Why every college student should work for a startup.
Today’s technology empowered world is making things move very quickly, especially in business. Businesses will either quickly fail or succeed. I’m generalizing here, but you get my point.
While in college, the goal was about working for the most prestigious companies or pursuing the careers that made the most money, were secure and highly respected. However, towards the end of college and after many internships I realized that wasn’t true. This was all a story that was being sold from campus career advisors. There had to be more to WORK than just going in, doing your best work while trying exceed expectation for others without feeling a genuine connection to what you were spending a good portion of your time doing. Back then the trend was to become an Excel pro, be a good communicator, writer, involved in some type of finance student organization and try to land a job working for the big 4, some bank/fund, or in management consulting. Though I enjoyed challenging projects where I had to analyze data, present reports, negotiate contracts and audit departments I also felt I could be learning more skills at a faster pace and being exposed to new technology.
If you don’t know what you would like to work in then joining a startup is probably one of the most effective ways to find out what you like and what you don’t like in a short amount of time. It’s important that you do your research on the team before joining the team. Also, make sure you do thorough research on the industry, it’s competitors and ultimately why working for this company should be worth while.
Once you are in, it’s time to get your hands dirty. In a startup you will be wearing many different hats, but what is ultimately important is that you constantly analyze what the business needs are and are one of the first to anticipate them. This will put you in a position where you can be proactive and do something about the need, giving you an opportunity to shine. Working for a startup can be uncomfortable at times as you might experience high stress levels and difficult moments; however, I believe these moments are great opportunities to see what you and the rest of your team are really made of.
Always be learning. It’s key to your growth and development. Constantly be reading, experimenting, and discussing what it is you are learning. In a startup, growth minded individuals create a healthy environment to work in and it can be fun going to work knowing you are surrounded by intelligent individuals that love challenges. If you can, I advise you learn some technical skills like programing, automation, growth hacking, data science, etc. The trends show that technology will only continue to impact jobs that are less technical and tedious. It’s important that you anticipate this change and do something about it, you don’t want to get left behind.
One of the most important things that I love about working for a startup is that it allows you an opportunity to make immediate impact. Your idea might be the one that makes the business grow and improve. If you take anything out of this blog it should be the following: “You will be hired for what you can do and what value you can bring to a team.” Therefore, your focus should solely be on learning and mastering new skills. College is a key time filled with many opportunities to meet awesome friends, have great experiences, but it is also an amazing opportunity for your future development. Don’t sleep on it and be proactive. Go work for a startup!