Blog article contributed by UEA Alumnus Megan Bonnett.
I left UEA last summer as an optimistic English Literature graduate and after the buzz of leavers week started to wear off, I knew I needed to get down to finding my first real job. During the last few months of third year I booked in a few appointments with the CareerCentral careers advisers to get my CV and cover letter up to scratch and ready for the onslaught of applications I was prepared to fill out.
After a few months of internships and roles that I didn’t feel were right for me, I knew I wanted to settle into a marketing position but just hadn’t found the right company to start my career. I started to research different startups in London as I knew this would be a great opportunity to grow and develop on my pre-existing marketing knowledge. I sent around my CV and cover letter to a few companies that stood out to me and after a short while, HeadBox came along. HeadBox is the UK’s first online marketplace for creative venue and event spaces. The website was the first of it’s kind that allows you to instantly search, book and pay for a quirky venue online, which was a very exciting concept for the events industry. I sent them an email asking if they had any positions within their marketing department and they soon got back to me and said they were looking for freelance blog writers. This is how my startup journey began. Six months down the line I am now working full-time as their Digital Content Executive and couldn’t be happier with all the opportunities I have been given by working for a startup.
I wanted to share with you the main reasons I think every graduate should work for a startup and how it sets you up for the big wide world of work!
Passionate working environment
Working for a startup is great as you spend everyday with a small team of people who are all super passionate about the company they work for. Everyone from the CEO to the Interns will be pulling together to get important tasks done and bouncing ideas off of one another constantly. It’s nice to work in a passionate environment where everyone’s opinion is respected and acknowledged.
The ability to learn
A year working for a busy and ever-growing startup will mean that you learn very, very fast. On average, startups will have more work to do than employees to complete the tasks which is great if you like to be kept busy! You’ll learn more in 3 months then you will in a whole year at a bigger company. Your original job description may be stretched and pulled around a little at first but this will actually be of huge benefit to you. You’ll get to try out new things as well as finding new skills and hidden talents, getting stretched and pushed outside of your comfort zone is great for developing your skills at a much faster rate. Companies tend to change the most in their earliest stages, so getting involved in a company in their infancy means you get to evolve with it. You will constantly be shifting your focus, which will allow you to build on your multitasking skills throughout that you can take with you throughout your career.
Startups provide so much opportunity to accelerate your career as well as giving you the opportunity to know a business inside and out – you will get a much better understanding of how all the different components of a successful company work and how they work together! I’ve also found it hugely beneficial to work within a startup company with a hands-on CEO who is in the office with us everyday. You can engage in all their words or wisdom which is great for any budding entrepreneurs out there who one day might want to start a company of their own. You’ll gain insider knowledge and insight into how the founding teams of a company operate.
As well as having the opportunity to really grow within your role at a startup you’ll also get to take on lots of responsibility fairly quickly. This can be daunting but also hugely rewarding. It will give you the opportunity to master a variety of transferrable skills that you can take with you wherever you end up as well as skills that might be relevant even if you change industries or a complete career change. When you’re working for a small team there’s no one to shift blame onto if you haven’t done your job properly. But you will also reap all the benefits if you do your job well!
Get your voice heard
As you’ll be working in a fairly small team (I’m 1 of 3 of our marketing team at HeadBox!) it means each person has the chance to contribute and get their ideas shared and heard. This makes a huge difference to not only your confidence in the workplace but your ability to present your ideas to managers and peers. You can feel real ownership over your successes and how your work impacts a company as a whole. You will have complete control over how your job is executed and what your growth pattern will look like within your startup career.
There are heaps of benefits to working at a startup, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a group of other recent graduates who all share the same enthusiasm for making their way up the career ladder. I think it’s a great opportunity for graduates who really want to get stuck in at a fast-paced environment and learn as much as possible to start their dream career. As Digital Content Executive my main responsibilities are creating great content for the website, all HeadBox social media channels and the blog. If you’re want get a better insight into the type of work I do on a day to day basis working at a Start-up then check out the HeadBox blog.