The Top 5 Startup Skills They Don’t Teach You in Uni…

Nov 24, 2017

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Three years of late nights, essays and bottomless ramen have left you with a lovely shiny degree. But as impressive as it is, you might be missing some of the crucial skills needed to land your perfect startup job. Here are our top 5 skills they don’t teach you in school.

Congratulations! You did it! Three years of late nights, essays and bottomless ramen have left you with a lovely shiny degree. But as impressive as it is, you might be missing some of the crucial skills needed to land your perfect startup job. Here are our top 5 skills they don’t teach you in school.

Networking

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. It’s perhaps truer now more than ever. The age of the lone wolf mogul is dead and entrepreneurship is now all about community and creative collaboration. So graduates who show a desire to build profitable relationships with clients and colleagues will always appeal to potential employers.

Why not start your own professional network with fellow graduates? Establish how you can use your individual skills and abilities to help each other thrive. These relationships might not only help you find a job one day, they’ll demonstrate the communication and networking skills that every startup yearns for.

Marketing

Every startup wants to grow. And we all know how important marketing is in making this happen. But just because you were an admin on your hockey team’s Whatsapp group doesn’t make you a social media master. Graduates looking to get into startup marketing need to show a real understanding of the inner workings of the industry.

So brush up on the technical side of things: analytics, strategy and search engine optimisation (SEO). Or get hands on by starting your own channel, page or blog and discover for yourself the best ways to grow a brand from scratch. Clear, practical experience will always set you out from the crowd.

Sales Experience

Whether it’s a product, a service or even an idea, nigh on all startups are looking to sell something. Sometimes, to secure investment, startups need to start selling before they really know what it is they’re trying to flog. That’s why these companies are always looking for employees who can pitch concepts as well as physical goods.

Early financial restrictions tend to stop startups having dedicated sales teams so, whatever your degree, you’ll be expected to chip in. Don’t worry, you needn’t have spent years on a market stall but a good understanding of basic sales techniques and etiquette is invaluable.

Technical Expertise

The startup sector’s love affair with technology grows stronger every day so it’s no surprise that designers and developers are hot property for employers. But whether you’re a maths master or a geography guru, a little technical literacy goes a long way.

No matter what your startup deals in, a basic understanding of HTML and Photoshop is always useful. Classes don’t have to cost a fortune either. Make the most of online tutorials and seminars like this one from Traversy Media. You’d be surprised just how quickly you can pick them up.

Flexibility

As we covered in our post on startup interview hacks, adaptability is vital. Working with small teams and big workloads means startup employees tend to hop in and out of projects, lending their skills wherever they’re needed most. You may be coding one day and copywriting the next.

So while you may know all there is to know in your given area of study, it pays to be flexible. Take some time to expand your skillset with another discipline. Aim to become a jack of all trades and a master of one.

Feeling intimidated? Don’t be. Getting a degree already makes you an attractive choice. But by polishing a few of these street smart skills, you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of startup success.

Look out for one of our next pieces — we will talk about the skills startups are looking for in their early employees…

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