What your state school careers advisor never told you

3 Minute Read

Jumpstart alumni Hamza writes about his experience looking for startup roles, coming from a state-educated school.

If you had told me when I was at school that my first job would be at a startup, I would have given you a very perplexed look. Firstly, because I naively associated startup jobs with a requirement of knowing how to code, and secondly due to never actually hearing about startup prospects for graduates until after university. 

I think this in part is due to the lack of investment in careers services for state school students. I recall my advisor going to the government National Careers Services website, pointing out that actuaries “apparently” get paid the most, and telling me to pursue it as a career. Spoiler alert: I didn’t; but it did add to my confusion.

This confusion got deeper as I went to university, learning about spring weeks, the progression to summer internships… it was overwhelming, to say the least. However, I did manage to build up experience, including at a startup called Tenzing.

I came across that role by chance, but it opened my eyes to the world of startups. However, the problem from here was that entry routes seemed impossible to find. Roles either required a lot of experience OR the business was in the late scale-up stage. This is when I found Jumpstart, and soon joined their 4th cohort.

“At no point did I feel as though I was disadvantaged by my background; the most important thing was to show genuine enthusiasm and willingness to learn”

– Hamza discussing his experiences on the Jumpstart programme

By now you’ve probably heard this a lot, but with the process being flipped on its head – and having startups pitch to you – it is so refreshing. The number of startups available is unparalleled. There really is something for everyone, whether you want to work in sustainability or finance, at an early stage or scale-up, and everything in between. At no point did I feel as though I was disadvantaged by my background; the most important thing was to show genuine enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

Hamza worked as Investment Analyst at Heroes, a startup that buys, scales, and operates consumer brands.

I joined Heroes in April 2021 as their first Jumpstarter, initially as an Investment Analyst before rotating into the Supply Chain team. Two vastly different roles, but the level of support from the teams, and the ability to draw from their expertise, gave me the best experience. I think this also speaks to the fact that startups help expand your horizons and allow you to diversify your skillset through different roles and responsibilities, which all happens much faster than in larger corporates. A year later, and Heroes has had 4 more Jumpstarters join the team, growing their junior cohort massively. 

Jumpstart opened doors for me that I would have never imagined after graduating. Plus, now with the introduction of their career switcher scheme, I’m excited to see how diverse the future start-up landscape can be!

Matching top talent with top startups.