Making the move from graduate to startup


Six reasons why joining a startup after graduating could be the right move

Invaluable experience

If you want to test yourself immediately after university, there’s no better training ground than the ground floor of a startup. Working closely with innovators in their field, you will likely need to wear a few different hats, be asked to learn new skills and to find solutions to difficult problems. This may be tough in the short-term but more than worth it in the long-term, regardless of your next career step.

More suited to the ‘new normal’

In the post-Covid-19 world of social distancing, startups and their inherent agility are well placed to succeed. While larger organisations have been forced to adapt quickly, they will never be able to adjust as nimbly as a startup. Startups are used to working remotely, taking a lean approach, and pivoting to varying degrees.

Building something exciting

The statistics for startup success rates can be concerning if this is your first job, but if you want feel part of something exciting and gain a sense of belonging, perhaps that outweighs security concerns. Startups also generally promote creativity that could be stifled in larger organisations. You will likely work without supervision and be given the opportunity to make important decisions, but will have to take responsibility for the consequences. When growing successfully, startups also provide opportunities for rapid career growth.

Long-term pay off

There is a gulf between what most startups and tech giants can offer in terms of salary packages, and it is only widening as smaller businesses have been forced to tighten budgets due to the financial impact of Covid-19. The upside, however, is that many startups offer equity as part of a package, which in turn provides extra incentive for overall success.


The millennial workforce values company culture more highly than their predecessors. One of the advantages of joining a startup at an early stage is that you get to create the culture. If you join a large organisation, the culture will be established. As one of the first employees in a startup, you can help shape policies and codes of behaviour. Your boss and colleagues are also more likely to be within your generation bracket, so have similar values and views on what constitutes a positive modern working environment.

Working hard

The line between work and home life has been further blurred by the Covid-19 outbreak. In several ways it has made working for larger companies more ‘startup-like’, with less structure and more remote working. As lockdown eases, however, and some jobs return to a version of normality, startup life will continue to be unpredictable and fast-paced. Instilling a principle of working hard for the collective success of a project early in your career will be beneficial.

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