Sage Advice When Looking for a Venture Capital Job

March 20, 2012

It’s springtime, which also means it’s the time of year when hope springs eternal for many second-year B-school students searching for the keys to the world of venture capital. In the face of tumultuous times in venture capital, it remains a coveted career destination for graduates and aspirants of all ages posing the question, “How do I go about getting a venture job?”

That perennial  question brings us back to a great article posted several years ago, by Seth Levine, titled appropriately, “How to Become a Venture Capitalist”, later updated with a post on “How to Get a Venture Job.”

In those posts he lays out a succinct and realistic blueprint for aspiring venture capitalists leading with the caveat that you should approach the process assuming that you won’t be able to get a venture job. With lowered expectations and a three to five year time horizon, he suggests that anyone with determination and a willingness to “put yourself out there,” could one-day find themselves on the VC-side of business start-up. While he does strongly recommend that you attend or hail from a top-tier business school, he also dismisses that requirement by pointing out that he nor most of friends in the VC world attended business school.

In Levine’s article, the key seems to be buried more in the school of hard knocks with a curriculum based in constant networking and raising your “VC quotient.” Working for a start-up, blogging or commenting where VC’s blog, cutting your teeth in finance with a bank, or even starting your own company, are some of the ways he suggests inching your way into the VC world.

This approach was corroborated by another VC principle, Alex Taussig of Highland Capital Partners, in his recent post, “3 Ways to Land a Job in VC,” in which he emphasizes developing a solid, but “non-redundant” network; that is, be able to bring something new to the table. That not only includes new networks, but also new expertise or insight as well as a rolodex full of budding entrepreneurs. That, he says is a virtual guarantee that you will get a VC’s attention.

Levine and Taussig, who are both constantly probed on how to get a venture job, offer a similar piece of sage advice in these tough hiring times, and that is…

not to get discouraged.

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