Can we let you in on something?
There’s a way to get matched with over 26,000 employers and land a job at an innovative startup with big ideas and a bright future.
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? It all goes down on AngelList where, if you’ve got the skills and a bit of know-how on selling yourself, the opportunities are endless.
In this guide, we’re going to assume you’ve got the skills bit down and focus on helping you with the know-how. We will show you how to create a profile and position yourself as the ideal candidate. Whether looking for a side hustle, a career change, or just got laid off, AngelList has something for everyone.
But before we get to the tips, just what is AngelList?
What is AngelList?
The best way to describe AngelList is Tinder meets LinkedIn for startups, investors, and job-seekers.
If the thought of that scares you, it really shouldn’t. There’s no swiping left or creepy sales messages.
AngelList is a place for you to create a professional profile and make connections (like LinkedIn), and have people “match” with you (like Tinder).
What makes AngelList different to a job board like Monster or Indeed is that it’s a targeted environment. If you use AngelList it’s because a) you want to invest or work at a startup, or b) you are a startup looking for investors and employees.
The information available to users gives you a far better insight into whether a company is a good fit. Investor, team, equity and, crucially, salary data are all easy to find, meaning less risk of wasting your time applying for jobs at companies that don’t really meet your expectations.
The platform has a database of over 800,000 companies and big brands like Uber, DraftKings, and PillPack have all raised millions in investment. So it’s the real deal.
There also happens to be over 26,000 jobs (at time of writing) waiting to be filled. One of them by someone that looks a lot EXACTLY like you.
Creating your AngelList profile
Your chances of landing a job on AngelList depend massively on the strength of your profile.
Your profile is much the same as your resume or LinkedIn profile but needs to be even more concise.
If you already have a resume you can upload it to save yourself some time creating your profile. If you don’t, it’s worth creating one.
The first part of the profile is straightforward:
- Username (this will be auto-generated based on your name)
- Social and online portfolio links
- Mini-resume (a very brief 160 character overview of your credentials) — focus on your best attributes here, something that really grabs attention. For example: Award-winning marketing manager. Helped grow @Company to $3M in revenue. PhD Computer Science @MIT.
- Role (your current position, i.e. Marketing Manager)
- Profile Photo (a professional headshot works best, a la LinkedIn)
The next part focuses more on your skills, attributes, and credentials:
- Experience — companies you’ve worked for, founded, advised, or been on the board of
- Projects — things you’ve worked on
- Education — college degrees and achievements
- About — expanding on your mini-resume
- References — former colleagues, employers, teachers or other professionals that are willing to put in a good word for you
- Investments — any companies you’ve invested in (usually only applicable to investors)
Before you begin writing out these sections, we recommend checking out our guide on writing a resume. It’ll teach you how to tailor each section for maximum impact.
There are four key rules to keep in mind when creating the second part of your profile:
1. Keep it short and sweet
Limit descriptions to 3-4 sentences/bullet points that focus on the aspects most relevant to the industry you’re looking to work in. Before writing, take a look at some jobs that you’re interested in. Check out what skills the employer is looking for and what sort of language they’re using and replicate it in your own profile.
Startups want someone who is a good fit and speaking their language is a great start.
2. Quantify everything
Numbers help potential employers see the impact you’ve made in a previous job. Quantifying achievements makes them leap off the screen.
Take a look at this job description:
Duties include managing onsite and offsite content and SEO, using Google Analytics to analyze and report on progress across multiple multiple marketing channels.
A bit 'meh', right? Let's give it a number-filled makeover:
Content marketing manager responsible for 384% growth in website traffic, contributing to a 38% increase in sales in 12 months. Plain text says “I can do these things.” Numbers say “I can make you money.”
Numbers help get you hired.
3. Play to your strengths
A great (and underused) feature of the AngelList profile is the ability to reorder sections. This means you get to show off your best bits first and push weaker areas to the bottom.
For example, if you’re a recent graduate without a lot of work experience, you can move Education to the top of the list and put your degree in the spotlight.
If the things you’ve worked on carry more weight than the jobs you’ve had, you can move Projects the top of the list.
4. No typos
A typo in your profile makes for a terrible first impression. So bad, that a lot of employers will discount you because of it. Take start-up founder and AngelList recruiter, Janine Yorio’s advice on this:
“Check your content. Then double-check it. Again. Your AngelList profile and your LinkedIn profile should be thoroughly proofread, complete and devoid of errors. If I see a typo in one of these places, then I know that you aren’t detail-oriented. Game over.”
Finding and applying for jobs
Once your profile is complete you can set about finding a startup to hire you.
In the Jobs section of your account, you can give potential employers a little more insight into whether you’re the right fit.
First things first, set the right status. You’ve got four options here:
- Starting to look — you’re just starting on your job hunt
- Actively interviewing — you’re actively looking for work and are ready to interview
- Open to offers — you’re not looking for work but open to new opportunities
- Closed to offers — you’re not looking and don’t want to hear about opportunities
Right now, you'll want to select option 1 or 2. In a few weeks time, when you’ve dazzled employers with your profile, option 4 is the one you'll need.
Next, you can select whether you want to work full-time, part-time, as a contractor or intern, choose your salary, and list any and all locations you’re willing to work. Check the required authorization and you’re good to go.
Filtering the job search
Using filters allows you to narrow down your job search to a handful of vacancies that suit your skill set and preferences.
By default, AngelList will populate the search field with location and job type. You can add to this by entering keywords or setting the filters according to Role, Location, Job Type, Compensation and Company (set ‘Last Active’ to 15 days), as well as market and top skill Keywords.
You should now have a manageable list of jobs you can apply for.
Each listing will show you when the company was last active (the more recent the better as there’s more chance they’ll get back to you) and how many applications the job has received in the last week.
The more applications a role has received, the less likely it is that you’ll hear back, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply. It just means your application has to be better and more memorable than the others.
And it will be because your application will come with a cover letter.
Writing a cover letter
The cover letter is your profile's hype man.
It’s your chance to reach out to a startup founder on a personal level; to tell them how much you love what they and give more detail about why you’d be perfect for the role.
The idea is that they’ll be so impressed with what you have to say that they’ll match with you.
In a typical cover letter, you’d have no issue getting your main points across. AngelList, however, limits you to 1,000 characters (about half of that of a standard cover letter), so you need to be extra concise.
1,000 characters gives you about 3-6 sentences to hit on three key points:
- Your excitement at their company
- Your relevant experience
- Why you’d be perfect for the role
With those points in mind, break down your cover letter like this:
- Sentences 1-2: Research the company and write down what you find interesting about their mission and why it excites you
- Sentences 3-4: How your experience fits with what the company is doing
- Sentences 5-6: What you can bring to the table and a call to action that prompts the company to get in touch
Here’s an example of this might look:
Congratulations on securing the X funding! I love what you guys are doing over at X — it’s great to see a company making a real difference. I recently worked on Y and my experience in Z closely matches your mission. My past history of helping X increase ABC by 123% fits in well with what you’re looking to add to your team, hence my excitement at the opportunity to work with you. I’d love to be able to share more about my experience with you soon. Thanks!
Taking the time to personalize your application shows the hiring manager that you have a genuine interest in the company and you’re not out there firing off generic copy-and-pasted text to every startup.
It’s a match!
If you get a match it means your profile fits what the startup is looking for and they’re interested. It’s the AngelList equivalent of a swipe right on Tinder.
A match doesn’t mean you’ve got the job. It doesn’t even mean you’ve got an interview. At this stage, it's merely a notification that you’ve been placed on the ‘keep’ pile.
What you do next is what will move things onto the next stage.
Monitor your email closely for AngelList matches. If you get one, act fast. Hiring managers are busy people so you should respond as soon as possible, otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll be forgotten about.
Here’s some more good advice from Janine Yorio:
“If you seem qualified, I will match with you. From there we can start a dialog, but unless you have a truly memorable name, trust me when I tell you that I can’t remember anything about you if you wait 48 hours to respond. So, either respond right away while you’re fresh in my mind, or when you finally do respond, remind me of who you are, which job you are applying for, why I should care and what your qualifications are in the response. Otherwise, I can’t remember.”
If you respond quickly and don’t hear anything back within 48 hours, don’t automatically assume they hate you or the job has gone to someone else. There’s every chance the person has been too busy to respond, or it’s simply slipped their mind. Follow up.
Reach out again to see if the position is still available and ask for a good time to chat. If they don’t respond, follow up again, three days later. And again after that.
Follow up as many times as it takes to get a response.
Think of it as you showing your persistence. Startups need persistent employees.
Nailing the interview
If things go to plan, you’ll find yourself in position for an interview. There’ll typically be two stages to this: a phone screen interview and/or an in-person interview.
The phone interview
Once you’ve opened up an email dialogue with a company, an initial phone interview is the next natural step.
The phone interview is a ‘get to know each other’ exercise to determine whether you’re as good a fit as your profile and cover letter made it seem.
If you are expecting this to happen, check out or bookmark our guide on having an amazing phone interview.
And with 38% of communication transmitted through tone of voice and 7% through the words you speak, how you handle the phone call will make a big impression.
Fast Company published a great guide to nailing the phone interview, which is based on the following six tips:
- Preparation — find out everything you need to know about a company through Google and social media, and write out a list of questions that demonstrate your interest such as “What skills are you looking for in a candidate?” and “How do you see this position contributing to the future success of the company?”
- Take care of the basics — eliminate noisy interruptions and use a landline where possible for a more reliable connection.
- Put on your game face — smile during the interview (yes, smiling helps on the phone) and keep a glass of water close by.
- Have a copy of your resume within easy reach for reference.
- Remember the three C’s: Concision, Concentration, and Courtesy — keep your responses concise, stay focused and take notes during the call, and always be polite and professional.
- Follow up — send the interviewer an email after the interview has ended thanking them for the opportunity and their time.
The in-person interview
By the time the in-person interview comes around you should have a good understanding of what the company is about and what the role entails. But don’t rely on what you learned during your research for the phone screening.
Startups are fast moving — get online and check out the current goings-on. Make sure you’re fully up on the product, the market, and the company’s challenges.
Memorize your resume too — you’ll be questioned on it, and the interviewer will expect answers for each and every detail.
As for the in-person part, here are a few tips to help you make a good impression:
Build a rapport
Greet the interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake. Start off by asking how they’re doing.
Maintain eye contact
This shows high self-esteem and confidence. It also tells the interviewer that they have your full attention.
Keep body language positive
Remember how we said 38% of communication is transmitted through tone of voice and 7% through words? Well, the other 55% is transmitted through body language.
If you’re nervous, anxious or unsure of yourself, it will come across in your body language. Of course, telling you not to be nervous during a job interview is like telling a baby not to cry after you’ve stolen their lollipop.
Nerves are natural, the trick is not to show them. Sit up straight and keep your head up throughout the interview. Be alert and show the interviewer that you’re listening carefully.
Ask questions of your own
When the interviewer asks “do you have any questions?”, have some questions. Show them that you’re interested in the company.
Ask them about the projects they’re working on, what they enjoy most about the company, and what is expected of you three or six months down the line.
Ask about time off, how many hours you’re expected to work, or when you’ll get promoted. This line of questioning tells the interviewer that you’re not really committed and you’re not that interested in the job you’re applying for.
AngelList is a hive of activity with new jobs posted every day. Finding opportunities on the platform is easy, outshining the competition to land your ideal role is the real challenge.
It all comes down to the strength of your profile and how you reach out to employers.
An impressive resume, combined with a personalized cover letter is your way in. This leads to a match, which leads to an interview that ends up with you sitting pretty at a high growth startup.
Make your resume and cover letter count:
- Keep it concise. No more than 3-4 sentences per section.
- Quantify achievements
- Proofread everything
- Personalize your cover letter based on research about the company
Start by reading our guide on how to write a resume that doesn’t suck and put your writing to practice using our resume builder. This will give you a chance to fine-tune your resume before uploading it to AngelList. Plus, it will save you bags of time when completing your profile.
And if your first application isn’t a success, keep applying and follow up. There’s a startup out there desperate to employ you — they just don’t know it yet.