Getting a Job is Not Rocket Science – so why don’t you have one?

Brennan White of Pandemic Labs talks about startup jobs

I’m Brennan and I make it look easy, don’t I? That’s cause it is.

This entrepreneur’s answers to how to get a startup job are so straightforward, so simple, that they make you think… Can getting a startup job really be that easy?

Brennan White, co-founder of Pandemic Labs, thinks the answer is yes. As long as you’re doing things the startup way.


(GET the job tip) Easy as 1-2-3
Brennan answers the questions about getting a startup job – and his answer is briefs. Brief emails, that is. He has no problem with job seekers reaching out to him directly. In fact, he prefers it. But, he wants it brief. How brief? Very. Email him just this information:

  1. Explain how you know him (I saw your site, heard about you on Working for Wonka, whatever.)
  2. Compliment him. No, not his haircut or his sunglasses; compliment his company. (It’s not ego, there’s not an entrepreneur alive that doesn’t want to know that you love what they’re doing and want to be a part of it.)
  3. Ask for the job.

It’s that simple. He says 99% of the time, he’ll respond and ask to see the goods. So have the goods good to go when you first make contact.

Feel uncomfortable contacting a founder or CEO directly? Don’t. Brennan points out that he wants people who have that kind of self-confidence.

That’s the difference between a corporate job hunt, and startup job hunt. With the startup, go straight up to the top.

(KEEP the job tip) Stand and Deliver
Brennan says a star employee is one he can trust completely to get the job done. Even when he’s not involved.

That’s not all that unlike a corporate job. Every boss wants you to deliver on the task at hand. But unlike a corporate job, Brennan wants you to use your other hand to seek out projects outside the scope of your job and get those done too.

That’s a difference between succeeding in a corporate job and a startup job. At a startup, if you see something that needs doing, you do it. If you have an idea that’ll better the company, you better it. Even if that means working in an area of the business completely unrelated to why you were hired. You just get it done. It’s that simple.

(LEAVE the job tip) Mossy Stones
I put Brennan on the spot and asked him to share a potential sign that the company might be a problem. Most entrepreneurs like to answer my “why leave the job” question by explaining how the employee might not be a fit for the culture. But that’s too easy.

Turns out Brennan’s answer is still quite simple. Startups are about growth. If there’s no growth, there’s a problem. A problem that could end with you on the end of the unemployment line.

It’s another clear difference between a startup job and a corporate job. You can work for a large company for years and never actually feel the needle move. You feel it move everyday at a startup. And if you’re not feeling it, you probably need to start feeling a new job.


Pandemic Labs has some great jobs open now at every level. (Hint-no moss growing there).

  • They have account executive jobs – experienced as well as entry level. No worries if you don’t have social media experience.
  • They have business development positions open for a sales manager and sales people.
  • And developer positions for people with 3-5 years experience, but who are willing to work with some new technology.

You can apply on their website, but really? Did you watch the first video? Why would you do that? The exact jobs are not listed on their website, so watch the video for more detail. (It’s all of five minutes. If you’re looking for a job, you’ve got the time.)


The startup spin on the Inside the Actor’s Studio questionnaire – spun with the topic of getting a startup job. Just to give you a little glimpse into how this entrepreneur’s mind works. Glimpse it before you reach out to Brennan directly for a job.

Check back each week for new Three to Get Ready interviews, with new tips and more open startup jobs. Up next week – Caroline Callaway of Bolt PR.

In the meantime, if you’ve got questions for the folks at Pandemic, drop them in the comment section. They’ll be watching.

About Pandemic Labs: They’re a social media strategy and marketing company. Yes, there are lot’s of them out there, but this one was one of the first. They know their shit, though they probably wouldn’t put it that way themselves. And, they’re growing. Like gangbusters. Which kinda says it all.


  • Bryce Christiansen

    Reply Reply April 19, 2012

    I love these tips.

    Especially the one about keeping the emails short.

    As you know well, most working people are BUSY. They don’t need all the details right away. Just say enough to get them hooked, and they’ll ask you for more details if it’s the right fit.

    I don’t know of any time where over doing it on a first email has ever gotten me the attention I wanted.

    Great work,


    • Kathy Ver Eecke

      Reply Reply April 20, 2012

      Thanks Bryce – Yeah, Brennan really gets to the heart of it. I like the fact that the get the job and keep the job tips can both be summarized with ‘just do it.’ It’s the mentality most entrepreneurs have, and if you don’t have a little bit of yourself, you’re really going to struggle at a startup.


  • Fahad

    Reply Reply May 16, 2012

    I don’t think that any CEO or top person will reply to a mail asking for a job unless the person is exceptionally good or he is lucky.

    There may be few who reply but most of them would never do it.

    • Kathy Ver Eecke

      Reply Reply May 16, 2012

      You’d be surprised. In this post 32 different startup founders give tips on how to get a job with them, a bunch say exactly that…contact me directly, even if you have to stalk me.

      Of course once you contact them, you have to prove your passion for the business and that you can bring value to the company. But a startup is different from a large corporation, where you would NEVER reach out to the CEO. They want to hear from you. They want to know why you like their company, and they want to know what you can do to help them. Just like Brennan said.

      Thanks for your comment Fahad.

  • Justin Lee

    Reply Reply May 17, 2012

    Hello Kathy,

    Great interview.

    I am an entrepreneur too… managing SEO as a consultant and business associate with my firm.

    I agree so much with Brennan… almost on all points except the first he makes – I do NOT read all my mails… but I would check out emails from jobseekers who have sent it to me directly.


    • Kathy Ver Eecke

      Reply Reply May 17, 2012

      Hi Justin-
      Yeah, I have to say, I’m not a CEO and I still have trouble getting through all my emails. 🙂 Nonetheless, one startup founder after another tells me the same; they’re fine with job seekers contacting them directly. Full in box or not.

      Thanks for the comment Justin.

  • bandrivilan

    Reply Reply June 27, 2012

    It can take a long time when a person really doesn’t want to do what they were doing and won’t step out and try something news. I believe you should do what you like. You spend a great deal of time doing it. I believe the social media manager position is here to stay. I it a great time to get in. Companies are looking for a variety of skills and backgrounds. No degree specifically required. Take a look at it.
    job hunt

  • Rainer Proksch

    Reply Reply September 18, 2013

    The tips and suggestions given here are great and they are true. In the case of a startup you can definitely approach the CEO for a job and he will definitely be interested in taking people who would be an asset for his growing company. Also, it is true that the emails should be kept short. Every official mail should be kept as short as possible so that the recipient does not get irritated reading unnecessary stuff.

  • Kathy Castle

    Reply Reply April 20, 2018

    These tips are useful and most of them are true. it is right that the emails should be kept short because managers don’t want to loose time with reading long e mails. All the companies would like to work with well educated staff.

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