Kick-start your career at a start-up company

In the last few weeks, research I’ve done through my company has shown an interesting trend in the job market: Young professionals are more interested than ever in working for a start-up or small company.

It used to be that a large company represented massive resources, benefits, job security and great credentials for your resume. But today’s Gen Y job seekers are saying they’d rather be part of a smaller organization that offers more opportunities for them to bring ideas to the table and play a more important role in the company’s success.

It seems that perceptions about start-ups and small companies have shifted — no longer are they risky ventures with an unsure future, but a chance for employees to pool their resources and make something incredible happen.

“In terms of opportunities, there might be bigger salaries and bonuses at a big company,” says Erin Bury, community manager at Toronto-based start-up Sprouter. “But working at a start-up is almost like playing the stock market: You don’t always win, but when you do the payoff is huge.”

The start-up environment isn’t for everyone; it takes a certain type of person to survive in a fast-paced, sink-or-swim world. But if you’re up to the challenge, it may well be worth taking a plunge.

Working at a start-up usually means you’ll wear many hats and work closely with the founder to achieve results. With limited resources, start-up founders tend to look for multi-skilled leaders with excellent multitasking abilities.

Those with excellent time and project management skills also make great candidates. Working at a start-up often means that you’ll be taking the lead in your own “department” and managing any resources associated with it.

Above all, persistence and determination are key. If you’re interviewing with a start-up, be absolutely clear in what you can offer the company, and how you can call on your skills to make magic happen.

And, don’t be afraid to bring new ideas to the table — employers want to know that you’re capable of dreaming big just as much as you are capable of making those dreams happen.

Do you have the right stuff for a start-up?

• A multitude of skills.
• Excellent multitasking abilities.
• Time and project management skills.
• Persistence and determination.
• Big ideas and the ability to execute.

Julie Tyios is the marketing manager and chief matchmaker at, a career destination for young professionals. Contact her at