In career services, we are seeing more and more students who wish to forgo the typical entry-level first job with an established organization, and instead begin their career with a start-up. The opportunity to work in a dynamic, evolving, amorphous environment where one can have a direct impact and a valued voice certainly sounds appealing to many. If you are interested in working for a start-up organization, there are some things you may want to consider:
- Know your proposition value – know what skills you have to offer, and make sure you can substantiate them. Are you creative? Technical? Do you have great relationship-building and sales skills? Are you a dynamic presenter? Can you think strategically and truly problem-solve? Can you work autonomously and be flexible? These are often the skill sets that shape and drive start-up organizations. Your ability to demonstrate these attributes can be tantamount to your success with a start-up.
- Get connected – we are fortunate to be centrally located within a growing entrepreneurial landscape. With numerous start-ups located right in our backyard, there is no shortage of experienced entrepreneurs and start-up ventures to network with. Whether it’s a campus-based organization like Launch Chapel Hill (www.launchchapelhill.com), 1789 Venture Labs (1789venturelab.com), the Entrepreneurship minor, the CUBE at the Campus Y, The American Underground (americanunderground.com) in Durham, or HQ Raleigh (hqraleigh.com), you are well-positioned to find lots of brains to pick and connections to make.
- Be flexible and open – Unlike an entry-level job at a Fortune 500 company, your new job at a start-up may not have a formal training program, standard work hours, or an established hierarchical ladder. Instead, your role at start-ups may be evolving, and you may need to wear many hats (especially if staffing and budgets are lean). However, often times the pay-off is the ability to make a direct impact and be part of a creative and emerging organization.
If you have questions and would like to explore your interests in working for a start-up, visit University Career Services and meet with a counselor to begin the conversation.