The Age of Startups: Re-Think Your Career Path

Many people I work with mainly focus on working for large, multinational corporations. Maybe this is because they never worked for a smaller company or think, smaller companies do not have such an international environment. Maybe it’s also because they think they are more secure working for a big corporation.


In this article I’d like to open your mind for a wider range of possibilities. We are living in an age where big corporations are struggling because they are scared of innovation and change. Therefore they make room for smaller companies and startups. Think about the last few years, companies like Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Tripadvisor and Amazon took over parts of the world. How long do these companies exist?



Startups growing faster than ever

If you look at the companies above, only a few years ago, they were still a startup. Some have grown to become the fastest growing companies in their industry. There are many others than the ones I listed and they keep coming.


Fast growth sometimes means risks but it also means immense opportunities. Jobs and careers are created, people get promoted quickly and expansions are happening. Decisions are made fast because that’s one of their competitive advantages. Processes and communication channels are simple and bureaucracy has not yet been established within these companies.



The easy or the rewarding way

I think the easy way is to apply for job openings with large organizations without following up and without taking any effort to get to know somebody at the company first, before applying.


The rewarding way from my point of view is to go the path that nobody walks. This includes follow-up, talking to somebody at the company before you send an application, directly approaching your peers and hiring managers, offering great value first, making a human connection and putting your personality and values in front of your skills.


The rewarding way is what I teach in my coaching through the “Job Search Revolution Framework”. I show my clients how to connect with hiring managers and peers at their desired companies to get in front of the key decision makers.



Your decision

You have to make a decision if you want to work in a rigid, struggling, constantly reorganizing organization that has shown to be able to lay off thousands of people in an instant. Or you can decide to look a bit further outside of the Fortune 1000 companies box. This might mean to let go the prestige status that the name of such a company offers and doing work that matters.


If the only thing you are afraid to lose is that prestige name of the company on your CV, think twice before you decide to work for a large corporation. Think about how much impact you could have at a startup.



Startup does not mean small

A startup company does not have to be small. Some startups are very well-funded and can grow extremely fast to a considerable size.

When is a company not considered a startup anymore? Some companies I know still consider themselves a startup after a year or even later because that is still how it feels. The initial excitement and vision stayed within the company.



The loss of the Why

When a company initially starts with its founder who moves everything forward with excitement and pure passion, it’s a lot of fun to work there. Sure, it’s challenging, sometimes scary with long work days and nights but it’s also fun when the founder injects the company with a vision to hang on to.


Think about the vision of the last large corporation you worked for. Do you even know what their vision is? And if you do, do you understand it or do you even care? Most people at large organizations don’t understand the vision any more and it’s blurry. With the creation of endless management levels and day-to-day stress and issues, the vision gets blurry and at the end only exists on the company’s website and the brochures. Simon Sinek calls this “The Split”. You can see it explained by Simon in the video below at a TED conference.



Where to find startups

Of course it’s important to know where to find the startups. There are many sources, I will go into five, two specifically for Switzerland and three that can be used anywhere in the world.


1. helps startups in Switzerland with the launch and with fundings. They have lists of their clients and a TOP 100 ranking of the startups.



This organization helps high-tech startups with the launch and fundings in Switzerland. You can also find events to network with the partners and the founders of the companies.


3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perfect for this type of research. Go to the advanced search and search for “founder” and “ceo” in your target area and adjust the size to up to 500 employees.


4. Google Alerts

With Google Alerts you can set up alerts to be delivered into your inbox every time something new is indexed by Google. For example, you could add an alerts to send you a message for the keywords “new startup [your country or city]”, “startup [your country or city]”, “venture [your country or city]”, “start-up [your country or city]”, “funding [your country or city]”, “new funds [your country or city]”, etc. These might all deliver information about new startups in your region.


5. Other news sources

Subscribe to your industry blogs and newsletters. Buy printed magazines about the startup space in your region. There are a ton of these magazines available everywhere. Talk to people in your network, ask them what new companies in their area they heard of.



I hope I was able to broaden your view on companies to work for a little bit. Especially if you struggle with your applications and follow the conventional path of applying to job adverts, think about how startups handle this. They are much more open to hire candidates who technically only fit 80% instead of 120% and care more about your personality and that you fit into the vision and values of the company instead of into a pre-defined job description.


Do some research about startups in your area today and see what comes up. You might be surprised about the opportunities.