For the past four months I have had the pleasure of working at CEO Law, an alternative legal services company, exposing me to the fast-paced, exciting world of startups. As a University student looking to make headway in my career, the opportunity has proven to be invaluable to both my personal and professional development. Reflecting over my experiences over the past couple months, I would urge anyone, especially those looking to expedite job experience, to try their hand at working for a startup rather than for a larger, more established company, for the following reasons:
- Startup means small. Working at a startup means you will be working in close proximity with your colleagues, many of whom hold strategic, decision making positions. At CEO Law this gave me an opportunity I would not have received elsewhere, as I, only a “lowly intern” was able to work alongside the CMO on a daily basis. He passed on a considerable amount of industry knowledge, gave me direct feedback, and acted as a mentor, helping me navigate my desired career path. This position provided me with a unique, and frankly unprecedented opportunity to grow, while establishing strong internal company connections.
- Startup means new. In a company that is just starting off, there is much less set in stone. In fact several significant business and brand decisions will be made over the course of your employment where you will have the opportunity to have direct input and say. In my case, as we were rolling out a new phase of a product launch, I was able to sit in on these meetings and give my opinion that eventually shaped the final release. Although some may view an increase of responsibility in either a negative or positive way, playing a more dynamic role in the company allows you to try an array of new things, and gives you the opportunity to master a variety of different skills. Throughout the course of my 4 month internship, I was able to gain experience in almost every single element of pragmatic marketing – from lead generation, to sales presentations, and even to graphic design.
- Startup means satisfaction. On top of being able to offer unique benefits such as a casual atmosphere, the flexibility to work from home, or the chance to work in an up and coming space like WeWork, employees of startups share in the birth, growth, and success of their company. It is extremely satisfying to see the direct efforts of your work, as both you and your colleagues create something from nothing. Your work will be more closely monitored and therefore more valued and appreciated by your superiors.
Although a startup may lack the resources for a pay scale competitive to a larger, more established company, chances are you won’t get the same opportunities to make meaningful connections, and participate in dynamic, satisfying work, but will rather be designated to a more narrow set of responsibilities, slowing your professional development and overall capacity to learn.