From intern to CEO – Looking for a job? Join a startup
Let’s face it, jobs are few and far between right now. Eyeing up a career, especially as a new graduate, is harder than it’s ever been. When I graduated in late 2010 I had so many things I wanted to do and so many things I wanted to be. But after almost 100 job applications and 6 billion phone calls, my bright and prosperous future had gotten smaller and smaller, to the point where I didn’t know what the world wanted of me.
One thing stuck with me through the whole process though – and that was my love and passion for technology. Y’know what? Our futures are truly limitless in today’s day and age. We’re working on laptops that have more technology crammed into them than the Apollo 11 guidance computer had, and smart phones that let you purchase stuff with much more ease than those bits of plastic. It’s time to be as ambitious as all of these things.
1. DON’T FOLLOW YOUR DESTINY, BUILD IT.
With so many things seemingly going wrong in the world, even at the helm of those that are considered the elite, maybe it’s time to be part of the solution? Why follow your destiny, when you have the chance to build it? If my degree couldn’t bag me a career, I wanted to make my own. I wanted to create the next big thing. And what better way to get a crash course in conceptualizing, building and monetizing a product or service than to join a startup. This post is dedicated to all of those people who are at a crossroads with where they want to go, but know they want to do something incredible.
2. THINK DIFFERENT. LITERALLY.
So you studied audio production. So what?! The best entrepreneurs out there are the ones with so many skills that they’re falling out of their pockets. Aside from your core education, what else have you learnt? What do your friends say you’re good at? It might be communicating, it might be problem solving, it might be breaking things. Whatever your background, there’s a place for you at a startup. The best part? Startups are full of people still learning. So whatever you want to do, at a startup, you’ll get better at it.
3. START AS AN INTERN.
Internships are great. They’re your gateway into a world of innovation and creation. If you’re delving into an area you’re not overly comfortable with, it’s also a great way to hit the ground running and get up to speed with the company you choose. The goal here? To prove yourself. Skill is great, but the willingness to try new things and learn as you go is the spirit of entrepreneurship. Learn as much as you can, get involved with discussions, and do a great job – whatever it is. If it’s support tickets do as many as you can. If it’s social media create some novel strategies. Your passion will shine through.
4. PLANT SOME SEEDS, WATCH THEM GROW.
Start letting others know that you’re up for new challenges, and take them. Startups are creative places, and support assistants are more than capable of creating cool things that users love. I began at 6Wunderkinder as a support intern. I then became a QA technician. Then a Community Manager. Today I’m Product Marketing Manager for our collective 2.2 million users. How I did this isn’t rocket science. I asked for these things. Take a new position after your internship, live and breathe it, excel in it, and ask for more. You’ll be rewarded.
5. MEET AND GREET EVERYONE.
One thing we’re all capable of is talking to people and forging friendships. Friendships can extend way past a simple beer or two every now and then. The people you meet during your time at a startup are people that can help you with many things in the future. Whether it’s connecting you with a certain person, or helping you co-found an entire company. ’6′ wunderkinder is just that – six friends that wanted to start something incredible. Keep attending networking meet ups, keep emailing fellow startups, keep tweeting your favorite founders. The friends you make here are your friends for life.
6. THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER.
I’m still learning. I have a way to go yet. But I know after years of hard work and the will to learn new things I’ll be ready to take the next step. Whether that’s moving onto something new, or building my own thing. Many CEOs are a product of this process, and our very own CEO Christian is an evangelist of this type of proactive wanting. The things we use every day started as simple ideas, at the hands of people that were determined to see them through.
FROM ONE NORMAL PERSON TO ANOTHER…
You’re capable of amazing, beautiful things. Take the plunge and join a startup, it’s something you won’t regret. For me, I’ve truly made something out of nothing. And like many others I’m very proud of myself, and excited to see what happens in the future. For all those founders and entrepreneurs out there, I hope you read this and tip your hat. We’ve all been there. The future as I see it won’t be created and dictated by a select few people in pinstripe suits. The world will be run by young people in shorts and flip flops, having a ton of fun in the process. And that’s a future I can’t wait for. Can you?