You don’t feel ready to work in a startup? You want to prepare yourself to work in an unstable, ever changing environment, you want to learn to be able to cope with uncertainty and constant pivots and you want to know to contribute with your own unique strengths and abilities? I am surprised that the startup institute thinks they can teach this to their students…It’s a very interesting curriculum they are offering and their professors seem highly experienced, but I doubt you can learn these skills and mindsets from a course, be it as interactive as possible. I guess to be happy working in a startup you have to share the value and mission of the organization and be an entrepreneur; or intrapreneur as some call it.
Eric Ries, the writer of the book Lean Startup, defines a startup as a “human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty” and subsequently it needs all kinds of people and talents. The Startup Institute aims to teach teamwork, startup culture, lifestyle and technical skills for Sales & Account Management, Technical Marketing, Web Development and Product & Design. They are now opening offices in Berlin and connecting with local startups. And that is maybe the key and the reason why people sign up for their class: A network. Maybe the most valuable thing you can learn is to network, make contacts or in the first place, get an opportunity to meet different startups and entrepreneurs. Their aim is to prepare students for the work in a startup and to help them find a job.
When a company – small or big – they usually have a problem to solve. Your chances of becoming their problem solver not only depends on your mindset but on your abilities and your ‘cultural fit’. I guess preparing to work in a startup can’t be the same for every sector, for every position and for every company. Especially in the beginning a small organization is highly influenced by the founder or the founding team. Here’s a fun article about how ‘Jacks-of-all-trades’ or generalists should focus their profile on being a swiss knife, a tool problems are solved with. Four proposed steps to achieving this are:
1) Ask yourself what your most important skills are and make them stand out on your resume. Help others see your strengths by pointing to it, selecting the most important instead of listing a pool of skills.
2) Ask yourself how these skills can help the startup solve their problem and explain it clearly in your speech, action or even Linkedin profile
3) Ask yourself when you have asked these skills before and what you have achieved thanks to them. Don’t be shy to show off (as long as you have real examples to illustrate your bragging).
Thanks, J.T. O’Donnell for this advice!