About the Author: Pragya Chaturvedi is pursuing LLM from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. She talks about how she grabbed an internship at a startup after leaving two jobs and how it helped her turn around her life.
My story is a bit different from most people. Almost everyone goes through an internship first which is followed by a job, but my journey was somewhat like job>internship>job. After having a bad experience with two horrible jobs, I had lost confidence in myself. I was constantly looking for suitable opportunities but to no avail. Online job portals like Naukri, Indeed, and Shine were turning up with call center ‘opportunities’ and nothing worthwhile. This was making me feel even more disheartened and hopeless.
I came across Internshala during the course of my routine (and somewhat frantic) job search. My tryst with it began somewhere around June 2016. Although I was not looking for an internship, I read the description that promised to find a ‘meaningful’ internship and decided to give it a try. An internship was better than having no job, but I didn’t actually think that I would get any good internship opportunities. I was about to be proved wrong. But, for once in my life, I was glad for that.
Within a few days of signing up and filling my details, I started getting notifications for internships that matched my qualifications as well as interests. Yes, no telemarketing, sales or BPO jobs or internships. Now, I am in no way looking down upon these jobs or industries, but it does get frustrating when you keep getting e-mails about jobs that are not even remotely relevant to you. I’m happy to say that with Internshala, this never happened even once. The internship notifications that I receive even now are a perfect match to my profile. Finally, a portal that delivers what it promises.
I had applied to several places and after getting calls from a few of them, I got one from PocketLawyer. Their selection procedure was quite streamlined. After shortlisting my profile, they called me and asked for my resume. Since I had some experience in Intellectual Property, I was asked to write a short, interesting write-up. I wrote on the topic ‘Myths related to Trademarks’ and submitted it. Next, I was asked to submit a 1500-word assignment on ‘Commercial Comparative Law’, complete with citations and footnotes.
They liked my work and it was followed by a brief telephonic interview with one of the founders, Sanchit. I was asked to give a brief introduction about myself and my previous work experience. I was also asked why I was specifically interested in interning with a startup as most people want to go for established legal firms. I honestly replied that I thought a startup would offer better chances of quick growth compared to a firm and would be more receptive to creative ideas. I was also asked the quintessential question – why should we hire you? I clearly replied that apart from my experience in legal writing and Intellectual Property, I was also good with accounting, taxation, and auditing. I also stated that I had no problem with multitasking as I knew that in a startup, many times, there is no specific delineation of responsibilities. I was comfortable in handling varied responsibilities. In the end, I was asked if I had any suggestions/feedback for them. Since I had gone through their website before the interview, I was able to provide feedback about the ease of use of their website and even suggested incorporating few more user-friendly features. The interview went great and an exchange of e-mails outlined the finer details such as the working hours. Finally, I joined their office from 1st August 2016.
Now coming to PocketLawyer, the one word that I would use to describe my experience is unexpected. Yes, unexpected because it was completely different from any other experience that I previously had. On the first day, I had a warm and friendly interaction with all the three founders. They explained my work and assigned me some tasks. Sounds pretty routine so far, doesn’t it? Well, the difference lies in the manner in which the things were done like when instead of scolding me for my mistake, they politely asked for an explanation and listened to it patiently. Or when they thoughtfully showed my errors without any kind of humiliation and appreciated whenever I did some good work. These things may be quite common in some places, and not quite so in some places. However, it was definitely new for me, and I enjoyed every moment working with them.
One of the most important aspects of an internship is learning. Within the span of one month, I gained immensely valuable skills and knowledge like the nuances of legal research, the art and skill of article writing, drafting skills, legal marketing, improved communication and inter-personal skills, and, of course, the art of multi-tasking. At the end of the internship, they made me the editor. At present, I’m working as a full-time legal editor with them and intend to continue doing the same.
From my personal experience, I have a couple of tips for all the students looking out for an internship at a startup:
• Don’t give rehearsed or superficial answers. You need to express your individuality.
• A startup is all about growing together. So, don’t hesitate from being open and truthful in your answers, and share your views and ideas.
• A startup will provide you a plethora of learning opportunities, but you’ll be required to do a lot of work too. So, don’t apply if your only aim is to get a certificate.
• Before applying, always go through the company’s website and other online channels. It’ll not only help you understand the company’s work culture but will also help you in answering questions in the interview.
In the end, I would say that doing an internship has been a great opportunity. If you do get one, grab it. Who knows it might just turn out to be the best decision for your career, as it did for me. Thank you, Internshala for providing me this opportunity.