4 Reasons to Intern at a Startup
Are you interested in exploring the exciting world of startups and see why so many students are taking this non-traditional career path? We have guest blogger Lindsey Sampson share her top 4 reasons on why you should intern at a startup:
Internships provide the opportunity to gain experience in the professional world; you can dip your toes in the employment pool and learn valuable skills to support your career. An internship at a startup, however, is a completely different episode: it’s like learning to swim by diving into the deep end, just hoping you’ll figure it out. Interning at a startup can expose you to some of your most important experiences early in your career.
You will become a Jack or Jill of all trades. At a startup, there are never enough people. The company is almost always understaffed with a million things to do. As a result, you will sometimes be thrust into tasks you know little to nothing about, and you will have to learn on your own. You will find yourself Googling “invoice template” or “help what is a strategic communications plan and how do I make one” because you need to know these things now. You will have become a generalist rather than a specialist, with experience in many different sides of a business.
You will learn how to speak up. In a startup environment, your voice is important. Because a startup is young, there is little to no red tape and good ideas can be implemented almost immediately. Innovation and creative thinking are valuable skills in the workplace, and those skills can be cultivated most effectively at a startup. By coming up with new ideas and pitching them, you will learn to hone your business senses and trust your instincts. You will learn how to function in a collaborative environment, and you will learn quickly how your personal skills bring value to a team.
You will learn how to handle responsibility like an adult. Startups don’t have the resources to hire an intern just for the sake of hiring an intern, so you will come into significant responsibility almost immediately. You will be responsible for creating real impact and handling several tasks at once. You will break the habit of offering excuses because real, impactful results are the only significant metric of success at a startup. Keep Tim Gunn’s voice in your head telling you to “make it work” and you will, because you’re awesome. And because it’s your job.
You will grow your network. At a startup, it’s possible to meet everyone in the company, and work closely with many of them. Because of the collaborative environment that exists in the startup world, working on a project directly with the CEO is far from unusual. Also, networking events are a staple of startup culture. Expect to spend evenings eating pizza with potential partners, handing out business cards, and attending industry conferences and events. Learning how to network effectively and engage people is an uncommon (and extremely valuable) trait, especially for a young professional.
Internships are crucial for the young professional. Spending your time as an intern at a startup allows you to discover and develop your individual talents, giving you a unique advantage in the job market.
Want to learn more about internships? We have another student guest blogger cover the topic in this post on internships and why they matter.