Of the better ways to learn the startup scene is simply to work at one, and while you typically won’t find startup jobs listed on your typical job portal that is not to say those positions are not out there.
With that said, the benefits of working at a startup are many, possible chance at acquiring equity, experience that is then pivotal to start your own company, or a chance to break into venture capital.
While some websites exists that offer a job board for early stage companies, such as http://www.startuphire.com/, http://www.startuply.com/, and http://startupers.com/, they are often flooded with hundreds of applications, and moreso at times of economic trouble like what we’ve seen since 2008.
A better approach to securing a position at a startup, and any position for that matter is networking. If you’re into the scene, chances are you should know people within it, or at least make your way out to some entrepreneurially focused meetings / groups where you’ll not only meet people working within the startup industry of your interest, but it will also allow you to feel out the market as a whole.
Another, and a more novel approach is to focus your search through venture capital funds / groups. More often than not, VC’s will have their portfolio companies listed on their websites, and better yet, some will even have a listing of the jobs that their portfolio companies are looking to fill. Another advantage here is that the above method will allow you to better fine tune your search in terms of industry and expose you to companies that you may not have been previously aware of.
But how do you do it? Call up the VC fund, ask who to speak with at the startup of your choice, then call the startup directly. Make yourself stand out and show that you have what it takes to make it in a diverse and often chaotic environment that requires quick thinking and an innovative approach to problem solving.