5 hacks for jobseekers to catch a VC’s attention

June 16, 2017

Apparently my recent post, “So you want a job in Venture Capital?” proved popular (bumped me up a hosting bandwidth pricing tier, but hey it’s for a good cause).

Some people suggested that since I downplayed the value of drafting a sample investment memo, I should offer some constructive and concrete actions that ambitious jobseekers could consider in order to be noticed by a VC.

Point taken. So while I cannot speak for other VCs, here are five things which would catch my attention:

  1. Offer to write a “quick-look.” Rather than a draft investment memo, which is highly specific to the internal machinations of each VC firm, a one-pager quick-look analysis on a deal is far more versatile and efficient. For an example of a venture capital quick-look document, feel free to search the web or contact me.
  2. Offer to compile our portfolio companies’ historic budget and actual financials into a concise, easy-to-read Excel spreadsheet. As much as we try to standardize our internal reporting, every portfolio company is unique and possesses its unique format of shareholder reporting. Maintaining an accurate and updated synthesis document is an ongoing need at our fund. (Note: this is a bold one because if I enter into an NDA with you to share data, you’re taking a first step to a more formal working relationship).
  3. Offer to provide a market assessment of competitors of one of my portfolio companies. This is another example of an effort which is performed in detail at the time of the initial investment yet not always refreshed as the years go by and the market evolves. Portfolio company CEOs usually prioritize other activities with their limited bandwidth (and I often discourage them from obsessing too much over what their competitors are doing).
  4. Offer to do some groundwork research or other assistance for my blog. A student once offered to redesign some of the images on my blog posts and sent me a couple eye-catching samples. Three weeks later I hired him as an intern. I seem to be regularly facing some minor, nagging WordPress issue which needs attention, so this is an easy one.
  5. Offer to create a concise overview pitch deck encapsulating the core message of my portfolio companies onto one slide each. (Another sneaky hack because by building your knowledge of our portfolio, you start to make yourself indispensable).

These are just five ideas off the top of my head. The fallback option which practically never fails is to simply contact the VC and ask openly, “How can I save you time?”


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posted in venture capital by mark bivens

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