Lucy Wood
Thursday, June 14, 2018
4 min read

3 key tips to choose the perfect startup for you

You’ve considered a move into the world of startups but it can often be difficult to understand what working for a startup really entails. When people think about startups it’s usually in relation to the perks: the table tennis tournaments, the free alcohol or crazy team building activities. It’s one of the bonuses of working for startups but regardless of the company, startups can be very hard work and there’s no where to hide when it comes to working hard. In fact, 23% of startups fail due to poor recruitment decisions. That’s why it’s paramount that you pick a startup that fits your interests and personality.


There are 3 main things to consider when deciding on the sort of startups to apply for:


The Start Up Niche 

Many startups are created to fill a very specific gap in the market, therefore the founders are often personally interested in the sector and possess considerable industry knowledge. So it’s likely there are plenty of startups out there that align with your specific interests, think a startup overrun with dogs or one at the cutting edge of the fitness industry.

This combination means you can work for a sector you really care about and be surrounded by a team that is equally passionate. It’s also much more likely to bring genuine job satisfaction than if you applied for a job working with spiders when you’re a committed arachnophobe.



The Start Up Size

The age and funding stage on a start-up will also dramatically affect the way the business is run and the type of people that will thrive there.


Early stage startups

Early stage startups tend to be much more hands on and require a larger time commitment from their team. This means a nice 9-5 often isn’t on the cards. A self-starting passionate personality is key as you’ll regularly be left to create your own plan but still deliver results.  The job role is also much more fluid allowing for you to learn about other areas of the business which is really conducive to rapid personal growth - great for somebody that is still undecided about their exact career path.

It’s also much easier to see how your work is making an impact in the company and you can help develop a great company culture. 


Later stage startups

On the other hand, companies that are at a later stage in funding tend to have a larger workforce and often the role will be much more structured, which fits somebody who may be less proactive or confident to create their own to-do lists. An entrepreneurial attitude will still be key though, especially when a company is still expanding.

Companies in their second or third rounds of funding tend to be much more structured and your role will have less role fluidity. However, as it is a startup, company culture will be a key and you'll be given room to thrive and make a mark at the company, much more so though than in a larger corporation.  


Your Future Plans

When picking the startup for you it’s also worth considering your future plans. If you’re intending to position yourself for a larger company in the future you may want to enter a sector at startup level. This way you can really get a feel for the area and learn all the key jargon early on, while still retaining the flexibility to collaborate with other areas. An expanding startup is also a great place to stay as your personal growth can complement that of the company.



Overall, startups are great places to begin your career after graduating but don’t be blindsided by the perks. Make sure to aim for a startup that aligns with your interests and working style. Therefore maximising your potential and your excitement for the day-to-day of the job.

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