Tips for CVs, Collaborations and Pitching

Tips for CVs, Collaborations and Pitching

Like many startups we at Nomad Stays get many dozens of 'collaboration' requests, job applicants, intern applications and unsolicited pitches a day.

We've prepared these notes to help us both get off to a good start to a new engagement and not waste each other's time if we're not likely to do any business soon.

By way of example, a recent freelance advert we posted attracted around 400 applications.  Sadly, 99% of the applicants were automatically rejected as they didn't meet even the basic requirements.  There were only 4 applicants that met the criteria for an interview.

It's so sad to see so many eager people wasted their time writing a CV and created an application without reading or responding to the basic requests of the advert.

So how do you avoid this and cut through to increase your chances of getting noticed, not just at Nomad Stays, but with many other pitches?  Here's a few ideas from us to help you pitch yourself to us.

 

The examples below all come from real-life experiences, and both successful and failed pitches.

 

Some Tips for CVs

At Nomad Stays we take on lots of unpaid interns.  We find they are generally younger folk who are just starting out in business. But CVs are pretty hard to do when you're just starting out.

So, who gets our attention?

1. Tell us about you as a whole person

  • It's not just about your fledgling career experience.  We're interested in what you've done in your life.  Were you a champion darts player, did you volunteer at charity for a year, did you produce the school play? How many countries have you lived in; did you help in your family business?  Then tell us.  It doesn’t actually need to align with the work you're pitching for.
  • Even if you've no work experience in the field you'd like to enter we want to know about your passions and your history of achievement.
  • If you crashed and burned because of an accident or burnout or something, then tell us, it's OK.  Everyone has episodes in their lives like this.  What we're looking for is to get to know you as a person a bit better.

 

2. Prove it.

  • So, you say you've done something or other, so why not show us it exists?  Share the website, pictures, code samples, media reports etc.  Send references from your co-workers, bosses, teachers etc.  Prove it.  Justify it. We'll find out anyway as do due diligence on you if you're shortlisted so you might as well increase your chances of getting noticed by providing it up front.

 

3. Share Your Socials

  • Sadly, there is much spamming and fraud around these days.  So show us you are a real person and share your LinkedIn, Twitter, Insta, TikTok profiles with us.  Company or personal domain email addresses are another credibility point too.

 

4. Tell us about your studies

  • Believe it or not, but not all university courses with the same name have the same content.  So, tell us about the topics you've studied and why you like them. 
  • Example, if you've done a HR degree then tell us what country's HR policies you've studied. 

 

5. Tell us why you are pitching for work outside your experience area

  • Again, changing career paths is not a bad thing.  Tell us why you’re changing though and why you think the new area is a better alignment for you.

 

6. No need for too many personal details

  • Yes, we want to know your name so we can have a conversation with you, but we don't need to know your gender, age, marriage status, home address (at this stage) etc. These are personal details that are often irrelevant to the role.  Asking for them is illegal in some countries so feel free to leave out a lot of your personal info.

 

7. Recognise it’s a short-term gig, not a long-term job

  • Nomad Stays have no long-term jobs. (Actually, we have no employees at all. )   Neither do many startups.  We are all just starting our business and trying to grow.  We know your time working together might be short or long but don't set your own expectations that it’s a long-term career position.

 

8. Change your language

  • OK.  So, we know you're writing this CV from your point of view.  But you really need to change it around. Tell us what you offer us and not only what you want.  We are a business not a training company.  We're looking for people to help us grow the business.  As a startup we return that effort with training and experience in a heap of business areas.  So, help us choose you by telling us how you can help us.
  • As a global remote company, we have no jobs or employees.  Seeking long-term employment isn't something we can deliver so it's not worth asking about it.  Pretty much all startups are the same.  Long term isn't in our vocabulary yet.
  •  

9. Follow up

  • If we're asked for some more information from you before we proceed to a meeting, then please follow up and answer our questions.
  • 90% of interns that were invited to a second interview failed to book or arrive for their meeting.  A sure fine way of losing the opportunity you chased so hard.

 

Some Tips for Freelancers

Nomad Stays uses a lot of freelancers but has no employees.  These tips might help you pitch your freelancing services to us.

1. Recognise that Freelancing is different to employment

  • Freelancers are in business for themselves.  They earn money from multiple clients where you often do similar work.  They bring all their own tools to the job.
  • Like it or not but freelancers are not employees. Freelancers are independent businesses.   They don't get all the trimmings of employment like permanency, computers, paid leave, social contribution, tax payments etc.   These are all your own issues to deal with.  At the end of the day, you are running your own business.
  • Freelancers get paid based on results, not effort.  If you've not got a standard proposal template, we write up freelancing job in a Work Order and a Contract.  Generally, this outline what results you'll be paid for, and when.  After successfully working on several Work Orders, we do put freelancers on for longer periods where they might be paid for their hours worked rather than items delivered.  It's still important to keep up the delivery in this arrangement as your tasks might dwindle. There are no minimum guarantees in most freelance arrangements.

 

2. Be specific

  • Tell us what you're great at, and what you can also do but are not so great.  We may not have need for your best skill but might be interested in your second or third skills.
  • Super specific pitches are quite OK.

 

3. Be clear on your value to us. You've got 30 seconds

  • You've got about 30 seconds to get your message through us.  Sorry, but we don't have a lot of time to spend on reviewing every long pitch or story someone sends us.
  • So, be specific, be economic and be strong about how you can possibly help us. 
  • It's called an elevator pitch.  The term comes from the business world where you might find yourself in the elevator with the CEO of your target client.  And you have the time it takes for the elevator to go between the floors and one of you gets out.

 

4. Tell us your Price Range

  • It goes without saying that you need to let a prospective client like us know what price range your service is in. 
  • As a self-funded startup our budgets are limited and whilst we may love your superior grade services, we may not have the money to buy you.  So, you might as well tell us what range your services are in so we can easily determine if

 

5. Show us your Credentials

  • Show us your other clients, show us your reviews, show us your successes.
  • Share your socials and media gained
  • If you're just starting out, then follow some of the guidelines above about writing CVs.

 

6. Pitch something that we might want

  • It goes without saying that you need to pitch us something we might be in the market to buy.
  • For instance, our tech platform is windows, .NET, SQL and C# (we outline this on our jobs page) so if you're an Angular or React developer only then it makes no sense to pitch these skills to us

 

7. Pitch it to us using WIIFM

  • WIIFM stands for What's In It For Me.  It’s a way of pitching yourself in the language your customer has going through their heads.  E.g., as a potential buyer Nomad Stays is always interested in how your service can help us.  So, when you pitch using our language about how you can help us so that we understand you faster and better.

 

8. Please use English

  • We might be able order a beer in a few different languages but sadly we don't speak anything but English fluently enough for business.
  • Most of our team speak other languages but English is the predominant language of our client base, so we choose to do business mainly in English.

 

9. Ask for a meeting only after you've pitched something and got a positive response.

  • You wouldn't believe how many messages like "Hi, we want to talk to you about a collaboration so can we have a call" we get.  The answer is always "Not yet". 
  • We're always going to qualify you before we put too much effort in initially.
  • You need to give us something we might be interested in first.  An unqualified request for a meeting isn't good enough in this day and age.  Sadly, we're all too busy.

 

10. Follow up.

  • If we're asked for some more information from you before we proceed to a meeting, then please follow up and answer our questions.  We don't want to waste each other's time.

 

11. Be prepared to sign a Contract

  • All our freelancers sign contracts with us.  You should be prepared to sign a contract to deliver certain services to us and provide these under a set of standard terms.
  • Our standard terms are not onerous but do include
    • That we own the IP of any work you create for us,
    • that you must keep all our confidential information secret, and
    • that you will return all our information to us when the contract is over.

 

Some Tips for Collaborators

Again, Nomad Stays has quite a few collaborations with other startups and other parties.  Often these are in cooperative marketing areas.  So, how can you pitch your collab to us better?

1. Recognise that 'collaboration' is an imprecise word

  • The word 'collaboration' has different meanings in different cultures and languages.  To work with a 'collaborator' usually describes an agreement where we do are range of things to help you and you do a range of things to help us.
  • Those things we work together on tend to be guided by the nature of our work, are shared values, and the broad areas the collaboration is focused on.
  • Collaboration is used more often when the exact results are services are unknown, unpaid, or unmeasured.

 

2. 'Partnership' is another imprecise word

  • In many jurisdictions Partnerships have formal legal status so the term 'partnership' is avoided by many businesses like ours unless there are strict written agreements in place.

 

3. Collaboration doesn't involve any payment

  •  Collaboration doesn’t involve any payment or cash movement.  It's more like bartering where each does something for the other party.
  • If you're pitching for paid work, then simply pitch it.

 

4. Collaborations tend to be dynamic and free flowing

  • Because there are generally no service contracts, or payments, in collaborations the deliverables tend to be somewhat loose and quite changeable over time.
  • The exact deliverables are usually up to each party and fall withing the scope of the broad agreement to work together

 

5. Get to the point quickly.  Pitch us a range of ideas and your credentials

  • Please get your point across quickly and concisely.
  • If you have 10 ideas, then jot them each down so we can get an idea of what you're trying to develop
  • If it's long or waffly you just invite us to kick the can down the road until we understand what you're saying.
  • Also tell us why you can deliver.  Even if you're just starting out in business tell us why and how you can deliver your side of the offering. 

 

6. Collaborations have written non-binding Heads of Agreements or similar

  • As a way of recording how we collaborate it is quite usual to create some form of 'Heads of Agreement' document that outlines the reasons why we are working with each other and the broad areas we will help each other.
  • The existence of such an agreement is often referred to in the media by both parties as a way to show the world we share the same values and work together

 

7. Collabs take a lot of effort to start and last for months, or years

  • Collaborations tend to start small, slowly, and last for months or years building over time as they develop and provide advantages to each party.
  • They usually exist between businesses of similar sizes and at similar stages where there are complimentary aligned values
  • Collabs tend to get reviewed every 3 or 6 months to ensure it's still adding value to each party.
  • New Heads of Agreement get written as the collaboration gets upgraded into new areas.
  • Due to their broader scope collaborations tend to take more effort and time to create and manage than contracts or service agreements so take longer to establish.

 

8. If you expect money, then just Pitch us a paid service

  • You're not going to win brownie points for pitching a 'collaboration' when you are really just pitching a service that you want to be paid for.  In fact, it probably makes you look less genuine.
  • If you've got something to sell us that you think we might want, then just pitch it. 
  • As a small business we don't release tenders or services often or telegraph our exact requirements publicly too often.  So, it's hard for you to know what we might need or want head of time.  Which is why we're open to all sorts of pitches.

 

9. Do your homework

  • No one wants their time to be wasted so please do some research to ensure you're pitching something that might be of value to us.
  • Recent examples of unresearched pitches include
    • Smart key systems for our hotel rooms (we don’t have any hotels or apartments ourselves)
    • Electric scooters for our hotels (again, no hotels and no scooters limited to US cities only.  We are global)
    • Blogs about one or two of our stays in return for free accommodation (we are a booking platform not a property)
    • PHP, Angular & React development services (we use windows, .NET, and C#)