10 Reasons Gen-Y Should Start Their Careers at a Start-up

9% of Gen-Yers are unemployed. That’s 0.8% higher than the U.S. national average. Those that graduated in 2008 and 2009 face extreme competition in the entry level job hunt.


Why? During 2009 and 2008 jobless rates were at the highest they had been in over two decades. If they found a job, most of the time, it wasn’t in their chosen career field. So, those graduates are still searching for that entry level position they’ve worked four plus years to land.

To add to the pressure, 1 out of every 2 recent college graduates are unemployed and competing with earlier graduates for entry level jobs.  So what options do Gen-Yer’s have to get their careers started in the right direction? Small businesses have always been the core of economic development and job growth. On average start-ups create 3 million jobs each year. In April of this year 97% of new jobs were created by small to medium size business. Here are 10 reasons Gen-Yers should start their careers at a start-ups.

Creativity: start-ups and small business have very little cash flow. So, new projects require you to be a creative problem solver. Rather than spend thousands on a new marketing campaign, often you find yourself using whatever resources you have in the most effective way possible.

Flexibility: Compensation at a small company can’t compete with the big corporations. But, what they can offer is flexibility in your work. Just as benefits can be considered compensation so can the flexibility to work from home, set your own hours, work on personal projects at the office and brining your kids (or pet) to work.

Learning curve: New college grads feel the frustrations daily as they search for work. Even the lowest positions on the corporate totem poles require 4 and 5 years of experience.  Usually the most a start-up is looking for is enthusiasm and creativity. Because they know you lack experience (and usually owners and higher ups are learning as the go as well) you are on a learning curve. It’s ok to make a mistake. It won’t end your career. The most important thing is to learn from it.

Atmosphere:  A relaxed atmosphere is what many tech start-ups and small business are known for. Opposite from their corporate counterparts, a start-up’s atmosphere consist of jeans and flip flops. Most everyone is laid back, passionate and enthusiastic.

Entrepreneurial Education: Whether you plan to own your own business or not this is benefiticial. Working at a small company you experience the inter-workings, successes and failures of the company directly and sometimes personally. In this current global economy experiences like this are priceless because it teaches you how to manage your own career as if it is too a small business.

Getting the job: A study released by software company PayScale stated that 47% of employed millennials are working for companies that have less than 100 employees. Not only are small businesses hiring more but their looking for creative and enthusiast recent college graduates.

Active Role in company success: As an employee at a small business be prepared to take on a lot of responsibility. As a result you have a major impact on the company’s success. Results, from direct efforts on your part, are a major resume and experience builder. Not, to mention the personal satisfaction you get out of knowing your ideas and projects had a positive effect. No one wants to do meaningless work.

Mentors: Many times working for a start-up or small business you will find yourself working directly with the owners. These are fascinating people that posses a lot of knowledge from direct experience. And, they are passionate about what they do. Often they are willing to mentor a Gen Y, that’s eager to learn.

Transparency: Usually major decisions in a small business aren’t made behind closed doors. One small business owner in South Carolina made it a monthly practice to share the financials with the entire company. He made the decisions after the economic downturn in 2008. He said it is a way of letting employees know, that “we are in this together” and everyone’s efforts affect profitability.

Bureaucracy: Glass ceiling really don’t exist as much at start-ups as they do in the corporate world. Hierarchies are less important and results are key. Managers tend to be more focused on getting the job done. So, whether you are co-founder or the new guy, they want to hear what you have to say.


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