5 Ways to Advance Your Career At A Startup

The most important thing that people love about startups is the “move fast break norms” culture, where instead of wasting a day or two on preparing a visually appealing PowerPoint presentation or a boring spreadsheet report, one can focus on the more important task at hand like creating a more user friendly interface.

You are the owner of your work, no big teams to share your time and attention and thus better productivity and more responsibility.

While this is a challenging scenario which helps people grow up as a professional, there are times when you would think about career growth in terms of more challenges and more money.

This is how you can advance your career at a startup.

Startups rarely have managers. This is because, most people working at a newly started company are fully responsible for their own work, and sometimes they have to handle, not one but more than a couple of departments.


5 Ways to Advance Your Career At A Startup

You might be the entire marketing department or the only one handling the mobile development department. With such autonomy, your career certainly gains a great deal of depth and lateral growth.

However, without a formal organizational ladder to climb, how can you possibly give a push to your career?

Here are 5 ways to advance your career at a startup company:


1. Keep Learning

There is no doubt that without proper skills and experience you won’t be able to advance your career to the next level, no matter what.

This is where most professionals feel flummoxed. You need to demonstrate trustworthiness and skills in a particular role to get that job, but you can’t really do that until you get an opportunity to do so, right?

While startups are the perfect place to get these new opportunities, you still need a way to get them.

Instead of going around asking people to give you more work , gain information about the opportunities, the company, the various divisions and how can you make use of your skills for the best of the company.


2. Take on New Projects

Startups are known for being frugal. They always have more work at hand than the human resources to complete it. Therefore, you will seldom have much trouble in getting more work.

It is absolutely necessary to keep working as it will not only keep the skills sharp but also get exposure to new areas and subjects. Consider this, if your company decides to expand, which department would first go in the expansion mode?

May be the startup you are working in wants to expand its tech team and you want to get some exposure in that area; offer to put in extra hours with the current software developer and learn the nuances of coding.

As long as you continue to perform well in your core role, your boss would be more than happy to have the extra help, and you will get an opportunity to build a new skill set.


3. Build Relationships

We all know the importance of networking in the professional arena. It is indeed a great help when you find someone from your professional network working at your dream company and he can put one or two favorable words to the recruiting manager.

The most successful do-it-yourself professionals are adept at creating diversity of relationships and pay heed to honest feedback. This feedback goes a long way in putting the career on the right course.

It’s true that you are your best mentor, but all the people in your professional network play an important advisory role, similar to what CEOs have in the form of an advisory board.


4. Have Clear Goals

Do you think you have too much in your plate?

Do you consider yourself a jack of all trades and a master of none?

If you do not have a clear goal and vision about your goals and future, chances are that there will come a time when you will be too confused to make a choice and you surely would have to make choices regarding your career path as your progress with time.

The worst thing you can do to your career is remaining quiet about your goals and aspirations in the company. You might be viewing yourself as a manager in the coming years, handling his own team or have a separate project altogether.

Whatever it might be, you should be honest to your goal and let the founders know it. This will really set the path of your future in the company as it grows in size and number.


5. Show Leadership

You shouldn’t be highly surprised to know that leadership skills matter everywhere, whether it is a small startup or a huge conglomerate.

Even if you are not currently handling any team at your startup, there are loads of opportunities to lead from the front in a growing company. When the company hires new interns, you should take the initiative to make them familiar and comfortable with the work.

If you can also introduce ways and methods so that people around you can increase their productivity nothing compares to it.

This will also prove your mettle as a manager material and help you grow when the call is made in the future.



Startups are risky, of course they are. And your future, whether you are the owner of a startup or an employee at one, is never exactly certain. But they can also become wonderful and wildly successful businesses, so that’s where these 5 things will come into play.

Even if you decide working for a startup is not for you, the 5 different points mentioned above can still be applied to your career in general to help you succeed. So don’t just forget them if you’re not going down the startup road.

Just to recap on the points, here they are in short:

  • Keep Learning
  • Take on New Projects
  • Build Relationships
  • Have Clear Goals
  • Show Leadership
  • Do you have any points you’d like to add to this list of ways to advance your career at a startup? Leave a comment below.

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