Advantages of working for a startup

Ask any recent college graduate today what their number one worry is and it will no doubt be “getting a job”. Today we are bombarded with the discussion of a failing economy, record unemployment, and the impossibilities of landing a job.

It’s a terrifying thing to face when the past four years your life has consisted of all night study sessions in the library, drunken weekends, and the endless hopefulness of a soon-to-be college graduate.

Graduation papers and a graduation hat

Graduation doesn't guarantee a job

While landing a job is no doubt extremely difficult in today’s society for any individual, there are numerous opportunities available out there for young graduates.

One idea is to apply for jobs at startups and SMEs, rather than applying to those cushy jobs at the major corporations, which are in high demand.

Here are three reasons working for a startup company might be a better choice than that corporate office high-rise.

More Responsibility

Yes, more responsibility means more work, which can also mean more opportunities. Responsibility is a good thing in the working world. Not only will job functions and demands that require more responsibility look better on a resume, it will also make your daily work more interesting and rewarding.

One thing about working in an ‘entry level’ job at a big corporation that can be really discouraging, is how little control and say you often have in the operations of things. At a startup company you will likely be working with a small, close-knit group of individuals.

Startups look for individuals with specific skill sets and drive, that are unique and useful for their specific job description. This means that you will be unique among your peers. You will have a voice within the group that wants to be heard. Much of this has to do with the mere scale of the operations.

At a startup company, operations are small and groups are small – every voice and idea is important. More responsibility means more work, but more work means more experience and more experience means greater rewards – potentially money. The bottom line is that it is easier to move up and forward in a small startup than it is in an established corporate office.

That said, startups often have flatter organisational structures, so there are less chances for promotion than in larger firms.

The Startup Atmosphere

If you’re looking for buttoned down corporate America, a startup is most likely not the right path for you. Due to their size and calibre, most startup companies exude an extremely relaxed atmosphere.

You won’t have to go out immediately after graduation and spend a small fortune on business attire. Typically, jeans and casual wear will cut it at a startup company. Of course, this casual atmosphere isn’t always the case and it will depend on the type of business the startup is involved in. You do get big corporations that have similar relaxed or non existent dress codes too, but it is usually more common among SMEs.

Furthermore, in a startup, the offices are typically small, young, and cohesive, hence the atmosphere in the office is more relaxed. I’m not saying you should count on this and this should not be your sole reason for seeking a job at a startup company, but it certainly can be a perk for a recent college graduate, or anyone who doesn’t like the idea of always having to wear a suit and tie.

Work Will Be Recognized (Good and Bad)

One of the most common complaints you hear from those in the working world is that their constant hard work goes unnoticed. This can be an extremely difficult thing to deal with. Feeling like you are putting in your greatest effort and doing a good job at it, but getting no recognition in return can be extremely disheartening. It seems that big corporations are the biggest offenders for this.

Of course, it can be nearly impossible to give your employees due credit for the hard work when you have hundreds (if not more) of them to oversee.

At a startup company, because numbers are so small and every ounce of work really matters, it is nearly impossible for hard work to go unnoticed. Typically startup employees work in small teams where every task completed is essential and credit is given. Your coworkers and boss know what projects you’ve contributed to.

This is a great way to feel that your work is being recognized and is a wonderful way to stay motivated to do the absolute best job that you can.

If things are noticed when everything goes right, things are certainly noticed when they go wrong as well. This will keep you on your toes, so that you produce work that both you and your employer are proud of.

There are also advantages for working for big corporations, however your personality and preference will determine which you are best suited to work for. Don’t think startups are the answer, but don’t rule them out either!

9 thoughts on “Advantages of working for a startup

  1. Working for a start-up is certainly a good option for many and not such a good one for some.
    I personally think that the kind of exposure you attain in a good start-up is tremendous. You get a chance to learn first hand from the higher executives, something a corporate giant can usually never provide. Also, there is more potential for fast growth.

    A start-up might not be a good option for you if you are looking to study further in life or if you don’t plan to stick to an organization for too long.

  2. The main worry I’d have working for a startup would be job security, most startups rely on external funding to survive so just because you’re doing a good job and making a good product, it doesn’t mean your job is safe.

    The best part about working for a startup for me would be the atmosphere, they all seem to be more laid back. I also get the impression that even the successful startups seem to retain the same good parts when they get successful.

    The main thing for me if I was in this situation would be that I’d only want to work for a startup that I believed had a good product that had the potential to be successful and was being run by the right people.

  3. I’ve enjoyed working for start ups much more than I have a big, established corporate company. While there is more responsibility it’s much more exciting to be a more of its success.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      I suppose you feel more like it is your achievement, rather than one of hundreds of thousands of people, as the workforce is smaller, so you played a much bigger part.

      Thanks for the comment Katlyn, welcome to the blog 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  4. Another advantage of working for a startup is the ability to build wealth. A lot of startups are short of cash and will potentially offer people options or shares in lieu of higher salaries. If the company takes off then there is great potential to benefit from the growth. If it doesn’t then at least you have gained valuable experience.

  5. I do wonder sometimes whether the job insecurity of being with a startup really outweighs the advantages you list above. You’ve probably heard the statistics about ‘X% of new businesses fail in the first 2 years”, well, behind each failure is a job loss.

    • Christopher (admin team)

      That is a good point Simon, working for a startup may mean that your job security is not as great.

      Thanks for adding your view, welcome to the community 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  6. There are always two sides to a coin. The best thing that could come up when you build your career with a start up is when it eventually rise to the pinnacle of success, and you conquer a higher position and of course, income. The downside is, if it fails to achieve its goal, then you fall with it too. But nevertheless, the experience will be worthy I suppose.

  7. I think one of the biggest advantages of working at a start-up is the overall knowledge you will acquire. In a large company you are usually assigned to a team and given an assigned task. In a start-up you are more likely to be involved in few other tasks. Also start-ups are risky they usually offer shares which would be quite valuable if the company takes off.

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