Is a corporate or startup job better to initially build my resume?
I am very passionate about learning and would like to launch my own startup, but I also want to start building my resume. Would a startup help me do that or would it be better to first go to a larger company? In either event, I think having a mentor would be helpful. I would have mentoring at a larger company, but how do I find mentors if I start my own business?
Hopefully this will help at least a little. Right out of school I was offered a job at a small accounting firm and I was also offered a job at one of the six largest accounting firms. I asked for advice because I really liked the smaller firm but was conflicted. EVERYONE I asked told me to take the bigger firm. And the reasons were mostly the same. The CREDIBILITY of having worked at the big firm would be enormously beneficial in ways I couldn't imagine at 22 years old.
I took the bigger job. Put in seven years of hard work still with the idea that I would go to a smaller firm or start my empire. Looking at it in hindsight, it was 100% the right move. The work with the larger firm has had significant impact on the work we are doing today and has added tremendous credibility to my resume.
As for the mentor, I had great mentors at the larger firm. When I left, I found great mentors just from my business dealings. Once you get working, you'll know who you want to confide in for advice.
Maybe for you, seven years at a big firm is too long. But two years? Four years? You'd be 23-25, with enormous experience and more clients, investors etc will take you seriously as the force that you are...
We don't know your educational background, whether your startup is related to that, or where you're located. these would all help to give you more directed advice.
Working for a large company and launching a startup are not mutually exclusive. The advantages are great. You actually have a salary to live while gaining experience and adding credibility if it's a marquee company, e.g. Google, and building an invaluable network. If you're really passionate, the kind of work schedule you'll have to maintain is not an issue. Just be prepared to have little to no social life, except when you go to networking events.
It can take time to find the right mentor/s. Be very clear about what you want to learn and what your expectations are for your mentors. Chances are you are not going to meet mentors who can advise you about startup challenges within a corporate environment, hence the need to get out and network to actively build your network. You'll find your mentors who can become advisors to your startup and help you secure funding and customers while benefiting from their experience.
I think you have a nice academic interest but I would worry less about either path if you are really hungry for success. For that, find out what your passion is and go after all that surrounds that. You can go nuts with the pros and cons of corporate or startup and I'd tell you in the end there isn't a right or wrong answer anyway. To find a mentor find someone you admire and respect what they've done and tirelessly work to have an audience to express that admiration and ask if they'd be willing to share a little bit of it. From that share your ambition and ask if it would be okay if you emailed them once a month or so...you'd be amazed how relationships build from that. Someone from your own college or hometown or other common person or place is an easier path.
Very good question Basant. Like the way you have articulated and understood your career need. If you were to ask what's better then I don't know cause its your call and i have seen people on both sides of the coin being successful and also failing.. The Safer route is joining a Large company, learning the nuances of the departments and spending around 3 - 4 years before you jump to start. Do note that a Startup is not at all a easy job and 95% of the people fail. Mentors are like Astrologers, they will give you suggestions and if you succeed then they will say "I said so" and if it Fails , dont bother looking for them, the point is , you are big enough to take decisions
In terms of resume enhancement - either could be good experience and noticed by others perusing your resume 'down the road.' Working for a company with a well-known name helps get you noticed, but so too does the varied experience you will gain working for a start-up entity. The real question you should ask yourself is what type of person are you? Do you need the structure of a corporate job, or like the additional opportunities and creativity possibly presented by a start-up? Having done both - it's really a personality question - and either option can have great mentors.
Basant, valuable experience can be gained by doing either one. I would say based on what I have read in your question and in your responses, you are inclined to start your own business. DO IT!
As mentioned, you will have the opportunity to learn a lot of things and IF you have business discernment, listen to others by hearing their advice, observe carefully and reach out to qualified business leaders for advice you can achieve your dreams of building a successful business.
Every business and startup experiences roadblocks. Find a way around or over them.
Do what you feel led to do...gain the experience and do not be afraid of the problems and issues that will arise.
In the end your paper resume will look good either way...but the stories you can communicate based on trial and error will show others you are more than capable. AND if you succeed in your business venture...you won't really need a resume, will you?
Look me up via LinkedIn. I will be glad to periodically offer you qualified advice.
If you have some idea that your resume will be used as an entry into the corporate world then go corporate. Don't be shy about explaining you are looking for a mentor in the inverview process. If they don't support that process, don't take a job there.
If you are secure enough with yourself and willing to risk the wild world of startups - go and have some fun! You may not find a mentor there but you'll learn a lot. You can aways find a good personal/business coach for the mentor part.
To actually successfully launch your own startup - you really do need the experience of being an individual contributor, a team-member, a people and project manager, ability to influence and persuade higher-profile executives to your way of thinking, etc. This type of experience is best accomplished by working a few years with a larger company that is in-line with your future goals. I would also encourage (even if you do take a job with a larger company) - that you also locate a business coach and mentors outside of the company. S.C.O.R.E , https://www.score.org/ is an organization that connects entrepreneurs with mentors. By doing these things simultaneously - you can continue to pick and choose the proper foundation and skills that you need to develop (while receiving a consistent income and training by the larger company). When you know where you are going, you can strategically select the projects and role within the larger company, to properly build your experience and resume to make the leap into entrepreneurship smoother.
Any job that builds your skills and experience, and pays money, is a good start. A big company will teach you their way, which may not be the best way but it works for them and it is a great deal better than having no idea what to do about anything.
Starting your own business is easy: making it successful and running it is not easy at all, and having some level of business experience is pretty important. I would only do that if if you are just all fired up to do it and willing to spend whatever money you have (and make none) until you succeed at the business or run out of money. Just don't take on any debt.
Since you're early in your career and may not have all the dependents placing demands on your wallet (spouse, children, etc) then you might want to consider a job AT a start-up that can afford to pay you something but not top wages. You'd get to see a lot of parts of the business rather than being buried in a big company.
That's a really interesting question and the answer depends where you are in your career. From the nature of your question I gather you are starting your career, so I'll answer it from that perspective.
When starting out, don't worry to much about your resume, because it is skill development that matters most. And, you develop skills through experience.
When starting out on your career there are a lot of basic skills that you need to develop, which will be useful to any employer later in your career, including when you are your own employer. the most effective way to develop these skills is to gain them working for someone else; ie joining a corporation. As to whether that corporation is large or small depends upon the corporation itself, initially, and over time, you.
Large corporations tend to offer highly specialised roles, ie if you are employed as an analyst, that's what you'll do 5 days a week, without variation. However, because roles are specialised, large corporations also offer the opportunity to move around and develop a portfolio of skills.
Small corporations on the other hand require generalist skills; and the smaller the organisation the more skilled you need to be because there is no back-up. So in a very small firm you need to be proficient at what you do because you are it!
So for most people starting out in their career, I advise to work for somebody else and develop your skill set and figure out what you are good at doing and what you like doing. By the time you are in your 30's you need to have a clear idea as to what you are good at doing because that is when your career becomes serious.
On the other hand, starting your own company requires you to be proficient at everything! Sure, there are plenty of entrepreneurs who had an amazing product and in spite of their lack of skill went on to be a success. However there are millions more entrepreneurs who were unsuccessful and wasted years of their life because they lacked the necessary skills to build a business. Therefore, I'd suggest that you consider developing your skills before you think about starting your own business.
As to finding a mentor. They just won't happen. You have to go looking for one. You might find them where you work, but that is unlikely, and you might find them amongst your network, or you look for a professional mentor.
Contact me if I can help.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, try for the start up. That way you'll be able to do four things:
1. Build some connections and some cred in the start up community
2. See if it's the right path for you by throwing yourself into the fire immediately
3. Learn what it takes to succeed (and/or why some start ups fail)
4. Gain a lot of experience quickly
I have two sons in NYC who have been working for start ups for several years, and they'd never want to work in a corporate job at this point. But that's them. You have to find out for yourself.
If you have a passion to do startups, then I recommend sticking with your passion and go work for a startup. It's been almost 20 years for me since I chose the path of entrepreneurship. After finishing up my doctoral work, I had opportunities to work in academia, government, and large companies. I chose to become employee number one at a startup and haven't looked back.
Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone, so before embarking on the startup route, I recommend asking yourself why you want to do startups rather than work in a larger company.
I do recommend having mentors though. Such mentors can fill the void that you may feel you have in not getting any large company experience.
Any experience helps build your resume. The key is to enjoy what you do ...and do it well.
Learning...you will always. You may want to consider the space offered to you to enhance / extend your creativity depending on the opportunity presented to you...For what it comes to mentoring, in corporate you do not choose your mentor, she/he is selected / presented to you following an HR internal process...While in online-community & networking group you might have most possibility of shaping your mentor-profile...
First, do NOT assume that you would receive any valuable mentoring in a large company -- and if you did, it would be about large companies. Very few startups are large companies, so what you learn would not be as valuable as you might think. If you want to go to an established company, look to companies in the range of 250 to 1000 employees. You'll probably encounter opportunities to learn that are more aligned with startups there.
On the other hand, check out SCORE -- that is an organization that provides free advice from experienced business owners and executives to new and small businesses.
Have you scoped out your startup idea? What problem does it solve? What's the market size? Where would you go for your first customers? There's nothing that says that you can't work for a company even while planning your start-up. This would give you time to build a network, refine your idea, even start to go to market with it and build up a little bit of capital to self-fund your growth.
Not sure what industry you're in, but for example in tech you might consider joining a later stage startup with a solid reputation. If you can land a job at a brand name company, that will help "build" your resume, to the extent it will help you get a JOB at another leading startup (not necessarily prep you for starting your own company though. That will take a lot of money and connections, if you're looking to get funded). And remember once you start taking outside investments, it's not entirely your empire anymore.
In a later stage startup, (Series C funding and beyond), you'd be exposed to the fast paced startup environment, energy, and people wearing various hats. You'd see how acquisitions, pivots, funding rounds, and other startup business strategies are handled.
By joining a later stage company you would have the benefit of it being a bit more structured and offering more potential mentors than a lean startup team of 15 or 20 people.
If you're an entrepreneur at heart, working at a slow moving corporation with layers of bureaucracy will become quickly intolerable. I've worked for large corporations and for several early and late stage startups. Much of what you'll learn in a corporate environment won't apply to a startup (you might need to "unlearn" some corporate strategy to succeed in a startup) - even down to the systems and tools you'll use, and what you wear. Startups are running lean and hack together almost exclusively open source solutions to run their businesses, for example. And if you show up in a suit to an interview at a startup, you won't be taken seriously.
Whatever you decide, remember that it's more about the learning experience, the connections you're making, and the value you're bringing to the table. Keep your eye on the prize: providing unique value to customers through your own company. Not building a resume to impress potential future corporate employers. Good luck!
If you want to launch a startup, your resume doesn't matter once the business is a success. But having some experience in your industry first would be helpful so you know the tips & tricks to grow a successful business.
I don't think I ever cared about "building my resume" - I cared about gaining experience & knowledge to help me grow. The fact that I added it to my resume was secondary in focus.
Don't assume mentoring occurs at larger companies - every company is different, every department is different, every co-worker is different. And I always find it better to have a mentor that does not work at the same company.
Well, if you working for a corporation that is an established brand with a great public reputation that will help your resume. In terms of mentor, I would recommend networking because it will give you a diverse group of people that you can talk to and build business relationships. In terms of starting your own startup, you can do that on the side while you work in the corporate world.
To help yourself answer the question find an employer whether it is a start up or a corporate that will enable you to build the skills you require to become a founder of your own start up. The skills you will require to launch yiur startup are; marketing; sales; product development; business development; operations; etc. Successful start up founders are more often generalists who have sufficient skills in all the areas above rather than being a specialist in any one area.
Pick what you want to do Basant! Having a resume doesn't help you build a startup. Getting a mentor, joining a business networking group and actually starting the business is the only way to do that.
That being said, there is no shame in wanting to work for a larger company and build a resume. It's a lot easier and less stressful to work for someone else. But don't expect that a mentor at a large company will help you later launch a startup. They will help you grow your career if they are good, nothing more.