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How to Find the Best Career Fit In a Startup

Many people choose get their first step on the career ladder within a startup company but it’s important to always seek a good career fit.

Today’s work environment is changing fast, so quickly that many HR managers and professionals are struggling to keep up with the literature on them constantly changing, but what’s the best way to find a good career fit in a startup? Working in a startup brings opportunity but with it, it also brings great risk. Many people choose get their first step on the career ladder within a startup company but it’s important to always seek a good career fit. A good career fit gives you a sense of wellbeing and fulfillment, you find your energy levels are higher and you simply love what you are doing; on the other hand, a bad career fit leads to stress, poor self-esteem, loss of energy, and can create problems which spill over into your personal life. Here are the best ways to find your best career fit in a startup

Find a Company That Fits Your Values and Personality

What are your values? Most startups are great because they are often value-driven. When you are researching the company, find out their values and see if they match your own values and principles. Working for a company that has similar values to your own creates excellent synergy and makes work much more enjoyable. If you aren’t sure what your values are get a blank piece of paper and take some time to think about what really motivates you and makes you energized. Doing this will make it easier to find a workplace that really motivates you and keeps you energized every day.

What is your personality like? Startups can be demanding work environments with a lot of pressure, and often the survival of the company is dependent on the results of your work. Some people thrive under this pressure, and others don’t. It’s important to recognize how you personally react to this kind of pressure. If you love a challenge startups are great. Startups are also often very informal environments. If you prefer formality, they probably aren’t for you. Most startups have a very team-like atmosphere and informally build up methods to deal with this pressure.

If you aren’t really sure what your personality is, try a Myers-Briggs personality test online. It will give you deeper insight into yourself and your possible career matches. Many of the online tests will also give you suggestions of possible careers and highlight hidden talents.

Are you prepared to change your lifestyle? Working within a startup often requires 100 hour weeks and subsisting on delivery food to the office for sustained periods of time. While there often is a long term payback for your hard work, this isn’t easy and requires modifying your personal life to suit your work life. Although this is by no means the rule, there are many that focus heavily on work-life balance, which for many will give a better career fit in a startup. Research the company's past employees and perhaps even ask about overtime in an interview to see if your lifestyle fits with the expectations of a particular company.

Take an Internship

One of the best ways of finding out if you will like working at a particular startup is to work there. Try contacting the company you would like to work for and ask if they offer any type of internship program, so that you can experience what the environment is like. If you are older, don’t see an internship as taking a step back but rather as a stepping stone to the next level of your career. You might gain important insights and even a few skills. Don’t think of career as a liner path but as a series of steps, with each job leading you to a destination. Working at a startup can lead you in some strange directions but will ultimately help you learn and grow, regardless of whether you decide startup life is for you or not.

Find a Mentor and Build Your Network

Do you know anyone who has worked in a startup? If you haven’t don’t worry, LinkedIn is a great tool for finding people who are willing to mentor you. The professional forums and networks provide a great resource for finding someone who you can ask questions about startups in general or even a specific company. You will be able to find out more about your best possible career fit in a startup and get hot tips on getting a job. You might even be able to land a job by contacting these individuals. Most cities have meetup events for business owners and entrepreneurs, and these are great opportunities for finding out more about career fit in startups. Ninety percent of all jobs are found through networking, and it’s very important to boost your personal network to land your next job, whether it’s within a startup or not. 

Research Online

Use professional forums and networks on LinkedIn to ask others about their experiences and careers. Many startups aren’t on websites such as GlassDoor because of their age and often they don’t have many people working for them, so you need to research generally. Most entrepreneurs are incredibly friendly people. If there is a particular company you are looking at, drop them an email and simply ask them what the work environment in their company is like.

Startups offer a great working environments but due to their fast paced nature it’s important to find out if you can find the best career fit in a startup and see if the opportunities and risks are compatible with your career plan. The differences between startups and traditional work environments mean that it’s also important to find out whether working in a startup is something that will suit you personally.

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