Startups Are the Best Career Development Bootcamp

 | 

By Lauren Holliday

At a time when recent college graduates are looking at roughly 8.5 percent unemployment and 16.8 percent underemployment, applying to a startup job might be your best bet. Luckily, working at a startup also provides you with amazing opportunities for personal growth and professional development.

Don’t believe me? Here are three reasons why startups are the best career development bootcamp.

1. You’ll try on many hats.

image

(Source: Flickr)

Most of the time, working for a large corporate organization means you have a highly specified group of tasks to complete each day. It’s stable, but it can also be monotonous.

Startups are fast-paced. And 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.”

2. It’s ideal for expanding your network.

image

(Source: Flickr)

Often times, when joining a small-ish team, you won’t be hired along with your peers (unlike big corporate). So you’ll meet a whole new group of interesting and diverse people. And given that startups can feel turbulent, often times you become close to your comrades. It’s an all-hands-on-deck sort of feeling.

These are the people you’ll leave to work with again, and maybe even start companies with in the future.

3. There will be loads of responsibilities.

image

(source: Flickr)

There are fewer 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’s 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.”

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. 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 anyway 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.