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The word “startup" usually evokes images of young people in cool offices standing around ping pong tables. In reality though, working at a startup requires hustle, creativity, and independence, as everything moves quickly and is new to every player involved.

Though it can be hard and risky, working at a startup provides great experience and autonomy. Check out these 9 entry-level jobs for job seekers with little formal work experience.

1. Executive Assistant

You may not start off as the CEO of a company, but you can learn a lot about startup life by working very closely as an assistant to the executives. 

What an Executive Assistant actually does:
  • Expect to do a lot of administrative work such as data entry, scheduling meetings and appointments, and booking travel. You might also get to attend meetings, look over presentations, and provide helpful feedback to assist the CEO in making important decisions.

What type of person you should be to fill the role successfully:

  • You should be a strong communicator, be organized and able to multitask, and be someone who likes detailed administrative tasks. You should also be a good listener, pay strong attention to detail, and be reliable as an executive needs to get things done under tight deadlines.

Potential for growth within the company:

  • The skills learned as an Executive Assistant can also be applied to the role of Office Manager. These skills can also be applied to Project Manager, Operations Lead, and Event Planner.

2. Brand Ambassador

Being a brand ambassador is a great way to get your foot in the door at a startup. This role tends to be part-time, so it's an ideal position for college students or anyone looking for a second job.

What a Brand Ambassador actually does:
  • You're the person who represents a company at events and demonstrations in order to help acquire new customers. You'll get the chance to introduce new products at festivals, conferences, and other events near you — and get paid to do it!
What type of person you should be to fill the role successfully:

  • You should be outgoing, willing to repeat yourself, passionate about what you're marketing (or able to fake it well!), have the stamina for long events, and be willing to work weekends.

Potential for growth within the company:

  • The skills learned as a brand ambassador are great prerequisites to Marketing and Sales roles. If you're more about strategy and planning rather than execution, becoming an Event Planner may be in your future, too.

3. Office Manager

The Office Manager is in charge of administrative tasks—not just for executives, but for the entire office.

What an Office Manager actually does:
  • Expect to do tasks such as updating and coordinating schedules, planning office events, organizing payroll, and keeping the office snacks stocked. Of course, wearing many hats is a part of startup culture, so extra tasks will probably be thrown at the Office Manager daily. This role requires a lot of organization as it includes aspects such as scheduling and organizing operations.

What type of person you should be to fill the role successfully:

  • You should be organized, able to multitask, a strong communicator, friendly and professional. You must also be reliable as you’ll often be working alone to get things done under tight deadlines.

Potential for growth within the company:

  • Because of the multitasking and dynamic nature of this job, Office Managers have the skills to transition into Project Managers, Operations Leads, and Event Planners.

4. Community Manager

A community manager is a public-facing role. The Community Manager is a spokesperson that represents the brand and voice of the company. There is a large emphasis on communication as this role manages messages from the startup to the public and vice versa. 

What a Community Manager actually does:
  • Expect a lot of public relations tasks, content creation, and social media-related posting. You'll spend time monitoring and responding to comments on social media sites, blogs, articles, and engaging with fans. The role also includes attending and hosting events to spread the word about the startup.

What type of person you should be to fill the role successfully:

  • You should be able to stimulate discussion, be empathetic to the needs of the community, have the ability to connect with people, and be tech savvy enough to respond to online communities.

Potential for growth within the company:

  • These skills can be used in public relations or media relations for a more established company. There’s also the potential to grow into a Marketing or User Acquisition position.

5. Recruiter

As a startup grows, they seek out the best and brightest talent. A recruiter is in charge of enlisting talented people to join their company and fill available roles.

What a Recruiter actually does:
  • You'll post jobs, review (lots of) resumes, search for potential candidates online, make and facilitate job offers, and assist in the hiring and onboarding processes.

What type of person you should be to fill the role successfully:

  • You should be outgoing in order to connect with candidates, be a strong negotiator—especially when it comes to facilitating job offers, willing to spend a lot of time researching candidates, empathetic to understanding the needs of potential employees, and competitive when it comes to winning over a candidate with multiple job offers.

Potential for growth within the company:

  • There’s potential to run the Department of Talent, move up in the Operations team, or become the head of Talent Acquisition and Recruiting at a larger company. All companies need recruiters to continue to grow their team, so this job has a lot of security and is in constant demand.

6. Marketing Assistant

At larger companies, Content Creators and Social Media Managers have split positions, but with the lean staff of a startup, the positions will often be combined to form the Marketing Assistant role.

What a Marketing Assistant actually does:
  • You’ll coordinate blog posts, content creation, social media posts, and help establish the voice and aesthetic of the startup’s media presence, both on and offline. You'll also do plenty of data analysis to improve campaigns and see why past campaigns were successful or not. These campaigns may include print, social media, email, or digital campaigns.

What type of person you should be to fill the role successfully:

  • You must be especially creative and forward thinking, willing to experiment and change directions easily, stay organized, and be excited by analytics and data.

Potential for growth within the company:

  • Opportunities for growth include moving up to Marketing Manager, Head of Marketing, or Chief Marketing Officer. Almost every large company now has a Social Media Manager, so this is a great experience if you hope to establish a career in social media management or content creation.

7. Customer Service Representative

If a startup does any work with customers, they will need a Customer Service Representative. If you have a patient and optimistic nature, you’ll be sure to thrive.

What a Customer Service Representative actually does:

  • Expect to interact with customers on the phone, via email, in person, or online to solve problems, educate customers, be an advocate for customers to the company, and keep customers happy in order to ensure that they are repeat users.

What type of person you should be to fill the role successfully:

  • You must be patient, empathetic, excited to solve problems, and have strong communication skills.

Potential for growth within the company:

  • Since you will have a grasp on what customers want, there is the opportunity to go into Marketing. Problem-solving skills transition well into the Operations team, too!

8. Graphic Design Assistant

If you have a design background, but don’t yet have the experience to manage design for a startup, join a company as the Graphic Design Assistant. 

What a Graphic Design Assistant actually does:

  • Startups will need designs for their website, marketing materials, and logos. And because startups have small teams, you’ll have a lot of autonomy in creating designs.

What type of person you should be to fill the role successfully:

  • You should be patient, creative, artistic, and be welcoming to constructive criticism.

Potential for growth within the company:

  • You can grow into the Lead Graphic Designer role, Head of Design, or move up in the Branding department.

9. Sales Associate

If you get excited about setting and reaching goals, an entry-level Sales position could be a great fit. Any company that has a product needs salespeople, so this is a common entry-level job.

What a Sales Associate actually does:

  • The Sales Associate spends time communicating with current users as well as prospective customers and clients. You may be generating leads, reaching out to potential users, turning leads into sales, and closing deals. This can be on the phone, in person, or by email.

What type of person you should be to fill the role successfully:

  • You should be competitive and get excited about closing sales. You'll also need to be outgoing and personable and understand that rejection is all part of the process.

Potential for growth within the company:

  • This position can lead to opportunities higher up in the Sales department such as the Head of Sales, or provide an opening into Business Development.
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