Who wouldn’t want Google, PwC or Procter & Gamble on their CV? Yet, there are also significant advantages of interning at a startup. The recognition and esteem may not be the same, but it gives you insight into an organisation that is difficult to get at a large company. Below we list our top five advantages of doing an internship at a startup.
1) You’ll have more responsibility
Interns at startups are generally considered a critical part of the team and, in many ways, you will be viewed as if you were a newly hired full-time employee. Therefore, you’re also far more likely to be thrown right into the deep end of the pool as soon as you are hired. From the get-go you may find yourself working on projects that directly impact users, designing the company’s social media strategy and taking charge of the marketing plan. This might seem scary at first, but you’ll be able to gain confidence by knowing that you completed, and mastered, an array of practical, transferable skills.
2) You’ll be exposed to a lot more of the company
There tends to be more structure at large companies. Consequently, interns here are generally exposed to a very limited portion of the company – predominantly due to the fact that many companies have different interns in separate departments. At a startup, work assignments tend to be more fluid and divisions are a lot more obscure. Therefore, you’ll find yourself doing lots of different work for different departments of the company. Nobody at a startup cares about hierarchy and bureaucracy!
If you’re uncertain about what you want to do in the future, this cross-team exposure will help you identify areas to explore. If you are tinkering with the idea of starting your own business one day, the experience of having worked in a startup could prove invaluable – in terms of experiencing how the business is developed, a market strategy is created etc.
3) Your work will be seen and evaluated
At large companies, an intern’s work can easily disappear in the background of large system frameworks. On the other hand, when interning at a startup you can always expect that your performance is visible and all your efforts count. On the flip side, it is also very easy to see when and where you have failed. This ensures that you are conscious and aware of your tasks, which helps to ensure that you eliminate mistakes.
Due to interns at startups being considered a critical part of the team, employees and managers are very willing to spend 1:1 time with an intern. This does wonders for your skills, confidence, and productivity.
4) The mentality
Startups are often renown for their camaraderie and “us against the world” mentality. Therefore, interns at startups tend to feel as if they are a meaningful part of a group who are in the midst of a great mission. People all around you are coming up with innovative solutions – this entrepreneurial spirit is extremely contagious!
Every successful startup has true innovators and if you find the right ones, you will learn plenty. Interns will most probably interact with the founders of the company on a regular basis and thereby they will be able to pick their brains, learn from their entrepreneurial ways and get a broader idea of where the company is moving. It’s hard not to be inspired by bosses who have invested themselves fully in their dreams.
Most people also tend to love the atmosphere at a startup where jeans at work (or shorts and sandals in the summer) and after-work beer are common rituals at the workplace.
5) Future possibilities
Due to the size of the company, you will probably get to know everyone – these people can turn into great business contacts at a later stage! Moreover, the startup you work at might just become the next Facebook or Dropbox and take the market by storm. If this isn’t the case, worry not; you have gained experience and knowledge. Entrepreneurs have a habit of becoming serial innovators and go on to different and big things. Therefore, the internship might very well prove handy in expanding your network.