11 Skills Aspiring Startup Employees Should Have

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship Startup Advice / September 14, 2013

Employee Attributes

Q.What one skill do you think young people looking for startup jobs should possess?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. The Desire to Learn

The sheer desire to want to help the business/founder on any level necessary is a great selling point. Think of every opportunity as a learning opportunity.
– Panos Panay, Sonicbids

2. Proactivity

Startups are usually very small teams trying to accomplish a very large amount of work, which means everybody is very busy. The best team members in a startup are those who are proactive and not sitting around waiting to be told what to do. They’re persistent when following up on communications and always being proactive about moving the company forward.
– Tim Jahn, matchist

3. Tenacity

All startups need someone who has persistent determination, tenacity and a never-ending supply of energy. In the startup world you hear a lot of “no,” so you need to ask and ask and ask until you hear “yes.” Tenacity is the only thing that will get you to “yes.”
Vanessa Van Edwards, Science of People

4. Trainability

Employers are always seeking people who are easy to train, especially in a fast-growing company or a company with a changing business model. A person unwilling to be trained makes it easier for the employer to let them go when conducting an evaluation. Employers will always pick the employee who’s easy to train over someone who is difficult to train.
– Derek Capo, Next Step China

5. Writing

In a startup environment, you’ll need to be able to wear multiple hats. And the biggest part of that juggling act will be your ability to properly communicate, both internally and externally. From drafting an email to writing a presentation, writing is one of the most crucial elements that will determine how far your startup will go.
– Alex Frias, Track Marketing Group

6. A Positive Attitude

A person’s attitude is contagious to his surrounding, especially in a tight working space at a startup. Someone who is always positive is more likely to overcome challenges ahead and be a good team player overall.
Jared Feldman, Mashwork

7. Code Writing

Even if you are looking for a non-technical job, having technical skills will always set you apart. Experience writing code means you can communicate with technical people better than your peers. Learn to code, and you won’t be disappointed.
Adam Lieb, Duxter

8. Problem Solving

Startups are all about solving problems. Young people who want to get jobs in startups should develop the skill of quickly taking in a lot of information and developing a framework for analyzing it to articulate a viable set of possible solutions. Anyone who can contribute rigorous solution-generating skills will be an asset to a startup, as well as any organization they join thereafter.
Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

9. Perseverance

Starting and running a startup is a huge emotional rollercoaster with high highs and low lows. If you give up after the first low, you might never get to the next high. Instead, you need to constantly be tinkering, improving and moving forward in small steps.
Charlie Graham, Shop It To Me, Inc.

10. Thirst for Learning

At a startup, there is always more to do. In many ways, your job will change every day. You have to enjoy the process of learning and challenging yourself. If an employee enjoys learning and taking on new challenges, I’m confident he will be able to work independently and proactively to get things done. People who get things done make my life as CEO easier!
Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas

11. Consistency

The ability to keep calm under pressure is important. One thing all startups have in common is they are going to have their ups and downs. The trick is to not get lazy when you’re on top or give up when you’re on bottom. Staying consistent and not giving in to the ups and downs is key.
Phil Laboon, Eyeflow Internet Marketing

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.