Why Startups Are The Best For Getting Your Career Off The Ground

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
By Lauren Holliday

At a time when recent college graduates are looking at roughly 8.5% unemployment and 16.8% underemployment, applying to a startup job might be the best bet. Luckily, working at a startup also provides amazing opportunities for personal growth and professional development. Don’t believe me? Here are three reasons why startups are the best career development bootcamp.

Related: The 3 Skills You Need To Get Hired In The Digital Age

You’ll try on many hats.
Most of the time, working for a large corporation means you have a highly specified group of tasks to complete each day. It’s stable, but it can be monotonous.

Startups are fast-paced. They don’t have the luxury of paying each person to do one thing. Instead, employees are often expected to dig in whenever — and wherever — needed.

Carly Maloney, associate product manager at WeWork, explains:

One of the most exciting aspects of being part of a startup is the potential to be involved in so many different areas at once. Wearing multiple hats is highly encouraged, as there is never a shortage of things to be done.”

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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
It’s ideal for expanding your network.
When joining a smaller team, you won’t be hired along with your peers (unlike a big corporate gig). So you’ll meet a whole new group of interesting and diverse people. And given that startups can feel turbulent, you become close to your comrades. It’s an “all hands on deck” sort of attitude.

These are the people you’ll want to work with, and maybe even start companies with, in the future.
There will be loads of responsibilities.
There are less people per job function. If you do a great job, you’re more likely to own an entire department. Liz Vollman, marketing director at General Assembly, says it best:

“There is never a shortage of work to be done at a young, fast­-growing startup, so many opportunities arise for employees to raise their hand and take on solving one of the business’ many challenges. It’s through raising a hand and solving challenges that one quickly develops a versatile skillset. Whether it’s managing an A/B test on a product, executing a new marketing tactic, improving an operational inefficiency, or training a team on a new process, before you know it, you’ve helped drive meaningful change and learned a lot along the way.”

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
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Your job function won’t operate in a silo. Just because you run marketing does not mean that you cannot share ideas on how to improve the product or service. In fact, your opinions and suggestions are usually encouraged. Maloney agrees:

“We are encouraged to speak up about our ideas and be open if we don’t necessarily agree with a direction we are headed with a product or service. Pushing forward in all areas is crucial to my startup survival. I come to work everyday and feel motivated and empowered by this thriving workplace. Knowing I can make an impact in our fast growing, but still relatively small, company motivates me to be involved and come to work ready to contribute in any way I can.”

While the benefits are clear, there are also risks: you will have to pull your own weight right out of the gate, or else you’re likely to be looking for your next opportunity.

Think you have what it takes to work for a top startup? Check out a talent market place like Underdog.io to apply to New York City’s top startups.

Next: How To Make Your Linkedin Profile Recruiter-Friendly
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