a bit creative when it comes to breaking into the industry. Associates tasked with hiring new analysts neither want or need to take a bet on people that don’t meet the criteria they typically look for.
If you’re an avid reader of the blog (thank you!), you’ll recall that I often promote the idea that it’s never too early to work on your VC network or deal flow. These are two ways you can really add value to a firm. So, I thought I’d shed some light on how I’m working on that now.
I hope that this insight will be a little more valuable than the conversation I had with my colleague and friend, Michael, the other night on creative ways to get folks to read your resume. I’m not sure I’m quite brave enough yet to be a Sand Hill Road Uber driver who passes out his resume or to duct tape my resume inside bathroom stalls at investor summits.
Attending Summits, Demo Days, and More
I’m lucky enough to where I can now use either Skyler (VU boss) or my status as a VC investor to get into events — sometimes for free! However, some of you will have to get a little more creative. One thing you can do is sign up to be a volunteer at the event and just network while you’re there.
While you’re there, you can meet a ton of awesome people and see a lot of cool deals and industry trends. Attending these things supports the narrative that you’re an involved member of the startup community, and will help you keep an open conversation with the people in your network. Also, sharing a deal with a VC that ends up investing in said deal is likely the best way to get a job at a firm. This is coming to mind as I just wrapped up an awesome event put on by Primary Venture Partners in NYC.
Don’t Be Shy
If you subscribe to enough mailing lists, you’ll hear about every new fund being raised under the sun. When a fund is raised, often hiring follows. Reach out to the managing director or a general partner and ask about if there is an opportunity. The worst possible outcome is just a no. Get comfortable with a no, because if you’re going down this path, you’ll be hearing a lot of them. So, if you see a posting for a VP position and you only feel qualified enough to be an analyst or associate, still shoot out a note and see if they’d be open to hiring an analyst as well.
Leverage Your Alma Mater
Conveniently, USC just launched the Marshall Venture Fund, where they’ll be investing in startups founded by Trojan alumni, students, or faculty. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get involved any way I can. However, the point here is that colleges are often up to really incredible things that can help you with your career. Make sure to check back with your university and see if there is anything you can get involved with, people you can connect with, or even a way to give back. An open, healthy relationship with your college is always a great thing.
I’m hoping to transition this blog into more of a conversational medium. What do/did you guys do to find that coveted VC job? I’ve heard a few creative stories, and I’d love to hear some more.