4 April 2012
by Angela Ballard
Getting a job after college is difficult. Getting a job while in college, especially a job that is intellectually fulfilling, is nearly impossible.
One of the best places for college students to look for employment opportunities, whether its paid or unpaid, is amongst start-up companies. Initially, this may seem like a risky idea, especially if you are months from graduation and looking for something that could turn into a permanent career.
Sure, not every start up lasts, but the ones that utilize the innovation, passion, and energy of college students have a fighting chance. Here are some of the benefits of considering a start-up as your next place of employment.
You are cheap and available labor
A start-up company wants cheap labor. New companies generally do not actually make any money in the beginning. They want to be as efficient with the resources they have, and they want to get the most for their money. Most start-ups recognize the amazing potential of hiring college students for this reason. College students are incredibly intelligent, but do not require the salaries that an experienced web developer or product manager would. This makes you a great person to hire; you are smart and less expensive. As a student, you also have plenty of free time on your hands. You have the time to spend making yourself an asset to this company. Do it.
You are not unimportant
Knowing that a start-up will inherently want to hire you, you can reach out to a company whether or not you know if they need you. Many start-ups will post needed internship, part-time, and full-time positions on your school’s employment database or recruitment platform, and they will show up to campus job fairs. Want to hear about employment abroad in Asia, jobs in Montreal, or the wine industry in California? Attend these fairs. Utilize these resources if they are available to you; you will be surprised what you find. If you know of a new company near you, do not be afraid to contact their Human Resources department. People at these companies tend to be young, nice, welcoming, and willing to respond to anyone who has time to offer the company.
You are energetic and innovative
As a demographic, college-aged people tend to have more energy and broader imaginations than people who have been in the workforce for a decade or two. I can speak from experience in saying that the jobs many college students take on do not utilize our energy or capacity for innovation. Working for a start-up company opens the door for you to create your own opportunities. The culture of successful start-ups encourages everyone to have and promote their own ideas, whether you’re an unpaid intern or the CEO.
You can prove yourself
Building on my previous point, if you show initiative and have good ideas, you will be highly valued. Successful start-ups grow quickly, meaning they need new full-time employees more than an established company does. If you can get a part-time position or an internship while you’re still in school, and you can prove your worth, a full-time offer upon graduation is likely.
You will have a good experience
Working for a start-up will give you work experience you are unlikely to find elsewhere. You probably will not be assigned to simply making copies or fetching coffee. You will meet people near your age, you will learn the day-to-day operations of a small business, you will be given real responsibilities, and you will be listened to. You will have to work hard, but you will see the value of your work.
Take advantage of this time in your life; you are young, you are creative, and you are itching to prove yourself to the world. These qualities turn start-ups into the Googles and Apples of the world. You just have to put yourself out there.