After Matt Gold has completed his second summer here at Lawline, he wishes to share 5 tips for any individual looking to actively learn on what is needed to maximize your experience at a company.
Five Take Aways from my Entrepreneurial Internship at Lawline
By Matt Gold
This summer marked my second year interning at Lawline, where the entrepreneurial atmosphere has provided me with great opportunity for personal and professional growth. The hands-on experience I have gained at this small, tight-knit organization is something a larger company would not have offered. Here are five of the most import things I have learned about what it takes to be a successful intern in an entrepreneurial organization experiencing rapid growth.
1. Work Hard
While this may sound obvious I can’t stress enough how important working hard, very hard is. If you are fortunate enough to intern for a growing business you will likely find that there is never a shortage of work that needs to be done. Show initiative and volunteer for new assignments. Be prepared to eat lunch at your desk. Your assistance and positive attitude will be appreciated by management. Also, handling various assignments exposes you to diverse job experiences. The level of new skills and knowledge you take away from an internship will be directly proportionate to the range of tasks you perform and the effort you put in.
2. Be Flexible and Resourceful
Interning at Lawline has sharpened my time and project management skills. Entrepreneurial businesses, like Lawline, that are experiencing rapid growth and opportunity, are also likely facing new challenges that come along with entering unchartered territory. Therefore they probably don’t have a “how to” manual for every task they assign to you. Be prepared to work on tasks that have never been done before and complement that with the self-discipline required to complete assignments on time. I have had to learn how to independently pace myself and determine the best time schedule especially when working on multiple projects. It can be challenging, but has pushed me to be independent, creative and strategic.
3. Volunteer to write an article or report
Find or volunteer for an assignment that provides you with a physical take away; something you can add to your portfolio. I was given an assignment to write an article for our Learn.Lawline Learning Blog. Marketing and online communication is vital to Lawline’s success in communicating with existing clients and attracting new ones. My writing assignment required me to think and write like a marketing professional. I wrote the copy in a bulleted fashion that makes it easier for busy people to read. I also embedded hyperlinks to online videos that emphasized my points and showcased Lawline course products. The article is now posted online at http://learn.lawline.com/2011/06/getting-started-with-social-media-five-things-lawyers-need-to-know/ and I have added it to my portfolio.
4. Adhere to Lawline’s Core Values
- Actively learning
- Seeking creative solutions
- Taking time to help others
- Exuding optimism
- Driven to find a better way
Lawline’s Core Values shape the culture and define the character of our organization. Our core values are demonstrated not only in the work place but also in our everyday lives. The core value that I hold dearest to myself is exuding optimism. It is extremely important to come into work each day with a smile on your face. As the old saying goes, smiles are contagious. I can say with confidence that having an optimistic approach to your work will make you a much more successful employee. This approach has helped me overcome many obstacles when adversity inevitably arises. Of course in order to honor the shared core values it is essential you work in a company that reflects your own values. Fortunately Lawline’s values and mine are well matched. I believe the success and job satisfaction I have experienced at Lawline is directly connected to my passion for the company mission and its core values.
5. Be a Team Player and find a Mentor/Coach
I enjoy sports and have experienced the importance of team work through my participation in them. Working at Lawline has also allowed me to be part of team. The Lawline team includes everyone from the interns to the CEO. All of us are passionate about our work and strive for success. Success can be measured many ways but includes delivering excellent customer service and creating efficient systems that build our business. This team oriented, inclusive atmosphere provides daily interaction with top management. I have gained so much from observing and interfacing with these dynamic leaders, especially my direct supervisor Frank Furbacher. I admire Frank’s work ethic and his drive to continually try new approaches to achieve goals. I appreciate the fact that that just like a great coach, Frank has trained me to perform better and has taught me many new skills. I am also thankful for his support and guidance. We all need the encouragement of others to do things we’ve never done before.
I don’t think a larger company would have given me the hands-on experience that I’ve gained from interning at Lawline. Furthermore, the real-world experience has given me a chance to apply things I have learned from my professors and text books. I will take this knowledge with me back to college and beyond.