Why working at a startup will do wonders for your career and character

Most university students haven’t considered working at a scaleup or startup, they usually haven’t even heard of companies considered to be innovative and leading in their respective industries — like Canva, a company democratising design, exceeding a billion dollar valuation and was voted the #1 best place to work in Australia. We spent O Week talking to 100’s of students, most approached us with no clue about the world of entrepreneurship or even what opportunities are available to them in the startup world. 

Commerce and Business students are typically looking at the big four consulting practices or banking and IT students look towards IBM, we receive limited interest from students studying Arts or Health towards entrepreneurial programs and we’re working hard to tackle that because they make some of the best founders with excellent communication and problem solving skills, yet they’re the least aware of how valuable their own skill set is.

Working at a startup exposes you to an array of opportunities (or challenges) that help you learn how to solve problems, make effective decisions and own your actions. It’s hard to hide behind middle managment because there isn’t any. You try things, you fail, you try again.

This cultivates qualities of persistence and resilience — key traits required for entrepreneurs themselves and within corporates. Additionally limited funding means you have to be frugal and resourceful, pushing you to come up with lean solutions. Rather than ‘we can’t do this because’, you’re forced to re-frame things ‘we can do this but we’ll need …’

Last week Launchvic, Victoria’s Startup Agency, announced their new campaign called Scale Up Your Career — turns out their research revealed that scaleups (companies who are growing rapidly and scaling) have difficulty finding talent. This isn’t suprising given graduates aren’t even aware of the variety of roles available by scaleups across the sector. It’s a common misconception that startups are only looking for tech roles. Launchvic highlighted non-tech roles Victorian scaleups are hiring for now which include

  • Business Development

  • Talent/Recruitment

  • Sales and Marketing

  • Customer Experience

At startups you often get experience across a wide range of areas and at a much faster pace, you have to grow your skills fast because often the startup is growing fast sometimes you’ll be employee No 15 and within a couple of years there will be 50+ employees. You’ll learn how to deal with constant growth and the change that comes with it, leaving you to be adaptable — a highly sort after skill set.

If you’re considering to join a startup or scaleup check out Launchvic’ new Scale Up Your Career site. Companies to keep an eye out for include Envato, Canva, Xero, Rome2Rio, Culture Amp, Square and Zendesk. Also make yourself an account on Angel List, most startups advertise their jobs on that platform, Startup Victoria also has more local opportunities on their job board (in fact we’re hiring too if you fancy working in the startup support space #shamelessplug). 

At SPARK Deakin we’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to understand why students and graduates aren’t aware of opportunities to work at startups, often these companies don’t have the big HR budgets of large companies to have a presence on campus and to spend $$ on recruitment agencies etc.

But in the spirit of entrepreneruship we’ve come up with a couple of solutions to connect the world of students and grads to the booming Melbourne Startup Ecosystem.

  • Melbourne Startup Passport — a semester long program connecting you the startup ecosystem through events and job opportunities

  • Startup Venture Crawl — like a pub crawl, but better. A jam packed day visiting key startup ecoystems in Melbourne.

If you’re a Deakin University student and not sure where to start — Join our Melbourne Startup Passport program or our Startup Venture Crawl on 14th March 2018.

eventbrite-banner_venture-crawl.png