Things Fresh Grads Should Know Before Working In Startups

Millennials, nowadays, have far more diverse career options compared to the previous generation. Technological advancements have helped many businesses to grow and create more job opportunities for people. While big corporations improved with technology, startup businesses also have their own charm. When you become a fresh graduate, you need to be an empty glass ready to be filled with many experiences and knowledge. If you are still wondering what kind of company will be suitable to begin your career journey at, I have some thoughts based on my experience, about things that you should know before working in startups.


About Startups

Startups and entrepreneurship are two things that are connected. Entrepreneurship refers to all new businesses, including self-employment and businesses that don’t intend to grow big or become registered. Meanwhile, startup refers to a new business that has the potential to grow beyond its founder(s), with employees and the intent to grow large. Nowadays, you can see there are many entrepreneurs who are embracing the growth of their business ideas. It’s also affected by many startup companies that grow bigger and globally. In South East Asia you might be familiar with Shopee, Lazada, or Traveloka, right? Those are examples of growing-startup businesses.

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What Is It Like To Work In Startups?

It actually depends on the size of the startup. If you are working in a growing startup that has been established for more than five years, all of the roles might have become specialized. My first job when I was a fresh graduate was in a startup that only contained 15 people. At that time, we didn’t have any specific functions to support all of the tasks. Sometimes, there were even several things that we never did before, and had no specific person to be responsible for that. One person can also take on multiple jobs and tasks. Like HR and finance, or marketing and business development.

The Benefits of Working on Startups

  • Learning by doing

If you are in a big company, they will usually have a training program which allows you to get to know about their business before you actually do the real work. Most companies require a one (or two) year training program. In startups, they don’t have this kind of thing. On-the-job training or informal training should be enough to acquaint you with the tasks. The rest, you can learn by doing it practically.

  • Freedom to innovate

Because a startup is a business that has just established, they will need many ideas and things to try. Mostly, people in startups will appreciate if you can give many ideas and innovations that will help the business to grow. Don’t forget to do it properly, by providing data and possible action steps towards executing them.

  • More flexiblity

You can see how flexible and casual people who work in startups are. They can just go to work with casual outfits like a t-shirt and jeans. There is no mandatory dress code when you are working in startups. They also don’t really specific working hours, but it could also depend on the function of the work. For the individuals who’re responsible for customer services or sales, you’ll probably be needed to come on time and adjust with business work hours.

  • Grow Faster

If you are working on a small team from the very beginning, you will be the one who contributes hugely towards business growth. If the business grows bigger and they recruit more people, you will be the one who will get promoted easily. That’s why most of the strategic roles in startup companies are filled by young people.

  • No bureaucracy or barrier between employees

Most of the people in startups would not care about the hierarchy in the company. They will treat everyone in the same way. That is why it will be a great opportunity for you to make new friends and connections from work. You can talk to them in a very casual way and even ask about everything related to the business. They will be very happy to share it with you.

What to prepare if you want to work in startups?

If you are interested to begin your career by joining a startup, here are some tips that you need for the fresh graduate.

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  • Be enthusiastic

You will get your new experiences, knowledge and try something that can make a difference all at the same time. It’s different from college life, where you only need to fulfil your duty which is studying. In working life and most startups, after you do your tasks, you can see how your work directly impacts the business. You can then know how to improve the way you work and also learn more for your personal development. Be excited about that!

  • Be open-minded

Everything in startups is dynamic and rapidly changing. If something doesn’t go well, we need to change or try out something new. That is why you need to be open-minded to receiving any kind of suggestions and feedback. You can communicate but you need to understand the complete situation of the company. If you were asked to move to another role, or do some new job description that has never been told for the beginning, you need to try and be open minded.

  • Don’t expect too much for salaries or facilities

In the beginning phase, the amount of revenue startup businesses receive might still be lower than the cost. That is why the company can’t give their employees a high salary with good benefits. But if you are committed to grow together with the company and give a big contribution to business growth, you will get better benefits in the future.

These are some perspectives and tips about working in startups. Hopefully, it will be useful for you if you’re still wondering about whether to choose startups or a big company to start your career with.


Brought to you by Selena, Content Analyst for Gogoprint, a fast-growing online printing company in Asia Pacific.



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