This Weekly Cheeky Tip is a guest piece from our mate Cameron Ensor, a Student Fellowship Associate over at Startmate. You can check out the awesome work Cam and the team are doing here.
- Are you someone who craves autonomy?
- Would you prefer to move quickly and tangibly see the impact of your work?
- Do you dream about working on a problem that energises you, with a team who brings out the best in you?
- Do you want to ditch the suit and wear a t-shirt to work every day?
Then perhaps a career in startups is just what you need!
Pathways into more traditional careers are well defined, however, knowing what startups look for and how to thrive in the environment is not as widely known. Having spoken to many people in the startup community, here are the top 5 qualities that startups are looking for in entry-level candidates.
1. Growth Mindset
Startups are looking for someone who has an appetite for continual growth. As opposed to believing that your ability is fixed (a fixed mindset), a growth mindset promotes the notion that your talents and intelligence can be developed to get to where you need to be. Given the faster pace and ever-evolving environment, adopting this approach to life and your position will help you go far. Experimentation is encouraged, and failure, with its lessons and insights, is welcomed. It is not necessarily the skills you know today, but rather the willingness and curiosity to keep learning and ask questions that will make you an attractive hire.
Adopting an ownership mentality is another trait that is highly valued. For a lot of projects you work on in a startup, they only go as far as you are willing to take them. A candidate who can demonstrate that they are willing to take ownership of their role and initiative to best solve the problem in front of them is a big tick.
3. Getting Sh*t Done
Another sought after characteristic is people who are go-getters. Demonstrating that you just make things happen quickly, sometimes with a slight sacrifice of perfectionist self to get things moving along.
4. Doing Your Own Research
When you go into an interview, having done your own research about the company and your role is another great indicator. This will show your interviewer that you are diligent and someone who is proactive. How you approach the interview will signal how you will likely approach the role if you were to be successful.
5. Love for the Problem/Product
Finally, a strong passion for the product or problem the company is trying to solve. This is particularly appealing as it shows you really care about what the company does and can relate to its mission. Founders are super passionate about their startup’s vision, and for you to feel the same way and really connect with the problem the company set out to solve, demonstrates that you are more heavily invested.
Bonus: Be Yourself
Lucky last, just remember to be yourself...be authentic. There are such a wide variety of people in the startup world that your uniqueness is valued.
No matter your educational background, if you show the above traits, you will be on the right track to attracting interest and carving out an exciting career in startups.