Career paths for younger generations have changed. Employment is no longer guaranteed, a degree is no longer enough, and competition is fiercer than ever. In this ambitious environment, every young professional is hoping to make themselves stand out in any way possible.
One effective approach to standing out is acquiring quality work experience: that which will help you learn new skills quickly and help you explore your career interests. One of the most well-known accelerators of learning and exploration are startups. Beginning your career in a startup or starting your own startup has several benefits, including maximising learning opportunities, providing the support to create new things, and trying out future career roles. Starting out in a startup is therefore an ideal way to set yourself apart.
A constant stream of learning opportunities
One indisputable benefit to working in a startup is the endless learning opportunities. With only a few people running an entire business, every employee is granted significant responsibilities much faster than in a corporate establishment.
With short communication lines, change is implemented quickly and each member feels their own impact on a growing business. This level of responsibility not only allows you to optimize your potential, but also opens up countless opportunities to explore new skills. Learning by doing is the best way to gain experience, and starting a career in that kind of atmosphere is priceless.
A laser-sharp, focused environment
Startups do not have the same resources as corporates, so they must have a clear focus on where to spend the resources they do have. Corporate businesses are often broken into departments and smaller units, with each having their own tasks and goals, leading to potentially unnecessary hierarchies and stricter rules. This may ultimately distract work from the intended mission.
Startups, on the other hand, focus less on technicalities and rigid power structures, and more on achieving results while encouraging every individual to maximise their potential, because the successful outcomes from employees’ growth can be immediately felt. With support from colleagues who share your drive for creation, you are less afraid to make mistakes, which in turn, encourages your creativity and exploration. Being able to work in jeans and a t-shirt is also a plus!
Exposure to other industries
Another highlight to working in a startup is the exposure to a variety of different tasks and projects outside of your specific job title. With a reduced company size, all employees are integrated into every role rather than being restricted to one department. The exposure to other industries not only increases general business awareness, but also offers the chance to explore areas that may have a greater appeal to you. For example, individual members on our team have worked at different times on projects related to design, finance, marketing, and business development.
What are the downsides?
It is important to also address some of the downsides to starting a career in a or with a startup. Firstly, it could limit your ability to use the company as a reference, as not many people or future employers will be familiar with the company’s name. Additionally, smaller companies could be limited in the salaries and bonuses that they can offer their employees, resulting potential lower wages than corporate companies.
If you are seeking a career in a specific industry that has already been well-established, then the corporate route may be the best choice for you, due to the very specific, predefined learning directions. However, if you are not certain about your future career path, or you’re still trying to figure out what you love, then working at a startup could be worth a shot!
Jumpstart your career in a startup!
In weighing up the benefits and limitations of a career path, it is important to consider what a first job ought to provide. As a young person starting out their career, you are looking to soak up as much knowledge as possible and explore all the available career directions, rather than becoming a cog in a wheel with little knowledge of other opportunities.
Entrepreneurship and business styles are constantly changing, so young people need to know how to adapt, and this is not a skill that can be easily learned in a one-dimensional job. Startups are the best possible career-launcher for any young professional that hopes to make their mark on the world.