Have You Considered Working for a Startup?

Tiffany J. Franklin, Associate Director

Startup fever seems to be everywhere these days, whether it’s an episode of Shark Tank or watching Silicon Valley on HBO. Entrepreneur centers are popping up all over the country and the Wall Street Journal and New York Times are filled with stories about these types of companies. Have you ever considered working for a Startup?

With the Penn 2017 Startup Fair being held in just a few weeks (Thursday, February 9th in Houston Hall, 11am – 3pm), it’s the perfect time to explore the world of startups.

Neil Blumenthal, cofounder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, defines a startup as “A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed.” Definitions on Investopedia describe companies in early stages of operations in which founders “attempt to capitalize on developing a product or service for which they believe there is a demand.” Inherent in these descriptions is the element of risk in conjunction with great potential.

For many students, working at a startup serves as an invaluable part of their internship experience. Some become enthralled with that world and choose to remain in that sphere for years (either as employees of startups or entrepreneurs founding their own companies), while others leverage the experience and go on to more established employers. In either case, working for a startup will provide you will a wealth of examples of how you have demonstrated competencies that employers value. For example, since wearing multiple hats is the norm, you will likely work on numerous projects across functional areas. This provides an opportunity to show how you demonstrate initiative, adaptability, problem solving, and teamwork, among other skills.

As with any job search, it’s important to evaluate the values that mean most to you to see if the startup world could be a fit. Career Services has an excellent values exercise that is helpful to review both at the beginning of your job search as you evaluate offers. In addition, it’s important to conduct due diligence on the company just as you would with any potential employer. You want to ask yourself some of the following questions that Ann Fisher outlines in her Fortune article – “7 questions to ask before joining a startup.”

  • What’s my tolerance for risk?
  • What stage is the start-up in now?
  • Has the enterprise shown fast growth so far?
  • Who’s in charge?
  • Who’s funding the company?
  • Will I have a mentor?
  • What will my role be?
  • Do I have the right personality to shine in a start-up?

There are a wealth of resources available to help you learn more about startups.







Infographic Source: http://blog.gojobhero.com/10-best-startup-job-boards-infographic

Working for a startup can be a rewarding experience that is invaluable to your career progression. If you would like to learn more, Career Services is holding a workshop/panel called “Job & Internship Search: Startups” on February 2nd from 12-1pm in Huntsman Hall, G50. Hope to see you there and at the Startup Fair on February 9th!

A Different Kind of March Madness

by Patricia Rose, Director of Career Services

It’s the last week of March, and you still are not sure where you will be working after you graduate, or interning this summer if you are not yet in your final year.  Perhaps you have been busy with your academic pursuits, or other pursuits, and haven’t had time for a job or internship search.  Maybe you have been looking hard for work, or maybe not so hard, hoping that, as Mr. Micawber says in David Copperfield, “something will turn up.”

At this point, what is past is past.  You can’t assume anything will turn up, although sometimes things actually do.  Make a schedule starting today for job hunting.  Do something every day, even if only for half an hour.  For job hunting tips, see helpful resources on our web site: www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices.

This is the time to focus on organizations that do “just in time” hiring.  They are most likely to have positions now, and in the weeks ahead.  These tend to be employers who are smaller and only start looking when someone currently working resigns.

Another possible source of internships and permanent jobs: start-ups.  Many start-ups are growing and are actively hiring young talent.  Working for a start-up is an exciting proposition for many candidates: the employees tend to be young, and the office culture is frequently casual when it comes to dress.  But don’t be deceived. Start-ups are serious business.  It can be intense to make things up as you go along, the hours can be long, and the pay can be lower than in a larger organization.  But the rewards are many.  Check out our start-up resources at http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/undergrad/startups.html.

Finally, don’t forget to stop by and talk to a career counselor.  He or she can provide helpful suggestions, so that you won’t be “madly” running in circles.  We can help you make a plan for the final (not four) seven weeks of the semester.  Good luck!

Working at a Start Up

by J. Michael DeAngelis
Video by Jaclyn Chen (W’12)

Did you get a chance to stop by the Spring Career Fair last week? (I’m guessing you did – we had nearly 1,800 sign in!) If so, you might have spent some time on the Hall of Flags balcony, where we were featuring employers who were all running start ups.

Does the idea of working for a start up appeal to you?  Maybe you’re apprehensive about working for an unknown or untested organization.  Take a listen to what your fellow Penn students had to say about their experiences working or interning for start ups!

The Just in Time Hiring Season is Here

Are you just starting to think about what to do next summer, or after graduation? Perhaps you have been too busy with your academic work, your activities, your part-time job to do very much of a search. Or perhaps you‘ve done all the prep work and have just been waiting for the hiring cycle to begin for the industry you want to join. Well wait no more. If you do nothing else this month, attend our Spring Fair, which will be held this Friday, February 17 in Houston Hall. Over 100 employers will be attending, and the fair will run between 11:00 and 3:00. Every year numerous students find positions at this event: bring copies of your resume.

This fair has a broad range of employers. Whether your interest is in media/entertainment, consulting, public service, health care or technology, this is the fair for you. And for the first time, we have a “fair within a fair” for start-ups. Over 20 will be here, all rapidly growing, filling full-time and internship positions. There are opportunities for technical and non-technical candidates, in (among other cities) New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago. Find out what all the excitement is about in the start-up ecosystem. Don’t miss Career Services’ Spring Fair.