So You Want to Work in Crypto…
Some Practical Advice and Resources
Every week, I talk to wonderfully talented people who are excited about working in the growing cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem. Many of them ask me with help finding a role, and while I love helping my portfolio companies and CS Treasury clients find great talent, the 1:1 model is not very scalable. This post is intended to help job seekers navigate the rapidly expanding world of cryptocurrency and blockchain companies and the variety of interesting and exciting roles they’re hiring for. The process I’ve outlined below takes about 3 or 4 hours, and is an attempt to provide a starting point for people who are just getting started.
AngelList Job Search
AngelList is one of my favorite resources as an investor and employer. Not only is it great for finding and investing in amazing companies and funds, it’s also a great tool for browsing jobs at all of the companies that use the platform and getting a good indication for the types of roles available, the salary ranges, and the required skills. I would start by browsing AngelList and getting a better understanding of what roles exist and how to best present yourself as a potential fit for these roles.
For example, I used the keyword “blockchain” to search for roles and found 1,386 startups hiring for a variety of roles. You can customize your search based on geography, role, and more, and start to write down the job titles, salary ranges, and key roles and responsibilities that sounds like a good match for you. I’d look for at least a dozen job descriptions and copy / paste them into an excel doc to start to identify what these companies are looking for. Spend some time digging into various job responsibilities, job benefits, and the teams. You can also visit each company’s AngelList profile to see who the investors and key team members are, and then cross-reference back to LinkedIn and Twitter to learn more about who they are.
Now that you have an Excel sheet of companies, roles, salary ranges, and responsibilities, it’s time to re-write your resume and prepare to talk to recruiters and teams.
Rewriting Your Resume
One of the biggest mistakes I see in folks applying for roles in the industry is using a generic resume to apply for specific roles. The first impression a recruiter or team will get about you is from your resume and your written communication. When I was applying for roles after business school, I would write a custom resume for each role based on how each company described the responsibilities of the role I was applying for and the culture and ethos of their company. Try to use key words that match their job description, and to describe accomplishments in each role that highlight why you’re a great fit for this particular role. You should have 2 or 3 resumes that are written for specific types of roles or companies.
While you’re at it, also make sure your resume format is appropriate. I recommend the resume format outlined by the Career Services Center at my alma mater MIT (scroll down to Master’s Resume Sample — page 7 — you’d obviously put Experience up top, and Education below if you’re not coming straight out of school, or see page 14 — Alum — for another example). Most universities have Career Centers, and you can find lots of great resources from top institutions like Harvard and Stanford by just searching their career services sites, where they publicly share all of the great advice and guidance they offer their students.
Take some time to polish your resume, and get a few friends or mentors to also take a browse through your resume. By the end of this process, you should have a folder with 2 to 3 highly detailed, polished resumes that are tailored to specific companies and roles. Keep these resumes handy on your laptop, DropBox / Google Drive, and most importantly, on your phone. Pro tip: email them to yourself as an attachment so you can quickly forward the email when needed.
Auditing and Upgrading Your Online Activity
Now that you’ve narrowed down the massive field of potential roles and companies into a set that appeal to you and may fit your experience, it’s time to do a review of your online activity. Given how new this industry is, and how truly global it is in nature, people spend a lot of time learning about one another, sharing their perspectives, and interacting on social media. Here are the platforms I tend to check when looking at candidates:
- LinkedIn — Do you have a profile? Do we have any connections in common? Do you update it or is it five years out of date? Do you have any SlideShares or content in your newsfeed? Do you belong to any affinity groups?
- Twitter — Do you spend any time on Twitter? Have you shared any content, tweeted anything, or followed anyone? Do you participate in any conversations?
- Medium — Have you written anything or commented on anything?
I always do a quick Google Search on folks to see if they’re on GitHub, AngelList, Crunchbase, Quora, Reddit, Disqus, Yelp, or other sites. Pro tip: using the same handle (@ tag) across different platforms makes it easier to build a presence.
So take a moment and review how you might be perceived on these various platforms. If you haven’t updated your profile information since you signed up, take a minute to update it and express your interest in crypto. If you normally don’t tweet, try to block out five minutes at the start and end of each day to scroll through twitter and read what’s going on, or re-tweet things you find interesting. If you’re looking for good folks to follow, here are a few curated Twitter lists, but a quick Google or Twitter search can help you uncover more specific lists as well:
- Fortune’s 19 Bitcoin Accounts you Should Follow on Twitter
- Robert Scoble’s massive list of people in crypto, ICOs, and blockchain to follow (seriously it’s over 1,000 accounts)
- TokenDaily’s feed (disclosure: I’m an investor)
If you really want to get into Twitter, I’d recommend using TweetDeck to effectively curate and filter the Twitter firehose into more relevant data streams. I like using it to create columns of Twitter streams — one column of all of the companies you’re interested in working with and several columns with @ or # tags you like. This way you can just check in once or twice a day, review what’s happening, and then quickly retweet, reply, or share via the easy interface.
Bonus points — attend some local MeetUps or watch (free) video streams from conferences and share what you learn on Twitter. VERY IMPRESSIVE.
OK — We’re Ready to Apply!
You’ve done all of the prep work. You know what types of roles are out there, what skills are needed, and what salary ranges are out there. You’ve written new and updated resumes that highlight how awesome you are and why you’re a great fit for these specific roles or projects. You’ve cleaned up your online trail of breadcrumbs and dropped some new breadcrumbs to align with your new intentions of being a part of this industry. Now — let’s apply to some jobs!
Proof of Work Common Application
Submit your information to the Proof of Work Common App created by Eric Meltzer. It works just like the college common app — you fill out one form to apply to 28 different projects and companies in the industry. Pretty magical if you ask me! Your app will go to recruiters and teams at these companies, who will then reach out to you if you might be a fit for any of these roles.
While you’re at it, you should also sign up for the Proof of Work newsletter, which provides great updates on all of the interesting protocol projects in the crypto ecosystem.
Apply via AngelList Jobs
Ahhh, back to the AngelList Jobs Board we go! Enter some filter parameters based on role type and geography, and let’s go hunting! Here are a few of my favorite projects and companies, and their open roles at the moment:
- 0x : Hiring a Head of Community and a Business Development Lead (Disclosure: I’m invested in the $0x token)
- MakerDAO : Hiring a BD Account Manager (Disclosure: I’m invested in the Maker $MKR token)
- Republic : Hiring a Content Writer
- Smart Valor* : Hiring a Project Manager
- dY / dX : Hiring a Product Designer
- Lightning Labs* : Hiring a Front End Developer
- Messari : Hiring an Operations / Office Manager (Disclosure: I’m an investor)
- BitPesa* : Hiring a Head of People Operations
Note that * indicates a female CEO
When you apply for a role on AngelList, take some time to write a good intro note so recruiters know you’re serious and have done your homework. A simple 2–3 sentences is fine, but make an effort to make your intro specific to the company and the role, and to demonstrate you’ve actually read the job description instead of just copy / pasting a generic paragraph. I can’t tell you how many candidates have sent me a blanket paragraph with another company’s name in it. *facepalm*
Check Out CoinDesk’s Job Board
I haven’t spent much time on this job board, but CoinDesk recently launched their own career site. It seems to have a great variety of curated roles!
Ahhh the dreaded LinkedIn jobs board. This one is a bit hit or miss, but browsing LinkedIn (similar to the way you’d browse AngelList) is a great way to find leads and also connect with people. Leverage your network and try to find connections at companies who are hiring.
Join some Telegram Communities!
Lastly, crypto is a very social ecosystem. Telegram, the chat app, is a great way to join some crypto communities and begin to engage is discussion and conversation online. Here’s a list of open (anyone can join) cryptocurrency Telegram groups — engage at your own peril! Some of them can be noisy, but I’ve found Telegram chats useful for gathering information, learning from others, and engaging in 1:1 conversation with people who are saying things that are interesting in group chats.
If there’s a specific project or company you’re interested in or applying to, you might also check to see if they have a Telegram channel, Discord chat, or other online community. If you can’t easily find it on their site, you might ask the recruiter if there’s an online community you can join to get more involved in the project. It never hurts to start at least start observing what’s happening in chats, and it can be a great way to get a better sense for what’s happening day to day inside of many of these projects.
Now That You’ve Applied — FOLLOW UP!
Now that you’ve applied to all of these exciting and new roles, don’t forget the most important part of the job search process — following up. Keep an organized list of all of the roles you applied to and on what date. Put down calendar reminders to follow up once a week and to check in periodically on the status of your application. Be responsive to email, phone calls, and online messages. If there’s a local meetup happening or if someone from the project or company you applied to is speaking at an event, try to go or watch and send a follow up note.
I hope these tips were helpful, and happy hunting! I am so excited to see so many talented, deeply experienced individuals beginning to think about taking their career in a new direction by joining crypto-land. I hope to see you there…