How to Get a Business Development Job

STEP 1: WHAT ARE Business Development JOBS ALL ABOUT?

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

  • AKA: BD, BizDev
  • Overview: BD is like sales without money. You work with other companies to form partnerships - but instead of closing a paid deal, the companies barter something valuable to each of them. For instance, early in Google’s existence, it did a BD deal with Yahoo! that made it the default search engine. In exchange for getting access to Yahoo’s millions of users, Google made Yahoo more effective for its customers.
  • Example project: Partner with HBO to make sure that its original programming is available on the Apple TV at launch.
  • What you do all day: Explore opportunities, build relationships, propose/close deals
  • Roles: Business Development Manager/Representative
  • What they look for: Candidates with strong interpersonal and negotiation skills
  • Example job: Relationship Manager - Business Development, Apple Pay

STEP 2: WOULD YOU BE A GOOD FIT FOR Business Development?

Ask yourself if you'd love doing these kinds of things all day:

  • Exploring the landscape of potential partners
  • Building relationships
  • Proposing partnerships that provide mutual value
  • Negotiating and finalizing deals
  • Managing relationships and deal implementation

If your answer is "Yes" to the majority of activities, you'd likely be a good fit for BizDev jobs.


For each major activity, I've listed the most common keywords from across dozens of job descriptions, as well as a sample resume bullet:

·      Exploring the landscape of potential partners

o   Keywords: identify partnership opportunities, prioritize partners, strategic analysis, partner with product and sales teams, evaluate opportunities, competitive landscape

o   Sample Bullet: Conducted a competitive analysis of used car marketplace to identify weakness in the Midwestern market; led to partnership with the Midwest Dealers Association to remedy lack of inventory

·      Building relationships

o   Keywords: relationship-building skills, source, cultivate, and qualify opportunities, develop pipeline, working with executives, maintain relationships, provide thought leadership in the space

o   Sample Bullet: Hosted popular event at annual developer's conference, generating 27 partnership leads

·      Proposing partnerships that provide mutual value

o   Keywords: write partnership specifications, structure partnerships, build frameworks, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, acquisitions, investments

o   Sample Bullet: Structured partnership deal with main competitor to accelerate the growth of our sector without giving up competitive advantage

·      Negotiating and finalizing deals

o   Keywords: negotiate partnership terms, draft term sheets, deal acceleration, close deals, deal structures, remove roadblocks, secure buy-in

o   Sample Bullet: Negotiated deal with Google that drove 100K new visits per month

·      Managing relationships and deal implementation

o   Keywords: deal execution, manage established partnerships, prevent churn, get partner feedback, monitor deal performance

o   Sample Bullet: Successfully managed deal with City of San Francisco, ensuring renewal after first two-year contract


If you want to brush up on any of these skills, check out Scott Britton's Business Development for Startups and Tech Companies course on Udemy. I like two things about this course in particular:

  1. It's comprehensive. It covers everything from high-level BizDev strategy all the way down to the nuts-and-bolts of how to find the exact right partner's email address.
  2. And it's also step-by-step. Scott literally walks you through every part of the relationship-building process in a way that lots of other people would just gloss over ("So I connected with this guy and then we did a deal...")

STEP 5: How do you actually get a business development job?

To help you convert your passion and skills into an actual job, I've put together a step-by-step course that covers how to:

  • Design a resume that will mark you as an insider to tech recruiters
  • Make sure you find every single great tech job across multiple sites
  • Get a referral at just about any tech company - even if you don't know anyone directly
  • Prepare for every kind of tech interview question with point-by-point formulas