Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Now What?

Now What?

You found a great Urban Intern - - someone who's skilled, talented, available when you need them. You can finally cross 'hiring' off of your to-do list, right?

Not so fast! Consider the following:

We recently spoke with a few business owners who thought this exactly-- their team was in place so they devoted zero time to ongoing recruiting. Until one day, someone on their development team gave notice. And the next day, their marketing team was suddenly down one person!!!

Finding top talent is an ongoing process and the same rules apply for part-time help and interns. In an ideal scenario, we'd all have HR professionals in-house who are solely devoted to keeping a fresh rolodex of people to call upon in the case of a job opening. But for those businesses that don't, here are some tips on how to keep the pipeline fresh:
  • Once you narrow down your pool of candidates, continue to invest in the relationship with those you don't hire. Maybe they'll be free in the future or can step in if your top choice doesn't work out.
  • Stay connected with a resource for finding candidates. Save job descriptions and other information you found useful in the first go-round as it can save you time down the line.
  • Use the downtime (do we ever have any) to think a step ahead. Nothing beats the feeling of making a decision without an impending deadline looming right in front of you. Now's the perfect time to evaluate needs for 2010 and get going with your search.

Or at the very least, you'll have good advice to give to your friends who don't do this, because sooner or later, they'll come to you and ask-- NOW WHAT??

**Log into Urban Interns here

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Winter is the New Summer for Finding Internships (guest post on

As I was perusing the job listings on today, I couldn't help but note the following excerpts:
  • "understand the inner workings of a start-up..."
  • "24-hour turn around work during business days..."
  • "As the business grows, I will be hiring [full-time]..."
Don't all of the above sound like summer internships? Wrong. They're all winter internships with small businesses.

Read the rest of our guest post for Lindsey Pollak's blog here! Lindsey is an author, speaker and consultant specializing in Gen Y career and workplace issues. We love her blog - she's got a lot of great advice for job seekers, and we think people of all ages and experience levels can benefit from her wisdom.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Trend & Insight Report Shows a Rise in Paid Positions

We just ran our metrics from November and there's some great news for job-seekers -- paid positions as a percentage of posted positions on the site are up! Below are some highlights from the release -- download the full release with tables here.
  • Nearly half (49%) of the positions posted on the site were paid, up from (36%) in August and (41%) in October.
  • The internet category continues to lead in hiring, but we note that more companies increasingly have a presence on the web and therefore fall into that category more frequently. Professional services firms also continue to lead in hiring.
  • The general area of marketing continues to be the main focus of hiring for small businesses, and social media specifically remains the top task.
  • Given that the overall percentage of paid jobs on Urban Interns has increased and the concentration of hiring in internet businesses, marketing and professional services, we believe these categories are indicating signs of economic optimism.
  • Approximately one-third of the positions posted on Urban Interns are purely virtual, indicating that the trend of small business owners hiring virtual help continues.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Are You Ready for Black Friday?

Black Friday -- It's been called the biggest day of the year in retail. 16% of all consumers are planning to start their holiday shopping this Friday (up from 10% in each of 2007 and 2008!). Think of all who are gearing up to spend, and ask yourself:
Are you ready?

Have a storefront? Now's the time to make sure you have extra salespeople on hand to provide a great experience for your customers.

Have an e-commerce site? Customer service is equally important, as is ensuring that your fulfillment process can handle increased volume.

And the very best part of Black Friday? It's just the beginning of holiday shopping season. There are several weeks ahead where you'll need to turn it up to ensure a solid end to the year. Promoting year end sales, distributing news to social networks and blogs, following up on leads....Who has time for it all!?!


Whether you need someone for a few hours a day or several days a week, qualified part-time help and interns are just a click away. And remember, Urban Interns work virtually and locally.

You define your needs * We provide access to great candidates.

Get started here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Urban Interns Refer a Friend Program

If you haven't had a chance to post a job or search for a top notch Urban Intern, now's your chance. With the holidays approaching and all that needs to get done before year-end, we know you could probably use an extra set of hands.

Want some great news? We're giving you one free job post until December 24, 2009 (that's right - FREE!!) in exchange for you helping us to spread the word about Urban Interns.

Here's how it works:

  • Spread the word about Urban Interns to friends and family. Below is some suggested language which you can copy/paste into an email.
  • Make sure that when friends and family sign up, they put YOUR NAME in the "how did you hear about us" text box on the registration page.
  • Each time a referral pays to post a job or search the Urban Interns database, we'll email you with a coupon for one free job post. ***This coupon is only good until December 24, 2009 so don't delay.
Please let us know if you have any questions, and thanks again for being a part of Urban Interns.


Lauren & Cari
Urban Interns


Here is some suggested text for an email to your friends:

Hi there! I wanted to let you know about a phenomenal resource to grow your business during the holiday shopping season. It's called Urban Interns ( Urban Interns is a national marketplace that connects small business owners with people seeking part-time jobs and internships, locally and virtually. If you need help this season but don't want the commitment of a full-time employee, it's the perfect way to cost-efficiently scale your business. I have used Urban Interns, and I have found it very helpful. They have a database of thousands of qualified candidates, all college-aged or above. You can find people in NYC, Boston, Chicago, and Washington DC, or for virtual positions nationwide. The fee is $39.95/month, which gets you 1 job post plus unlimited access to contacting the candidate database.

I am especially interested in spreading the word because if I refer a friend who signs up as a paying employer before December 24th, I'll get a free month! Make sure to put MY NAME in the "How Did You Hear About Us?" text box on the registration page. Thanks for helping out, and I hope you enjoy using Urban Interns!


Here is a suggested Tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn update:

If you pay on now thru 12/24, I'll get a free month! Put my name in "How Did U Hear Abt Us" box on reg page

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Employer Report: Outsource Your Networking

With the holidays around the corner, you probably see your calendar booking up with holiday networking events. If your business development relies heavily on word of mouth referrals, why not think about increasing your reach during this busy season by hiring someone to network on behalf of your businesss.
Sound too good to be true? Here are some things to think about:
  • Train your Urban Intern on how you give your pitch. He or she will be representing you and your company and you want to make sure it's done right. Talking points are also helpful - a few bullets on the information you want to share will go a long way.
  • Provide company materials. Even if it's just your business card, you want to make sure that people who hear about your company and love it can get in touch with you.
  • Plan a follow-up strategy. Whether you want to follow up directly or want your Urban Intern to send a quick note to new connections, post-event contact is critical to maintain relationships.
And remember, whether long-term or short-term, virtual or in-person, college student or seasoned professional, paid or unpaid -- you define your needs, we provide access to connections. WELCOME TO THE FUTURE OF HIRING!
Ready to find quality part-time help or interns? Login here.

* And remember, we have Urban Interns in NYC, Boston, Chicago, and Washington DC; and virtual Urban Interns across the country.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Employer Report: Finishing Up Strong

How did it get to be November? That's what we've been asking ourselves the last few days. We're probably not the only ones taking a second glance at the calendar.
The end of the year is in sight, which means that on top of running day to day operations, we need to get organized to ensure a solid finish to 2009.
In the next few issues of the Urban Interns Employer Report - a free resource focused on effectively leveraging part-time staff and interns - we'll highlight ways to utilize Urban Interns to help tackle these year-end to-do's.
Project #1: Client Communication.
Are you planning on reachining out to your clients, contacts or supporters in the next two months to send holiday greetings? Might seem like a small task, provided that you've been diligent all year about updating your contact lists. For the 99.9 percent of us that are still looking at a stack of business cards in a pile at the side of our desk, now is the time to get this sorted out. Mid-December is a bit too late.
An Urban Intern can help you:
  • sort through and organize your contacts
  • research options for holiday greetings (printed, electronic, custom)
  • send out your note, once the above has been accomplished.
And remember, whether long-term or short-term, virtual or in-person, college student or seasoned professional, paid or unpaid -- you define your needs, we provide access to connections. WELCOME TO THE FUTURE OF HIRING!
Ready to find quality part-time help or interns? Login here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Urban Interns Is Launching In Chicago!

Spread the word - we're expanding our local presence to Chicago. As a job-seeker, right now you can login to Urban Interns and select Chicago as your local city. As an employer, on MONDAY November 2nd you'll be able to post a job and/or search the database for candidates specifically in Chicago. Of course, you can find and post local positions in NYC and Boston, as well as virtual positions in any city. Our local city-by-city rollout will continue with Washington DC and other cities later in November. Stay tuned and help us help you by spreading the word to all your colleagues, friends, press and other contacts in Chicago!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Employer Report: Part Three in Our Series on Virtual Internships - Managing a Virtual Intern

In this issue of the Urban Interns Employer Report - a free resource to help you grow your business by leveraging part-time staff and interns - we will address the third and final topic in our series on virtual internships, "How to Effectively Manage a Virtual Intern."

A Brief Recap on Virtual Internships
  • Hiring virtual interns is a growing trend, especially among small- to mid-size businesses.
  • The benefits of virtual interns include low overhead, flexible scheduling and extended talent pool.
  • When selecting a virtual intern, remember the three P's: Professionalism, Performance and Presence.
So now that you've hired your virtual intern, what's next?

Goals, Guidance and Good Communication.

  • Goals: Begin your work by clearly defining what you expect from your virtual intern. When is the project due? What format are you expecting? Are there certain milestones that need to be hit by certain dates? Things that may be intuitive to you or otherwise may be picked up "on the job" need to explicitly stated when you're working with someone remotely.
  • Guidance: When bringing on an intern, or any new staff member for that matter, upfront training is needed. This is no different with someone who is working for you virtually. The more effort you put in to getting someone up to speed, the more you can expect in terms of performance.
  • Good Communication: First, get your method of communication in order and on a regular basis. Do you prefer phone, email or Skype? Or perhaps a combination of the above? Second, establish a routine for communication and check-ins. Whether daily, weekly, or regularly with as-needed updates, both you and your virtual intern will come to appreciate this ability to touch base, catch up, and regroup. The earlier you establish the routine, the quicker you can find your most productive pattern.
Virtual Interns are a great resource for cost-effectively growing your business. Check back with us for more tips on selecting wisely and managing well.
Ready to find part-time help or an intern? Login here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Employer Report: on Urban Interns & Part Two in Our Series on Virtual Internships

Read about Urban Interns in World Business's article
about Virtual Interns.
Welcome to the Urban Interns Employer Report - a free resource to help you grow your business by creating and implementing win-win opportunities for part-time staff and interns.  Each week, we will answer questions, provide tips and inspire you to think creatively about using flexible resources such as part-time staff and interns to achieve your business goals.

Virtual Internships Part Two: Selecting a Virtual Intern

As reported by Urban Interns earlier this month, virtual internships are on the rise.  In our October Trend and Insight Report, we noted that the percentage of virtual positions posted on Urban Interns increased from 9% to 24% between the end of August and September. This growing trend is also gaining a lot of discussion in the media, as indicated by yesterday's article by World Business which featured Urban Interns as well as our work with our very own intern, an incredibly talented Columbia student.   

The benefits of bring on a virtual intern are many: low overhead since you don't need to expand your office space, you can set the hours that best suit your business and your schedule, and you can tap into a talent pool that expands well beyond your geographic location. 
But, before we dive into tips on how to most effectively manage a virtual intern, which we'll do in next week's Employer Report, the first question is how to select a virtual intern.  Unlike a traditional job interview, this interview may be entirely over the phone or Skype -- meaning there's no opportunity to evaluate body language and rapport. So how do you navigate the online world to find the best fit for your organization?  Consider the Three P's of Professionalism, Performance, and Presence:
  • Professionalism:  Prior to your interview, you will likely have many initial interactions with a candidate through Urban Interns and over email. First impressions are still powerful, so even in these early interactions, you'll be able to get a lot of insight into a candidate.  If a candidate is writing you quick emails and forgetting to capitalize letters, think of it as the modern day version of walking into a room and forgetting to make eye contact or address you by the proper name.  Just because it's a virtual position does not mean your standards of excellence should be any lower.
  • Performance:  If you're adding to your staff in any way, it means you're busy and need help. You need someone who will ramp up quickly and deliver stellar work.   Ask for samples of work, professional references and perhaps consider asking the candidate to do a short exercise so you can evaluate work product.
  • Presence:  That's online presence.  With all the social networks and ways to get in touch, we're all so discoverable these days -- including candidates.  Go ahead and take a look at the information that's publicly available online. You are certain to learn a lot.
So while going the virtual road means you may need to forego some of the benefits that come with in-person interactions, there are still many ways to successfully evaluate a candidate and make the selection that makes the most sense for your business.

Stay tuned for Part Three in our Virtual Internships series in next week's Employer Report: Managing a Virtual Intern.

Ready to find your perfect virtual intern? Login here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Employer Report: Virtual Internships - An Update

A few weeks ago we highlighted for you a WSJ Article on virtual internships.

Since then, we have seen many employers turning to Urban Interns for virtual help to fill a variety of virtual needs. Some examples:
  • Los Angeles-based software company seeking business development intern.
  • Silicon Valley startup seeking part-time blogger - can work from anywhere.
  • Web 2.0 startup seeking community manager for website to manage social networking profiles, respond to question/inquires about the company, and initiate conversations in applicable community.
  • iPhone App Developer and Publisher looking for online marketing and PR internfor keyword research, app description optimization. 
  • NYC Social Media firm looking for social media intern to do keyword research, link-building and article posting.
So what does this mean to all you employers?
  • Hiring virtual interns is a growing trend and one that you should consider for your business.  Imagine having access to a pool of part-time help - students and graduates from top tier schools, seasoned professionals - that extends beyond your local area.  
  • The advantages of a virtual intern extend beyond cost and logistics.  Are you short on office space?  They work from home.  Do you like work that's done while you sleep?  Set up your virtual intern's hours to be during nighttime hours.
  • So many of today's small business owner's daily needs lend themselves to virtual work: blogging, social media, business development, research.  Sound familiar? Search here.
What to do once you've hired someone?  In our next Employer Report, we'll explore how to best manage a virtual intern.

Ready to find your perfect virtual intern? Login here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Employer Report: Seeking Part-Time Help with Experience

You may have seen Dan Schawbel's mention of Urban Interns in yesterday's US Metroencouraging college students to get started on looking for meaningful internships and entry level positions.  That college students are so on the ball these days as to not even be in school for a month and already be thinking about internships, is amazing, and presents a phenomenal opportunity for you as a small business owner to reap the benefits of such ambition!

However, this brings us to our Question of the Week: 
What if I am looking for someone with more experience than college level, but still on a part-time basis? 

College students are not the only ones looking for part-time jobs.  The Labor Department released data on Friday showing unemployment is at it's highest rate since 1993. In addition, the percentage of people employed part-time for economic reasons is up 220 basis points year-over-year and 10 basis points month-over-month.  In other words, a lot of people are looking for work right now, and a lot of people are turning to part-time work and internships in absence of a full time job.  This absolutely does not mean the quality of the labor pool on Urban Interns is any lower for it - quite the contrary.  Below is a smattering of profile excerpts from recently registered Urban Interns:
  • "Accomplished executive with 11 years experience in business development, program/project management and growth strategy"
  • "veteran in the Event Planning industry for 18 years and 15 years in the special event production industry"     
  • "I worked as a sportswriter at the New York Daily News from May 2005-September 2009"  
  • "I currently manage an e-commerce website"
  • "Ten years of New York City advertising experience...encompasses marketing, promotions, and advertising"
The Bottom Line: if you need someone with work experience and perhaps a few years (or more) of post-college life experience under their belts to help manage your social media campaign, do some writing, research, or otherwise help you execute your dream, login to Urban Interns now and start searching.
Ready to find your perfect virtual intern? Login here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Employer Report: WSJ on Virtual Internships

  • Virtual internships are most popular among small to midsize companies and online businesses.
  • Virtual internships first became popular in the late 1990's in information technology and software development. Today, they also include the sales, marketing and social media departments of companies across various industries.
  • One of the many benefits of virtual internships include an expanded pool of candidates and saved money on office overhead.
Hmmm...Interesting. Does a virtual intern make sense for your business? If so, here are a few things to consider: 
  1. If working virtually is new to you, before jumping in and hiring a completely virtual intern(i.e. you're in NY and your intern is in Seattle), test the concept with someone semi-virtual (i.e. you're in Boston, so is your intern). This allows you to have the benefit of bringing someone on without increasing your office overhead, but still gives you the opportunity to meet face to face with your intern as needed.
  2. Set up the structure for communication at the outset. Do you prefer to talk on the phone once a day, or receive an email update once a day? Especially because you won't be sitting together and your intern won't have the opportunity to observe your work style, it's particularly important that you set the rules at the outset.
  3. What's the schedule you expect your virtual intern to keep? Do you want them to be available for you during your business hours or can they work on their own schedule? With a virtual arrangement comes a lot of independence for your intern, so if you'd like them to be working more on your schedule (and not potentially at 3 am!), it's necessary to state this at the outset.
A virtual intern can be a great resource for your company. Sure, because virtual internships are relatively new (and may be completely new to you!) you'll need to make an upfront investment in time in thinking through the position. But, find someone great (like our very own Urban Intern) and it could very well pay off in multiples.
Ready to find your perfect virtual intern? Login here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Writing an Effective Job Post - an Urban Interns Success Story

Last week we told you about one of our recent users, savvy lawyer and insurance guru, Keith Le Pack. Keith heard about Urban Interns from a colleague and quickly posted a job-on a Friday night, no less.

When we checked in with Keith this week, he already hired an incredible Urban Intern. Now that's the kind of success story we like to hear about!

We're often asked for advice on what makes a good job post, so we decided to do some first-hand research on the topic. (Keith's post being one great example). We found the following common elements among the most effective job posts.
  • Be concise.  While you want to give Urban Interns a comprehensive overview of your position, you don't want prospective candidates to get lost in the details.  Include the key elements (what kind of company, what kind of work) but the rest is better suited for direct communication with interested candidates.
  • What's the opportunity? That's right- Urban Interns are working for you but in order to entice top talent, you also need to make it clear what you're offering. Is it a paid position, do you offer school credit, will you offer the best of the best mentorship and networking?  
  • What's the potential? Do you envision your position as a short-term gig or is their an opportunity for a more  long term arrangement. There's a market for both, just be clear about your goals.
  • Be flexible.  One of the great things about Urban Interns is that you can edit your job post mid-month!  So if you're not getting the number of responses you wished for, consider re-thinking the terms of the position and what you're willing to invest in it.
Have a job you've been meaning to post? Login here. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Employer Report: How to Build a Marketing Team on a Budget

Welcome to the Urban Interns Employer Report - a free resource to help you grow your business by creating and implementing win-win opportunities for part-time staff and interns.

This issue is brought to you by Traci Feit Love, a small business writer and consultant. To learn more about Traci and how she can help your company, visit her website at
Question of the Week:
I need to do a better job promoting my small business, but I have a very limited marketing budget. What's the best way to get some marketing help without breaking the bank?

Marketing plays a key business development role in any small business.  It's important to focus on, regardless of your budget.  

If marketing is a foreign language for you, setting a strategy is best left to the experts.  The good news is that once you have that strategy in place, you can bring in some less expensive resources to help you execute.  

For example, if part of your marketing strategy involves e-communication, there are many do-it-yourself email platforms out there that provide you with great templates.  Many programs also provide easy-to-understand analytics, so you can see how effective your campaign was.  We use Constant Contact, but another great one is Vertical Response.  Or if you're more tech-savvy, we've heard Campaign Monitor is good.

Still, developing the content for your campaign can be time-intensive and perhaps writing isn't something you enjoy.  This is a perfect job for a part-time person or even a really great intern.  

This can apply to many other areas: social media, guerrilla marketing, blogging, even PR. These "free" forms of marketing can comprise the bulk of your marketing campaign in the early days of your business.  The key is that as a business owner, you set the strategy, and hire others to execute.

The bottom line:  The more limited your budget, the more creative you need to be about finding great resources.  That doesn't mean cutting important pieces out of your growth plans, it just means understanding what's worth your time as a business owner, and stretching your dollars to include some highly efficient "do-ers".

When you're ready to find the perfect candidate, visit and click on "Find an Urban Intern." To submit your questions for future issues of Urban Interns' Employer Report, just e-mail us at

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Announcing the Urban Interns Employer Report

Welcome to the first issue of the Urban Interns Employer Report - a free resource to help you grow your business by creating and implementing win-win opportunities for part-time staff and interns.  The report will go out by email to our registered employers, so if you are not already registered as an Urban Interns employer, you can do so here.

Each week, Urban Interns will answer your questions about internship programs and inspire you to think creatively about using flexible resources such as part-time staff and interns to achieve your business goals. This issue is brought to you by Traci Feit Love, a small business writer and consultant. To learn more about Traci and how she can help your company, visit her website at
Question of the Week:
I live in a city with tons of college students. Back when I worked at a big company, we would often hire interns. I don't have the resources to support a formal internship program. Is hiring an intern still a good option for me?

Yes! There are plenty of reasons why small businesses should consider hiring an intern, especially with so many qualified people looking for internship opportunities. Here are a few of them:
  • Increase your productivity without the expense of hiring a permanent, full-time employee.
  • Find the perfect fit for your next full-time opening by using an internship as a "trial period" to test out qualified candidates (instead of taking a risk on someone you've never worked with before).
  • Only invest in the time and work you need - internships can be temporary, seasonal, or part-time, or unpaid depending on what you're offering and what your expectations are.
  • Bring fresh ideas and energy into your business. College students, for example, are usually more familiar with new trends in technology and social media and can infuse your business with fresh perspective.
  • Former interns who become full-time employees can hit the ground running.
The bottom line: if you have more work than you and your current staff can manage, you should consider hiring an intern to handle it. To find the perfect intern for your business needs, visit and click on "Find an Urban Intern."

To submit your questions for future issues of Urban Interns' Employer Report, just e-mail us at 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lessons from the Inc 500

The Inc. 500 recently came out. This issue, with Inc’s Annual Report of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies is one of my favorite.  I love seeing who made the list, observing current trends among high growth start-ups, and of course, doing that gut check to see- are we on track to one day (fingers crossed) cross the threshold to be included in the All-Star Round-Up? One can dream, right….

One particular profile caught my eye—the story of, the niche marketplace that focuses exclusively on baby products. (You know how the Urban Interns team loves the niche marketplaces!) The stats (as per Inc.):, number 34 on the List, was founded in 2004.  Annual revenue: $89.4 million. Three year growth- 3,473.8 percent.  Amazing!

You just have to ask- what’s the secret sauce? Lots of retailers sell diapers—what’ so unique about this company that’s allowed them to achieve such rapid results and explosive growth?

Marc Lore, the CEO is profiled in Inc.  A couple of points I find fascinating. First-- the company’s reliance on word-of-mouth for early growth.  And think about it, that was before they had all these word-of- mouth enablers (ie social media outlets) at their fingertips.  Pretty inspiring for those of us who are faithfully blogging, tweeting, facebooking and ever other “ing” that gets us in front of people.

The second point is their emphasis on customer service.  Lore describes his customer service philosophy as “taking care of the moms at whatever cost.” He gives his really good customers “over the top treatment” including gift baskets and certificates to say thank you.  Lore reports that they spend $1 million a year on this kind of customer service, close to ten percent of their marketing budget.  It’s an interesting statistic, allocating that amount of marketing dollars to saying thank you to customers.  Clearly Lore believes that in keeping the Moms happy and making them feel valued they’ll pay it forward in multiples.  Judging from his numbers, looks like he’s right.

Now taking a step back, a very wise, successful and incredibly wonderful friend recently suggested that I focus on taking one important point away from every learning opportunity, whether it be an important conversation or something read.

My take-away from the profile? Treat your customers well and they’ll be more inclined to help you spread your word.  And as for our Urban Interns plug, if you’re personally too busy to devote yourself to customer service, hire someone who will. Going the extra mile to keep your community happy can take you very far…..

Cari Sommer, Co-Founder, Urban Interns

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Urban Interns Is Launching In Boston!

You heard it here first!  We're launching in Boston in early September.

Whether you have a client in Boston and need some local support or you're colleagues in Boston could also use an extra set of hands, Urban Interns will soon become the go-to marketplace for connecting small business owners with college-students and grads seeking part-time work and internships.
Good news travels fast, and we already have Urban Intern registrations from Boston area students and recent grads. We've also received a warm welcome from  career services folks at Boston University and Boston College (see us listed as a resource on the BC Career Services page!).

PLEASE HELP US spread the word and forward this news to your colleagues in the small business, startup, and entrepreneurship community in Boston.  Stay tuned for more details.
Login to start posting jobs and searching the database now!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Did you know many students can qualify for school credits for their internships?

With back-to-school right around the corner, small businesses can take advantage of the high level of competition amongst student bodies to beef up resumes, network, and gain hands on experience: internships for credit!  At first, the whole area of credit might seem like confusing terrain to navigate: university offices, documentation, etc.  But we have great news for employers: applying for credit is actually the responsibility of your intern.  You might have to fill out some brief forms, but consider it up to them to bring you the forms, provide all the documentation, and just have you review and sign.
Now, every university is different, and some don’t even offer school credit for internship.  But we’ve done a little digging at some of the major NYC universities, and we’ve found that certain undergrad majors at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and at the NYU Journalism Institute can receive internships for credit. The same holds true for graduate students from Columbia School of International Public Affairs, which actually requires students to do internships. Barnard and Columbia do not offer academic credit for internships, but if an employer is only offering an internship for credit, some eligible internships can qualify for registration credit (not academic credit) through the career services department.
Feel like you need an advanced degree to figure this all out?  We do too.
So here are our suggestions.  First, find your ideal candidate (on Urban Interns, of course!).  Then, if he/she happens to be attending university or grad school, ask if school credit is an option.  Let them do the research.  If the answer is yes, keep in mind that your intern will have certain academic goals that they are trying to accomplish throughout the course of working with you. They may have to write a paper, may have to report to a professor. If you genuinely have the time and interest in accommodating these needs, then proceed with the hire. And remember, you can always check in with career services if you have any questions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's an intern?

What's an intern? Silly question, right? Not so. It really means something different to everyone you talk to. The "traditional" internship is 8 weeks, over the summer, at a big firm, and the intern is typically in between their junior and senior year of college. But we can tell you as the owners of a site with the word "intern" in the name, that we haven't seen a single job like that posted, so something must have changed. The economy has put a lot of people not only out of work, but in career transition, as well as in limbo after college or grad school. In addition, the growth in online universities has made higher education accessible to the masses, enabling people of all ages and backgrounds to gain additional skill sets.  Social media has made it possible to build an entire business based on free online marketing, and it doesn't take an advanced degree to execute on that strategy. And non-Fortune 500 businesses need help more than ever. Essentially, it's the perfect time for small busineses to find part-time, flexible help. Call them interns or call them George, but they're multiplying, and not in the ways we saw 10 years ago when this girl interned at Arthur Andersen (aka happy hour every day! Should have known the place was doomed.)

Today, interns can be anything from apprentices, to admins, to research analysts, to PR people, to sales people.  They can be in college, post-graduation, or experienced professionals with years under their belt. They can work on site, virtually, or somewhere in between (i.e., once a week in-person check-ins with the rest of the time being solo.)  They can have set hours or a flexible schedule. They can work at a sole proprietorship, a mid-sized firm, or a large public company.  The rules have changed.  Thousands of Urban Interns await you.

Lauren Porat
Urban Interns

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ultra Light Startups - Great Networking for Entrepreneurs

When starting a new business everyone tells you to network, network, network.  “Be out there,” “meet people,” – call it what you may, but the truth is that as the Founders of an early stage company, a VERY large part of our job right now is selling the concept of Urban Interns and building our brand.  While you can fill every minute of your calendar with networking events, quickly learned it’s more about quality of affiliations than quantity.  We deliberately keep our list of organizations and affiliations short.  That said, Ultra Light Startups, started by Graham Lawlor, continues to be one of our favorites.

What is Ultra Lights Startups? “It’s a group Ultra Light Startups is a group of technology entrepreneurs who collaborate online and in-person to help each other launch startups quicker and cheaper.” 

Okay, so what does that mean? It means that month after month, Graham fills a room of early stage entrepreneurs, all of whom have at least some tech component to their businesses (and who doesn’t these days, right?) to meet, connect and listen to a panel of experts speaking about a cutting edge topic relevant to today’s start-up environment.   The first Ultra Light event we attended was on employment-related business models. In the last few months, he’s also had events based on twitter-based business models, bootstrapping a startup and monetizing online video.  The event starts with an opportunity to do a brief pitch about your company, and dedicated networking (and pizza!) midway through.  All this for $10, $20, or $30 per event, depending on whether you pitch, don’t pitch, or pay at the door.

Graham told us the other day that he began ULS because he was tossing around a number of business ideas and wanted to bring together like minded entrepreneurs, also in their early days, and looking for peers to discuss business ideas and challenges.  Why “Ultra Light” (or pre-funding) as a requirement to pitch at ULS? Because Graham also believes that an entrepreneurs first job is to focus on building a profitable business, not to run out and secure funding.  There are a lot of resources available for later stage companies.  ULS is very unique in its focus on the earlier stage ones.

Why do we like ULS and continue to go back? Great info from the panels, a collegial environment and we never know where the connections will lead.   As a business that focuses on serving small businesses, we’ve gotten a great response from the ULS crowd—who needs an affordable extra set of hands more  than entrepreneurs?

ULS has chapters in New York, Boston and London. Their next event on August 6 is on Local Business Models. More info here:









Sunday, July 12, 2009

Laurel Touby, MediaBistro Founder, Shares Insights on Entrepreneurship

Last week, I had the good fortune to attend a Q&A with Laurel Touby, Founder of MediaBistro, courtesy of the Columbia Business School Women’s Entrepreneurship Network.  Laurel is a total powerhouse, having grown her company from 1994 when she started hosting cocktail parties to meet people, to selling it for $23 mm to Jupiter Media in 2007).  So many great tidbits about entrepreneurship were shared.  Below is a sampling:
  • On how to grow a business through networking: You can get someone who would normally not open an email to open an invitation
  • On product: listen to your customers – they have the BEST ideas
  • On funding: build an audience and a revenue stream before approaching investors
  • On the CEO being the brand: if you’re too integral to your business, you can never sell it.  You can set the culture but the biz should live without you.
  • On growing from local to national: let your customers do your advertising for you
  • On hiring: Hire slowly.  Fire fast.
  • On being a female CEO: A female CEO will always be the “mean mommy”.  You can’t please everyone all of the time, so don’t sweat it.
  • On accepting who you are: There are 2 types of CEOs: inward-facing and outward-facing.  The former knows the numbers, the operations, the metrics.  The latter talks to press, customers etc.  Hire for whatever you’re not.
  • On technology: don’t be afraid to ASK your tech people to explain in laymen’s terms how things work and demand that they come up with creative ways to solve problems.  There’s always a way. [ed. note: when I worked at IAC, the Expedia guys, who were really the Microsoft guys, would always say “it’s just software.” So true.]
  • On surviving the recession: conserve cash. Show up at your customers’ doors to get paid. Come up with new products.
  • On competition: once you get a foothold in your space, it’s harder than you think to knock you down.
Comments welcome!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Recession Start-Up Phenomenon

Urban Interns is a recession start-up.  And according to the Kauffman Foundation study released in the middle of June entitled  “Economic Future Just Happened”, we are also part of a rich tradition of entrepreneurship that stems from down markets. 

From the release:

“more than half of the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during a recession or bear market, along with nearly half of the firms on the 2008 Inc. list of America’s fastest-growing companies…job creation from startup companies proving to be less volatile and sensitive to downturns when compared to the overall economy.”

While the perceived weakness of competition and unemployment are cited as factors contributing to the “recession start-up” phenomenon, we personally find the “why” to tell only a small part of the story. From our experience and our observation of others also in recession start-up mode, why we chose our current path is yesterday’s news. What’s much interesting is seeing how people are surviving these times and finding ways to thrive.

We’ve seen some businesses using this time to re-invest in themselves and refine their brand and positioning. Others are diversifying their revenue streams, while other are choosing this time to circle around an area of focus.  In other words, the strategies are all over the board. The common themes? Creativity, perseverance, resourcefulness and optimism.  And while the vast majority of us may not wind up on the Fortune 500 or Inc List (though believe us, the Urban Interns team is trying!) history teaches us that many of us that although somewhat counterintuitive, many of us can use these times to grow and prosper.  Additionally, the rapid growth in small business is a major driver in job creation.  Now that’s some good news we all can use.

What about you? Do these economic times have you reaching for the stars or burying your head in the sand? Leave a comment--- we’d love to hear from you.

Cari Sommer
Urban Interns

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Small Business Sentiment: Taking a Turn for the Better, or Will it be Doldrums for a Long Time?

Some data recently came out from the National Federation of Independent Business (N.F.I.B.) that the New York Times commented on, but we question the thoroughness of their analysis.  Since we have the ear of the small business community as well as job seekers, would love your input in the comments below, or if you don't feel comfortable commenting, send us an email at  

Essentially, the Times writes that the outlook for small business owners is bleak relative to the last two years, with the percentage of SBO’s planning to expand in the next 3 months contracting from 16% in July 2007 to 5% in May 2009.  In addition, SBO’s expect sales to be down 5% in the next 3 months, whereas 2 years ago this number was up 16%; and hiring is expected to be down 5% in the next three months vs. up 13% two years ago.  In addition, consumer confidence fell in June after 2 months of gains, the Conference Board reported today and as part of the same report, the % of Americans saying that jobs are “hard to get” increased slightly month over month.  However, I don’t believe this data tells the full story.  In the SBO data, you have to look at the month over month numbers, and while the “screen shot” of it is bleak on its face, I am seeing ever so slight upticks and/or stability in May over April pricing plans (3% vs 1%), hiring plans (steady at -5%).  In addition, it’s not clear from either study whether this relates to just full-time work or part-time work as well.  Presumably, many SBO’s have cut full-time hiring plans but still need to hire hourly / contract workers or interns to keep the lights on.

What do you all think?  What are your hiring plans for full- AND part-time / interns for the next 3 months like?  Please post your comments below! 


Lauren Porat
Urban Interns

Friday, June 5, 2009

Building structure around an unstructured internship

Thanks to Shawn Graham of Courting Your Career for guest posting!  We hope to return the favor!

You approach a small company or start up who has never hired an intern before about the possibility of working for them over the summer. They are interested in bringing you on board, but they don’t have a formalized training program or even much of a position description.

If they decide to make you an offer, should you just accept it on the spot so you know you’ll have something on your resume? Possibly…but that’s a risky bet. To make the most of your summer, your internship needs to be meaningful. And the best way to ensure that it’s meaningful is for you to take the lead on giving it some structure.

First things first, you need a job description 1) because you want to know what you’re signing up for and 2) it gives you something tangible that you can refer back to throughout the course of your internship so you can make sure you’re getting the experience you need to position you for full-time employment and your employer is getting the help they need to grow their business. Because they’re a small company, it’s usually much easier for you to pull something together for them to react to than it is to expect them to come up with something on their own.

Once you have a mutually agreed upon job description, you can initiate a discussion about a midpoint and final performance review. Doing so will put you in a position to receive actionable feedback that you’ll be able to address before the end of the summer and see how you throughout the course of the internship--this is especially important if you think there might be a shot at them hiring you on full time as you want to make sure you’re meeting their expectations and performing at the highest possible level.

If they don’t have a formalized training program, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s going to be up to you to get up to speed on your own. Take time to familiarize yourself with their business including their products and services. Listen for clues from management and coworkers about the challenges they’re facing as they could give you an idea for a project you could help get off of the ground.

And, speaking of which, don’t forget to speak up. Managers get busy. A typical 10 week summer internship goes by pretty quickly. If you find you’re spending most of your time on busy work or no work at all, approach your intern employer with ideas of how you might be able to help out on specific projects. You don’t want to come across as telling them what to do, but you do want to offer to help.

Adding structure to an unstructured internship is the best way to ensure a positive experience for the company and for you as their intern. The more meaningful your experience, the more meaningful it will be on your resume as you search for a full-time job.

Shawn Graham is author of Courting Your Career: Match Yourself with the Perfect Job and a career expert blogger for For more information about Shawn, visit his blog at