Startup Resume Examples & Writing Guide for 2023

Startups often pride themselves on unearthing the best talent that’s comfortable in a fast-paced environment. So ensure your resume is up to the task with our top tips.
Klára Červeňanská — Copywriter
Klára Červeňanská
Last updated: Nov. 17, 2023
Average: 4.8 (5 votes)
Co-Founder at The Agrocal Company CV Sample
Created with Kickresume

Average: 4.8 (5 votes)

Creating a standout startup resume is like crafting a business pitch — presenting your skills and experience in a way that captures the interest of fast-paced startup recruiters. 

With practical tips and real-world examples, we're here to help you navigate this task with ease. So, let's turn your startup resume into your career launchpad!

Read on and learn all about:

  • Resume summary and objective for your startup resume
  • Including top skills in your startup resume
  • Writing a compelling work experience section
  • Listing your education in an impactful way
  • Highlighting relevant projects in a dedicated “Projects” section
  • Boosting your prospects with an 'Awards and achievements' section
  • Formatting your resume properly
  • Startup resources for job seekers
  • Understanding the differences between a resume and cover letter
  • Average salary and job outlook for business & financial professions

Looking for more samples? Find inspiration among 1,700+ resume samples belonging to real people who got hired with the help of Kickresume.

1. Choose between a resume summary or objective for your startup resume

In the world of startups, the top lines of your resume play an even more critical role than in traditional corporate settings. 

While corporate recruitment mainly focuses on necessary skills, startups usually hunt for the full package — skill set, experience, personality, drive, and boldness to embrace the startup roller-coaster ride. 

This short text is your first and best chance at convincing them you bring all this and more. 

Now, you can choose to craft either a resume summary or resume objective — but which is right for you?

A resume summary is ideal when you have significant experience in the industry or role you're applying for. Imagine it as your 'elevator pitch' to potential employers, a quick snapshot of your relevant skills, achievements, and career background. 

A resume objective works best for those with limited professional experience or making career changes. It focuses less on past work and more on your current career goals and dedication to applying your set of transferable skills to the intended role.

Let's have a look at some examples...

Example of resume summary for a startup

Driven technology specialist with a 5-year track record in startup environments. Successfully launched two software products, boosting annual revenue by 70%. Led three major projects from idea to market. Expert at managing cross-functional teams and delivering ahead of schedule. Equipped with a blend of tech savviness and business acumen, ready to drive further startup success.

Example of resume objective for a startup

Proactive and adaptable professional, eager to apply my strong academic foundation in marketing and technology to the exciting startup environment. Despite limited industry experience, I have a proven record of managing social media campaigns and increasing online traction by 40% for a university project. Enthusiastic to bring my creative skills, resourcefulness, and unwavering commitment to a progressive startup aiming for robust growth.

If writing is not your strong suit, you can try our AI resume writer tool, which utilizes GPT-4 to help you write sections for your resume.

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2. Include the best hard and soft skills for your startup resume

When it comes to your startup resume, selecting the perfect combination of hard and soft skills is crucial for standing out in the competitive startup landscape.

Hard skills showcase your technical expertise, industry knowledge, and proficiency in specific tools or technologies.

Soft skills demonstrate your interpersonal abilities, adaptability, and leadership qualities.

Striking the right balance between the two can paint a holistic picture of your capabilities and potential. So, whether it's coding wizardry, data analysis, exceptional communication, or a knack for problem-solving, carefully curate your skill set to align with the demands of the startup world.

Best hard skills for your startup resume

  • Programming languages (e.g., Python, Java, JavaScript)
  • Web and app development
  • Data analysis and visualization
  • Digital marketing and SEO
  • Project management
  • Financial modeling and analysis
  • UI/UX design
  • Product management
  • Content creation and copywriting
  • Social media management

Best soft skills to put on your startup resume

  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Communication and presentation
  • Leadership and initiative
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Time management and multitasking
  • Resilience and perseverance
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Networking and relationship building

startup resume skills examples

3. Write a compelling work experience section

The work experience section of your startup resume is your chance to showcase your accomplishments, demonstrate your impact, and highlight the value you can bring to a startup environment.

It's not just about listing job titles and responsibilities; it's about telling a compelling story of how you've made a difference in previous roles.

In the work experience section, remember to include:

  • Results you've achieved
  • Challenges you've overcome
  • Quantifiable achievements (e.g., revenue growth, cost savings, or user engagement metrics) 
  • Action verbs (these are verbs like developed, implemented, or executed, which bring a level of confidence to your resume)
  • Powerful adjectives 

By painting a holistic picture of your experience and emphasizing your entrepreneurial mindset, you'll make your startup resume shine and prove that you're the ideal candidate to help a startup achieve its ambitious goals.

Example of how to list your work experience in a startup resume

Sales Manager, XYZ Startup April 2019 - April 2021

  • Led a high-performing sales team in driving revenue growth of 150% within the first year of operation.
  • Developed and executed strategic sales plans, identifying key target markets and forging partnerships with influential clients, resulting in a 50% increase in customer base.
  • Implemented a streamlined sales process, leveraging CRM tools and automation, resulting in a 30% reduction in lead-to-close time 

4. Showcase your education in an impactful way

When it comes to listing education on your startup resume, it's important to highlight relevant academic achievements that showcase your knowledge and skills.

While startups often prioritize practical experience and a proactive mindset, education still holds value and can be an asset in demonstrating your foundation in a particular field.

Include your highest level of education, such as your degree, university name, and graduation year. If you have any academic honors, such as Dean's List or scholarships, be sure to mention them.

Additionally, highlight any coursework or projects that are directly relevant to the startup industry or the position you're applying for. This demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning and your ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios.

While education may not be the sole determining factor for success in a startup, it can still contribute to your overall profile and showcase your dedication to personal and professional growth.

Example of how to list education on your startup resume

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science XYZ University May 2018

Relevant Courses

  • Software Development: Built several web and mobile applications using programming languages such as Java, Python, and JavaScript.
  • Database Management: Designed and implemented a database system for a startup, optimizing data storage and retrieval processes.

Find out your resume score!

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5. Highlight relevant projects in a dedicated “Projects” section 

A 'Projects' section not only provides concrete examples of your technical skills, it also showcases your ability to initiate, execute, and successfully complete tasks — a must-have attribute in the world of startups. 

In short, it allows you to tell your story in a way that a list of job roles may not. 

Relevancy is key — pick projects closely related to the role you're applying for. 

If you're applying for a technical role, examples of coding projects, product designs, or data analysis would be relevant. You can even include your GitHub on a resume.

If it's a creative/marketing role, you might want to include designs, marketing campaigns, content creation, etc. 

The secret is to tie these projects back to the key responsibilities and required skills of the job you're applying for. 

Each project should provide the following information: 

  • The goal/task of the project
  • The tools or technologies you used
  • The outcome of the project. If you can, quantifying the impact of your role (e.g., "increased web traffic by 30%") will make your resume more compelling. 
  • Respective links

Projects section example for a startup resume

Social Media Campaign for Local Charity (2022) 

  • Successfully designed and launched a 4-month-long social media campaign to increase the charity's brand reach and fundraising. 
  • Tools: Canva, Buffer, Google Analytics
  • Outcome: Increased the charity's social media followers by 35%, resulting in a 20% increase in donations.
  • [insert campaign URL]

E-commerce Website Development (2021)

  • Constructed a user-friendly and responsive website interface for a local retail store transitioning to online sales.
  • Tools: JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Shopify
  • Outcome: The new platform improved user experience, leading to a 40% increase in online sales within the first three months.
  • [insert website URL]

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6. Boost your prospects with an 'Awards and achievements' section

Adding an awards and achievements section is a great way to easily showcase your excellence. 

Here's why: It's one thing to say you're good at what you do and entirely another to show that recognized organizations have recognized your ability. 

See, some people like to say whatever they want on a resume, without it actually being the truth. However, if you have tangible proof of your excellence, you're providing tangible proof of your skills, resilience, and high performance — qualities every startup craves.

For a tech job, coding competition or tech innovation awards will allow you to flaunt your skills. For a marketing job, successful campaigns or writing competition wins echo your creativity and impact. 

What to list in your "Awards and achievements" section?

  • The award or achievement name
  • Who awarded it (eg., name of institution)
  • The year you earned it
  • Description of the purpose of the award / what you did to earn it

Example awards and achievements entries

First Place in Data Science Competition

  • Awarded by: TechFest 2021 Organizing Committee 
  • Date: June 2021
  • Led a team to design an algorithm using machine learning to streamline supply chain processes.

Top prize at Meta Content Creation Contest

  • Awarded by: Meta
  • Date: November 2020
  • Crafted a digital marketing campaign for a local business that increased their online visibility by 50%.

7. Nail the presentation with a stellar format and design

You've got the content, now it's time to make it shine. 

Here's the thing — your resume's format isn’t just about creating a visual treat. It's about ensuring that the right information gets noticed and remembered. 

It aids readability, helps emphasize your strongest points, and ultimately makes your application more effective.

For a startup resume, go with:

  • Combination resume format. As the name suggests, it combines both chronological and functional resume formats. By highlighting your skills at the beginning, you draw attention to your abilities right off the bat. Follow this up with a chronological listing of your work experience to cement your credentials and gives weight to your listed skills. 
  • Color scheme. Choose a professional color scheme that matches the tone of the startup (it adds a nice touch). Vibrant startups might appreciate a splash of color, while more conservative ones may prefer a traditional black & white resume.
  • Template. If you choose one of our Kickresume templates, we suggest Ladder or Red. These templates have a great visual separation of chapters and offer many color combinations. Red is particularly suited for making your skills section pop.

If you can't be bothered with formatting, our resume builder takes care of it for you, plus it gives your letter a stunning design. 

Find out your resume score!

Our AI Resume checker can scan your resume for issues and give you tips on how you can improve it.
Resume Analytics

8. Understand the differences between a resume and a cover letter

While both resumes and cover letters play a crucial role in your job application, they each serve different functions and should be approached accordingly. 

A resume provides a concise summary of your educational background, work history, and skills. It is typically more factual and direct, focusing on your qualifications and experiences.Resumes require specific formatting, typically with bullet points under each section.

A cover letter, on the other hand, is your opportunity to tell your professional story. It provides context for your resume, enabling you to delve into specific experiences and explain how they’ve prepared you for the potential role.

Cover letters can (and should) be tailored to each specific job application, showing how you are a fit for this particular role and the company.

While they have distinct purposes, both your resume and cover letter should weave together to present a comprehensive picture of your professional persona. Creating synergy between the two is your ticket to catching the hiring manager's attention.

9. Average salary and job outlook for business & financial professions

For those considering a career path in business and financial professions, the forecast is encouraging. Based on the most recent data, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects overall employment in this sector to grow faster than the average for all occupations from 2022 to 2032.

This robust growth means that job opportunities in this industry abound. An estimated 911,400 openings are projected annually on average in these fields.

Financial rewards in this profession are also relatively high. As of May 2022, the median annual wage in business and financial occupations reached $76,850. This salary is considerably higher than the median annual wage for all occupations, which stood at $46,310. 

With a healthy job outlook and attractive salary, business and startup professionals certainly hold a lot of promise for aspirants in the coming years.

10. Startup resources for job seekers

Startups present unique opportunities and challenges. Therefore, equipping yourself with the right tools and resources can give your startup job hunt a competitive edge. Here's a list of useful resources to aid your startup job search:

  • AngelList: This is a top platform for startups, where they post job listings frequently. It offers in-depth information about potential employers. 
  • Startupers: An exclusive job board for startup opportunities. It's an easy-to-use platform with diverse job listings.
  • CrunchBoard: This is the official job board of TechCrunch, a leading technology media platform. It's rich with tech-oriented startup job listings.
  • LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn to network with startup founders and employees, and to discover new job opportunities.
  • VentureLoop: VentureLoop works with venture capital firms to list portfolio job postings. It's an insider resource for job seekers interested in startup careers.
  • Learn: It's important to continuously upgrade your skills and knowledge. Websites such as Coursera can help with obtaining relevant skills sought by startups.

Remember, the startup world can offer a dynamic and challenging work environment, fostering accelerated learning and growth. These resources will put you in the driver's seat when hunting for startup jobs.

Key takeaways: Startup resume

To sum everything up, here's how you turn your average resume into one that scores you a job in an exciting start-up in 7 steps:

  • Write either a compelling resume summary or objective, depending on your experience level for the specific role
  • Include the best hard and soft skills for your startup resume.
  • Make your startup resume shine with a compelling work experience section containing powerful action verbs. 
  • Showcase your education in an impactful way by highlighting relevant coursework and projects.
  • Highlight relevant projects in a dedicated "Projects" section and include the URLs.
  • Boost your prospects with an "Awards and achievements" section to provide tangible proof of your skills.
  • Nail the presentation with a combination resume format and a design that matches the start-up energy.
  • It’s always beneficial to take advantage of various resources. These may include job listing websites specifically catered to startup positions, networking events focused on the startup community, and educational materials to improve skills relevant to startup culture.
Published on Aug. 2, 2023

While creativity can be appreciated in many startup environments, it's crucial that your resume remains professional and easy to understand. Keep it simple, clear, and focused on your most relevant skills and experiences.

It's beneficial to show that you understand the startup industry. However, avoid using buzzwords or jargon excessively, and make sure that your experiences and skills can be understood by anyone reading your resume.

Typically, a resume should be one to two pages long. For those targeting a startup job, it can be beneficial to keep it on the shorter side, highlighting only the most relevant skills and experiences, as startup recruiters are often pressed for time. 

The startup industry recognizes that failures are part of the learning curve, so it's not necessarily a drawback to include such experiences. Instead, emphasize the lessons you learned and how they made you a better professional.

Highlight experiences where you have taken on multiple roles or adapted to changing situations quickly. Use specific examples to demonstrate your ability to learn new skills on the job or handle unexpected challenges.

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Klara recently graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After having written resumes for many of her fellow students, she got an opportunity to write full-time for Kickresume. Klara is our go-to person for all things related to student or 'no experience resumes'. At the same time, she has written some of the most popular resume advice articles on this blog. When she's not writing, you'll probably find her chasing dogs or people-watching while sipping on a cup of coffee.

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