Friday, November 5, 2010

Tweet for Me

Social Media Tip: Find an Urban Intern to help you with Twitter.

Maybe you’re already tweeting like crazy. Or maybe you think the concept of Twitter is crazy. Ether way, you know that 100 million plus Twitter users can’t be wrong, and now you want an Urban Intern’s help with managing your tweets. Here’s a checklist of a few easy items that an Urban Interns can help you with.

Set a Schedule – Because Twitter makes updates in real time, the more you tweet, the more often you’ll appear at the top of your followers updates. To stay relevant and on your followers’ pages think about how often you’d like to tweet. Set-up a tweet schedule and stick to it!

Add Apps – You may want to tweet ten times a day but who has the time? Instead, why not ask your Urban Intern to use a Twitter application to easily manage your account. Our favorite app is Hoot Suite. Create an account so tweets can be scheduled in advance. Automatic direct messages can also be set-up when your account has a new follower.

Find Some Interesting Folks to Follow – Now that you’re set-up, it’s time to start finding some key people to “follow”. Presumably these are folks who are notable in your industry, are always in the know, or maybe are just funny! How do you locate them? First, search Twitter for industry keywords and leaders. Next, check out their followers to find other people you’d like to hear from. Speed up the process by using Twellow, a Twitter app, that allow you to find other users based on similar interests.

Tweet Types - With each tweet, you’re limited to 140 characters, but you’re not limited by the types of tweets you can send to your followers! Here are some tweet ideas to get you started:

Updates: Let everyone know what's going on in your business. Is registration open for your new class? Did you just get in new inventory? Check out @marieforleo for more ideas.

Retweets: Use the retweet button to pass along messages that you like. Don’t forget to retweet our posts that you find helpful @UrbanInterns.

Blog Posts: Let everyone know that your blog has been updated, just like Chris Brogan, a master of social media, @ChrisBrogan does.

Customer Service: Answer your customers’ questions in real time using Twitter. No matter what size your business you can answer followers questions or troublshoot problems. @ComcastCares has this technique mastered on a large scale, but it can work for any size business.

Multimedia: You can show your followers photos and videos that you’ve taken using applications. Looking for inspiration? Businesswoman and trendsetter Tory Burch is always posting photos to her followers @ToryBurch. Use applications like Twit Pic to send your photos.

Lots has been written about twitter and strategies for effectively leveraging it as a business tool. If it seems like it’s too time consuming for you (or simply not you’re interest), you’re in luck! There are tons of people out there who love Twitter (especially on Urban Interns) and would really love to call Twitter Time a job!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Insider Tips for Finding a Great Freelancer

Hiring a freelancer for the first time is a big step for your business. You probably have a big project on deck, perhaps even something that’s mission critical, and you’re bringing someone on to get it DONE! Even more importantly you’re trusting that it will be done right. So how do you find that perfect person to work with you and your team? Read below for a few tips!

1. Shop Around – Even if you do strike gold with the first person you meet, keep looking around. Trust us, you’ll be happy you did. Why? Not only will you be that much more confident in your selection, but you never know when you’ll need some extra hands and want to pull back out the contact information of the runner-ups.

2. Play with the Pros – Experienced freelancers are business owners, too. They are responsible for managing projects with multiple people and trying to lure new clients. An experienced freelancer should be familiar with independent contractor forms and should ask you to sign a contract with payment terms and conditions along with the scope of the project. Pros also have credentials – whether it be an impressive portfolio or membership in professional associations, your freelancer should look quite nice on paper. His experience might cost more, but in the end – it’s worth your time and effort to find a professional who means business.

3. Reach Out to References – Professionals will also have previous clients that you can reach out to as references. When you’re working with an experienced freelancer, you’ll be paying for her expertise, but you’ll also be paying the credibility she has built up over time. Get in touch with your freelancer’s past clients. She’ll obviously recommend people who were pleased with her work, so ask more informative questions. What the process was like from start to finish? Are they’re things that they wish they had done differently? Learn from other peoples past experiences.

4. Simplify and Clarify – Before any contracts are signed, determine exactly what work needs to be completed, your budget for the project and your expectations in terms of communication and timelines. The more precise your expectations, the more likely your freelancer will meet them.

It's true- finding a great freelancer can take time. But in the end, when you're working with someone great, you won't be sorry!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

4 sure-fire strategies for a successful internship at a startup

Congrats! You’ve just landed an internship with a growing company. While you look forward to your first day, you know that your daily grind will be different from your friends’ stints at Fortune 500 companies. But maybe you’re not exactly what to expect, even after your interview. Here’s an insider’s take on what you need to know to thrive in a start-up culture even before your first day on the job:

1. Think Like an Entrepreneur – An entrepreneurial mindset is always an asset, whether you’re in the office or on the go. Entrepreneurs tend to think about the big picture, while ensuring that even the smallest details are delegated. Entrepreneurs tend to always ask questions and are willing to learn from others, and you should be eager to do the same. Ask to read the company business plan, and stay up-to-date on recent trends and newsworthy events through industry blogs. See the office through the eyes of the person who started it all, and you’ll have a greater appreciation for the vision of the company, and the small details you’ll be working on to make sure success is in sight.

2. Get Organized – The one thing that all entrepreneurs have in common is that they’re always busy. Even if you’re boss doesn’t ask, send a weekly report highlighting your accomplishments for the week. Not only does this help your boss know what you’ve accomplish and where you’re at on projects, but it’s a record of successes you can put on your resume.

3. Be a Jack-of-all-Trades and a Master of One – In a growing organization, there is an emphasis on the all-hands on deck approach. Some days you’ll need to help with administrative work, and other days you might be running errands or event planning. While you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to help where necessary, it’s ok to highlight your skills. If you’re studying public relations and you can write-up a press release that gets journalists’ attention, make sure your boss knows. While it’s good to be a jack-of-all-trades, make sure your boss knows about the one (or two!) skills you’ve mastered.

4. Pitch It – The company you’re working for exists because the owners decided to take a good idea and make it happen. Your boss shouldn’t be shy to the art of pitching ideas, and neither should you. If you see an idea that can be executed, write a plan of action and pitch it to your boss. Back your plan up with research and ideas for execution.

The start-up environment is fast-paced and action packed. Make the most of your internship by being a team player, using your best skills and thinking like your boss and you’ll be a start-up veteran before your semester is over!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to Be a Good Social Media Intern (Without Even Trying!)

Put Your Skills to Work!

It’s a fact: business owners need help with social media. Companies are finding that social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and You Tube are proving to be a cost-effective way for businesses to advertise, acquire customers, and generate sales.

Needless to say, many of them are looking for web-savvy interns to navigate the online social channels and take charge of their social media strategy. And that’s where you come in.

Chances are you’ve been using Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube for your personal enjoyment for years. Now is a better time than ever to put these finely tuned skills to work. But are you unsure how to translate your social media capabilities into a career? Consider these tips on how to put your pre-existing skills to work and become an effective social media intern.

Show you’re tech and social media savvy. Keep up with influential technology blogs (TechCrunch, Mashable, etc.) and always have your fingers on the pulse of the next big social media trend.

Constantly re-evaluate the strategy. Your job in social media is never done; pay close attention to the online climate and suggest fresh, new directions to take the strategy. Keep in mind they may not always get used and you might have to pitch a few ideas at once.

Create a conversation. Get online and engage your company’s audience. Listen to what they have to say, whether positive or negative, and react accordingly. Keep track of valid feedback and present it to your manager for consideration.

Show managers that social media translates to sales. Look for indisputable proof that your efforts are bringing profitable results. Use trackable links, analytics programs, and click maps to show your strategy is working. Comparative data speaks volumes, so keep track of “before and after” numbers, whether they’re the number of views on You Tube, total Twitter followers, or net sales generated through Facebook ads.

And given the growing importance of these social media sites as marketing channels for businesses, if you prove you’re worthy, you just might end up with a full time gig!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

3 Tips for Avoiding Year End Chaos (And You Know its Coming)

It happens every year around this time: inevitable “craziness” among your business operations. We’re talking about hectic holiday orders, budgetary breakdowns, and elaborate events that come with the closing of another year. Whether you’re in retail, customer service, or any field in between, it seems no matter how far in advance you plan you’ll never be prepared for the rush.

But before you gear up to trudge through another year’s end, consider enlisting the help of an Urban Intern. Capable, quick to learn, and eager to assist, an Urban Intern can help you shuffle in a new year of business with ease. To make the most of your extra set of hands, consider the following tips for hiring an Urban Intern, and learn why this time of year is better than any other to do so.

Plan, Plan, and Plan Again
Determine the scope of help you’ll need by making two separate lists; one that outlines “ordinary” jobs, and one that outlines “year end” specific jobs. Next, cross off tasks on your “year end” list that you and your staff can realistically tackle, and circle those you can delegate. Keep in mind that the goal is to save time, so chose tasks that don’t require a lot of “hand-holding,” elaborate training, or constant supervision. Read on for some specific ideas.

Put Your Urban Intern to Work
In addition to the unique year-end needs of your business, consider the following:

• Processing the increase in customer service requests
• Assisting with holiday outreach to clients (mailings, email communications, etc.)
• Additional call center and email support
• Event planning and production
• Inventory control
• Processing online returns
• Fielding product and service Q&A from customers

Start the Hiring Process Early (And that Means Now).
With college students planning on coming home for the holidays and experienced professionals looking to further their career, the end of the year is a prime time to recruit extra help. Furthermore, you’ll have a troop of helpers on hand should you need additional help to kick off 2011!

Social Media Tip: Find an Urban Intern to Help Build Your Blog

Give your blog the TLC it needs!

Do you have a blog on your website? If you're at all focused on social media marketing, you probably do. A blog with thoughtful content is a great way to build your brand and have an interactive dialogue with your business community. But like everything else with social media, to execute properly takes TIME. Here are some tips on how hiring an Urban Intern can help.

• Think of some topics for your blog. Create a quick outline with some bullet points and hand it over. While at least initially you may need to spend a few minutes editing the posts, the process will likely move a lot quicker than trying to find time you don't have to write.

• Repurpose that content! Once you have that great content, stretch the mileage. Ask your Urban Intern to include it in a weekly newsletter or a daily FeedBurner blast. You can also offer to contribute it to other sites. The possibilities are endless once you have the material in hand.

• Monitor and Respond: Once you start to regularly blog, you want to keep an eye on the reception and traffic. Did some posts resonate more than others? Were dialogues started that need a response? Add this kind of tracking to the list of blog-related tasks for your Urban Intern.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From Create Other Income Streams

We found this great post by one of our advertisers, DailyWorth, and thought it worth sharing. Enjoy! If you like this, click here for more.

By MP Dunleavey | Tuesday May 04, 2010

More than a paycheck
In today's unpredictable job market and economy, it's smart to think about developing multiple streams of income.

Whether starting a side business, becoming a consultant or learning to invest, you can capitalize on your existing skills (and time) to increase your overall net worth.

Risks and rewards
Any new income source can take years to show even a small return. Consider this conversation a seed in your mind to help you evaluate your options—and build future returns, one year, five years or even 20 years out.

Every investment is a risk. Amanda Steinberg, DailyWorth's founder, has started five businesses in the past 10 years--two of which are successful and growing. The other three were learning experiences and, well, costly failures. Do not invest time or money unless you've calculated that you can afford to lose it.

Listen up
Last week, Amanda (photo, left) interviewed Jacquette Timmons (right), author of Financial Intimacy, MBA, and CEO of Sterling Investment Management, Inc.


In this 15-minute podcast Amanda and Jacquette explore the specifics having multiple streams of income, from low-risk options like consulting to higher-risk options like real estate investment.

Your move
Do you have more than one stream of income? Share the What, Where, When, How and Why with the DailyWorth community.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Video Blog: Talking Interns with Lindsey Pollak!

This week we are thrilled to feature career career and workplace expert (and Urban Interns success story!) Lindsey Pollak, who shares her thoughts on internships and hiring trends today.

Lindsey Pollak, Career and Workplace Expert from Urban Interns on Vimeo.

Applying for and Managing Seasonal Opportunities

* This week's sponsor: Figjam Portraiture.
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It might not seem like it, but now is actually the right time to be looking for an applying to seasonal opportunities. For people looking to supplement their income, test-drive a new job, or add experience to their resume, seasonal opportunities are a convenient option. And because the businesses that offer them usually hire new batches of employees every year, jobs are reliable and relatively easy to find. Here’s how to go about it:

Be early. Inquire about position openings six to eight weeks in advance of busy season. Approach store owners or receptionists and ask for applications, and keep an eye on local press for advertised opportunities.

Be flexible. Your willingness to adapt to scheduling needs is your greatest asset to seasonal businesses. But be honest; if you can only work two days a week, or you’re hoping to transition to full-time, tell them upfront. If a business can’t offer as much money or as many hours as you’d hoped, you might consider taking two temporary jobs. If that’s the case, keep your schedule transparent to both employers and establish your respective time commitments immediately.

Be smart. Shopping malls are an obvious option for seasonal employment, but think about all the other places, services and events that are more popular during certain times of the year (weddings, ski resorts, snow removal, delivery services, ice cream shops, amusement parks, landscaping, moving, school supplies, etc.). Anticipate these businesses’ needs. Also keep in mind the traits they’re looking for. Since most seasonal jobs tend to include customer-facing roles, good communication skills are essential. They’ll also want team players who are comfortable in a fast-moving environment, so market yourself accordingly.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Video Blog: Talking Interns with Ray Madronio of

The latest installment in our video blog interview series: Ray Madronio of shares his thoughts on his company's culture and why Urban Interns is important for his business.

How to Develop Your Personal Pitch.

You made it past the online screen – check. Now you’re about to be interviewed in person. So all the careful work you’ve done up to this point to present yourself so carefully on paper and online – crafting a beautifully formatted resume; writing eloquent and spell-checked cover letters; and combing through your social networking profiles to make sure only the most professional version of “you” is publicly available – is basically moot. They know all of that information, and everyone else that you’re up against has done the same. Now you need to go in with something strong. You need to develop your “pitch”.

What is your pitch? It’s your personal statement that conveys who you are and why you’re perfect for the job. It shouldn’t take longer than 2 minutes to deliver. And it should include the following:
1. Experience
2. Strengths
3. Awards/honors
4. Near- and/or long-term goals

One important point: only mention any of the above to the extent it’s relevant to the position or the interviewer. So if you’re applying for a part-time admin gig at a literary agency and you ultimately want to be publicist, definitely mention it – they’ll love the long-term view. But if you’re doing it to pay the med school bills and you ultimately want to be a veterinarian (nothing wrong with that!), leave it out of your pitch…it’s not relevant.

An example of a good pitch: “My name is Rachel Berry. I am the lead soprano in my school’s Glee Club, New Directions. I am also its captain, and under my leadership, our team won at Sectionals last year. My career goal is to be a Tony-Award winning performer on Broadway.”

Now, naturally, all items on the above list could take a person 5-10 minutes each, or longer, to really delve into. And you should – after your initial pitch. But if your interviewer doesn’t “have you at hello”, your entire interview won’t last much longer than your pitch – and that’s not usually a good thing!

The typical first question in any interview is, “Tell me a little about yourself.” Perfect. They’re asking an open-ended question to see how you handle it. You’ve got this covered! Give your pitch, do it succinctly, and then ask the interviewer if they’d like to hear about any of those items in more detail. If they say yes, chances are your pitch worked – or at least your interview will last a few minutes longer ☺.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Do You Need Help with Social Media?

According to recent activity on Urban Interns, you do.

As a business owner today, you’re inundated with information about all the social media tools out there. Once you’ve figured things out- either by hiring an expert or by doing your own research- you begin to wonder how to best execute on these time consuming tasks?

Hire an Urban Intern.

Over the last several months, we've been watching a steady flow of businesses look for help with social media. Sounds like something you're interested in, but wondering how to get started? A few tips for effectively leveraging Urban Interns:

Identify Channels:
It’s not enough to say “you want help with social media.” That’ll get you nowhere. When bringing on an intern or part-timer, you want to make sure that you’re very specific about what areas of social media you need help with. Do you need a blogger, someone to maintain your profile online, someone to tweet for you? (Believe us, we’ve seen postings for all of these).

Specify Content:
Once you decide where to focus, take some time to think about the message you want to convey on behalf of your company. Provide a short-list of topics, headlines, or key points that you want communicated.

Track Results
: As a business owner, you’re already used to looking at metrics for your business. This area is no different. Before pressing go on your project, be clear about what you’re trying to achieve through social media and how you’ll measure it. Do you want to blog once a week, attract 1000 twitter followers, develop a facebook fan page? Being clear about your goals makes it easier to evaluatie whether hiring an Urban Interns was a good decision.
(And based on the feedback we’re hearing from business owners, we’re sure it will be.)

Are You a Bottleneck?

3 Tips for Effectively Managing Urban Interns

Ever hire someone (a consultant, a vendor) only to find that there's WAY too much project management invovled in doing the work? Too much attention may seem like a good problem to have, but let’s be honest…anything that slows down progress is simply a waste of time. It’s one thing to have a responsible point person. It’s entirely something else when the person in the middle is just that—in the middle.

But now look at this question in the context of your team and ask yourself—are you the bottleneck? Are you the one slowing things down? If you’ve hired an Urban Intern (or are about to), you did so for a reason—because you’re busy and need help! Check out the following and make sure the person in the way of productivity is not YOU.

Too hands-on? Starting off a new work relationship with hands-on management is a good idea. It’s important to specify goals, expectations, and have regular check-ins to answer questions. But at the point where you’ve seen nothing but good work and your Urban Intern can’t move forward without having the zillionth check-in, it might be time to loosen the reigns a bit in the spirit of keeping things moving.

Acting as a middleman? Along the lines of seeing good work, once your role as a manager becomes simply forwarding along work to someone else on your team, (colleague, an outside vendor or partner) take it as a sign that it’s time to streamline the communication and get yourself OUT OF THE WAY.

Taking too long to make decisions? There are still many areas where you’ll need to be intimately involved in the details. For example, if you hired someone to write some blog posts, you want to review them before they go online. If you asked for research needed to inform a purchase, you’re going to need to digest than info before moving forward. That’s well and good, but keep in mind that the ball is in your court and next steps can’t be made until you get yourself moving.

If you’ve been wondering why things around you aren’t moving quickly and any (or all!) of the above sound like you, you may have just found your answer!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are You Smart?

Interesting question, and one, according to Kevin O’Connor, chief executive of, and former C.E.O. of DoubleClick, should be asked during interviews. In an interview printed in the Corner Office Section of this weekend’s NY Times, Mr O’Connor talked about asking questions that will throw people off balance and make them uncomfortable. To him, how people handle those tough questions gives him an indication of what he calls ‘raw intelligence.’ As we wrote in our post on Asking Tough Interview Questions, another way to dig beneath the surface of self- promotion is to ask about a Worst Job and seeing how comfortable people are in admitting difficult situations.

Other qualities he looks for? People who have experience in competitive situation. To him, it’s important to build his team with people who will stay the course, and not jump at the first sign of rocky waters.

Ask a million business owners what they think is important on a team and you’ll get a million answers. But most importantly, have you figured out what’s important to your team?

The Future of Getting, Doing and Losing Jobs

What do you the futurists have to say about trends in the workplace? This post was written by Erica Orange of the leading futurist consulting firm. Weiner Edrich Brown Consulting

One big take-away for us is the idea that virtual work will continue to become more commonplace from the big corporations to the smaller companies. We already know that growing businesses are comfortable in the virtual world, and see approximately 1/3 of you turn to Urban Interns to find virtual help. As discussed in the Wall Street Journal and CNN World Business, building a virtual team is a great way to keep overhead costs down, tap into top talent beyond your local area and depending on the time zones, keep the wheels moving 24 hours a day.

Keep reading to see what Erica has to say about the future of virtual work and the changing nature of jobs. Thanks Erica!

Locally and globally, we continue to see that the nature of jobs is profoundly changing, and what we do in order to earn our incomes, and how we do it, will never be the same. Importantly, none of this will ever again conform to what were the norms or rules or expectations across companies or through the years. The business of getting, keeping, being rewarded for and losing jobs has become a virtual free-for-all.

In the evolving world of work, everything is in motion. Almost half of IBM’s employees rarely come into a physical office. Like Accenture, Crayon and Best Buy, work gets done wherever you are. Even headquarters can be in cyberspace, and telepresence is gaining in quality and popularity. The processes, protocols and cultures of organizations are divergent as never before. Some companies are even encouraging the use of Facebook as a way to recruit for the company and collaborate with their colleagues and clients. Getting and keeping talent is taking on all kinds of new dimensions.

More workers are moving around the world to live, work and retire. There is increasing demand for high-end and low-end (personal services) jobs, leading to a sagging middle in the job market. Alan Blinder, Princeton University, has made a point of distinguishing between personal services and impersonal services – if it can be digitized (like much of medicine and finance), it doesn’t have to be done in geographic proximity. If it requires direct contact, like plumbing and building, it is more difficult to outsource. Now we are seeing the offshoring of even more personal service providers, such as tutors and concierges.

The workplace itself, where it continues to exist, will be a patchwork of new opportunities and challenges. In many buildings, it is coming to resemble more of a design studio than an industrial center. Emerging core values are collaboration and innovation. So, while many employers are increasingly observing and tracking employees to reduce slacking and absenteeism, others are doing away with the clock altogether and evaluating output rather than input.

While there is a great deal of emphasis being placed on managing younger generations of employees, the older generations are lost in the sea of turbulent job surfing, too. Many younger people have grown up with uncertainty, and they are cynical and wary of employer communications and expectations of loyalty. They make their demands up front, and communicate more informally up, down and across the organization. It comes as no surprise to them that in each place they land, the culture is different, the levels of integrity are uneven, the social networks are in play, and the measurement parameters are not consistent. But those who are older are the ones who are befuddled by the virtual office, the breaking down of silos, the differing expectations from one organization to the next, and the short-lived tenure of the jobs they hold.

While people are being accorded more flexibility in the workplace, the competition for many jobs is intense, and there are no “career paths” any more in one place or one industry. Plus, there is no longer any guarantee that the job will even be there as long as a year later. There are no longer any rules, there are no longer any promises, and there is no longer much trust. That means there will have to be evolutionary change, if not revolutionary change, in the way people are prepared for work, for life, and for life between jobs and after work.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Urban Interns Video Series: Lara Paul, iKidNY!

Hear from Lara Paul, the founder of iKidNY, on hiring and being an intern at her startup.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

4 Ways to Channel Your Inner European

This guest post is by Vicki Salemi, former recruiting executive, journalist, speaker and author of Big Career in the Big City. For more information visit

It’s a funny thing about leaving the concrete jungle for a spectacular international journey. Sometimes you need to escape the metropolis to visit to the rural, beautiful countryside of Sicily to enjoy the mountains, Mediterranean Sea and national parks to appreciate the beauty of success.

During my trip and being immersed in the tranquility and beauty of southern Italy (not to mention the delicious pasta and seafood), several career metaphors popped into my head.

1. Be authentic and don’t sugarcoat it. Have you ever been on an interview and asked if you had experience with a certain system and tried to fudge your way through it? As I enjoyed fresh ricotta on a daily basis (literally, cannolis included), I couldn’t help but wonder: there’s literally one or two ingredients that makes up the fresh cheese! That’s it. Delicious, fresh, organic. So, when you’re pitching yourself as a product during an interview and tackling important projects on the internship, remain true to your main ingredients and try not to fake your way through unchartered territory. The interviewer/your boss will clearly identify the transluscent sugar-coat.

2. Take your time. Slow and steady wins the race. During an interview or even on the internship, have you ever thought the first one to the finish line wins? Think again. Sometimes we feel rushed and buy into the notion that a job well done is a job done quickly. In the midst of Nebrodi Park (seriously, this trip was very insightful), I watched the cows slowly meandering among the trees. The sunlight glistening off the waves of the lakes. And it hit me: You don’t need to be quick to get through a job. Rather, the alternative is often the better case: On an interview or on a project, be methodical. Take your time. Think before you speak. And be sure to smell the roses.

3. Your work is a mirror of yourself. Upon chatting with a manager at the Verdura Resort (so beautiful; on a clear day you can see the northernmost part of Tunisia! But alas, I digress), I asked her about the overall Sicilian philosophy of work. Do they work their fingers to the bone, barely taking fifteen minutes for lunch, I wondered? As it turns out, it’s not uncommon to clock ten to twelve hour work days but the beauty is this: When they’re not at work, they shut it off. They are immersed with their lives, their families and friends. So, too should urban interns in a metropolis. It’s all about knowing when to stay focused and the importance of unplugging at the end of a tedious work day.

4. Create work that lasts the test of time. I realized this (yes, everything goes back to careers even when you’re amidst ancient ruins!) when walking among the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento which mainly date back to the 5th century B.C. Can you imagine creating something out of nothing and having it last forever? Literally. Well, that may be a stretch if your internship requires scheduling conference calls but net net: We become our work product. Make it an outstanding one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More on the Changing Way of Work: LooseCubes

I had the great pleasure of meeting with Campbell McKellar of LooseCubes last week. For those of you who haven't checked it out yet, we are huge fans of this business. LooseCubes allows businesses with extra space to post on their site so that business owners, consultants and others who work remotely can access those hard to find spaces.

Why do we love this business? A few reasons. As we wrote in our Entrepreneur column on Finding the Right Co-Working Office, we've worked in a variety of office spaces in the last year and a half and can definitely relate to the problem that LooseCubes is solivng. It's tough to find affordable office space, especially if you're just looking for a desk or two. Also (in case you can't tell), we're big fans of the niche marketplace concept. There's a lot of noise out there in the online world and it's great to provide users with an experience that's focused on meeting a specific need. When users come to our site, they know that they can find top notch interns, part-time help and freelancers. When they come to LooseCubes, they know that they'll find a great inventory of work spaces.

Perhaps what we love the most about LooseCubes is it's also focused on the changing way that people work. Business expansion and office space are opposite sides of the same coin and its great to know that as people are thinking more creatively about building their team, they also have a resource that allows them to think more creatively about where to work.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lindsey Pollak Testimonial

We were thrilled to hear that one of our favorite people and career experts, Lindsey Pollak, found an awesome Urban Intern to help with the upcoming re-release of her book, Getting from College to Career. Below she shared her thoughts on her experience on Urban Interns. Thanks Lindsey!

"I am so impressed with the quality of candidates I found on Urban Interns and the ease of using the site. I recommend Urban Interns highly and will definitely use it every time I need a short-term employee or intern. Thank you for providing a much-needed resource for business owners."

Lindsey Pollak

Career Advice Author & Consultant

Introducing the Urban Interns Interview Series!

At Urban Interns, we get to meet phenomenal people every day on both sides of the employment equation: entrepreneurs seeking top talent to help them grow, and eager job-seekers looking to put their skill sets to work. This video series will showcase the coolest companies, most up and coming business leaders, and their rising Urban Interns. Please email us at if you'd like to be featured!

This week's video interview is with Ev Boyle, the Editor-in-Chief of Measy is a website that helps you find the perfect gadget. Ev is an employer on Urban Interns and found his awesome intern on the site. Hear from him as to why Measy is an awesome place to work and why he loves using Urban Interns to find top talent.

How to Ask Tough Interview Questions

Interviewing is a skill. Some of us may bend over backwards trying to make our interviewees comfortable, that we forget to ask the tough questions. While it’s all well and good to try and establish a rapport with a prospect, you still need to make sure that you’re getting to the heart of whether a particular applicant will get the job done. Here are 4 tips to get you on track:

  1. Bring in Someone Else: As a business owner, you’ve probably accepted (or at least acknowledged), your strengths and weaknesses. Decide where interviewing falls for you. If you know it’s not one of your areas of excellence (or interest!), bring someone else in to do some screening for you. Even if you work alone, ask someone you trust to jump on the phone or grab a quick coffee to add another layer of vetting to your process.
  2. Seek out the Specifics: “I’m a self-starter.” “I’m detail oriented.” “I have experience running and managing large projects.” Sounds great! But every time you hear one of those too good to be true statements, ask for a specific example from the candidates work history. Another approach is to dig into the candidates resume and ask questions about that. “So, I see you were a manager at company x. Give me an example of what you did when you were there that shows that you’re the most organized person on the planet.”
  3. Open Ended Questions: It’s amazing how much information you can learn just by asking some seemingly simple questions. “Tell me about yourself.” With that little phrase, valuable information tends to come pouring out. Did the applicant spot the opportunity to sell himself to you? Was she polished? Too polished? Babbling on and on? Talking about yourself can be difficult to do, so you can really learn a lot here just by listening. And remember, if someone can’t sell themselves, can they sell your product for you?
  4. What Was Your Worst Job? For those who breeze right through the self-promotion, you want to probe at the other side of the coin-- failures or weaknesses. Just as we want people on our team who are rock stars at work, we also want people who can take direction, admit when they need help or when an idea was just plain bad. In asking about a worst job, you want to understand what it was about that experience that made the candidate unhappy. You also want to make sure that your organization isn’t strikingly similar to the one that the applicant hated. So, for example, if you hear things like, “I wasn’t happy because there weren’t enough people around for me to talk to,” you may conclude that this applicant won’t fare much better at your 8 person startup!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Want to Be Your Own Boss? First Step: Intern with an Entrepreneur 

This guest post is brought to you by Jordana Jaffe of!

If you're planning to BYOB (be your own boss) one day, one of the best ways to begin your journey is to work alongside a current business-owner. Here are the top 10 reasons why this kind of internship may be exactly what you're looking for this fall.

1. Red tape is minimal. When you intern in a corporate setting, there are a lot of people who have to say "yes" before your idea has the potential to become a reality, or even a consideration. When you work in a small business setting, the likelihood that your voice will be heard is much higher.

2. The more out of the box, the better. The word "traditional" doesn't really exist in the land of an entrepreneur. Creativity is welcomed and appreciated, and fresh unconventional ideas are expected and applauded.

3. There is no "typical" day. Whether you're spending the day working on the business' new social media campaign or discussing new marketing ideas, interning with an entrepreneur keeps you on your toes.

4. Network, network, network. Entrepreneurs know lots of people and are always meeting new ones. They have a Rolodex of resources that can help you, whether for future internships, jobs, or possible mentors.

5. A hands-on learning experience. You have the opportunity to learn the inner-workings of a successful business. You have the opportunity to ask lots of questions, spearhead projects and really see that starting your own business can be done.

6. Casual work environment. Feel free to leave your heels at home! At many internships with entrepreneurs, you meet at the corner Starbucks, their studio apartment, or even the park. Hours are usually flexible and attire can be more casual than business.

7. Choose your own adventure. When you work with a small business owner, you have the chance to really shape your experience. Being that there's so much that goes into running a business, you really can experience it all.

8. Get a backstage pass. You may be privy to where money is coming from and where it's going, and see things that you would definitely not be exposed to in a larger corporation.

9. Master the art of time management. Learn how to budget your time effectively, especially if you're working virtually part of the time.

10. Have fun! Whether it's taking a 5 minute break for a Lady Gaga dance party or heading out for errands and ice cream, working alongside a small business owner is a very fun-filled experience.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Hiring an Urban Intern

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As a savvy business owner, you've recognized by now that you can't do everything on your own. So you've made the decision: you're ready to bring on someone who can handle all the things that you A) don’t have time for, and B) would choose oral surgery over (expense reports, anyone?). But how do you pick the perfect person, whether a part time employee, contractor or intern, who can handle all the chaos, er, complexity that comes with running a small business? Here are some crucial questions to consider when hiring:

  1. Do you see initiative? References may point to the answer, but even in the interview you'll notice things like whether you’re doing all the talking and contributing valuable ideas. Beyond that, probe for clues on whether your prospective hire might buckle under pressure or let things slip through the cracks when you're not around.
  2. What’s the organization quotient? Not only will the person you hire need to keep himself on track, but you may lean on your Urban Intern to keep you on task. Do you see a track record of multi-tasking, handling several schedules, coordinating resources, and implementing systems to improve efficiency? Someone who is organized and pays attention to detail is essential.
  3. Are meaningful questions asked? It's important that someone you bring on "gets" you and your business—that they understand how it runs, what your goals are and how he or she will be expected to contribute. If you need to put everything on pause every hour to walk her through another process, it could add up to way more hand-holding than you have the patience for. Find someone who listens well the first time and demonstrates the ability to problem solve on their own.
  4. What will happen when the cat’s away? There's a "gut-sense" factor that comes into play with every hiring decision, but if you’re hiring someone who will work remotely and out of your direct supervision, it's even more important that the person you hire puts you at ease and exudes trustworthiness.When you consider that this person will be unsupervised at times, handling confidential information, and partly responsible for the success of your business, do you feel reassured... or scared?
  5. What's the slacker factor? Do you sense enthusiasm from your interviewee on becoming part of your team? Whether you’re bringing someone on for a few hours a day or a few hours a week, you can’t afford to make hiring mistakes. Everyone you bring on must pull their own weight and there is simply no room for slacking off. Look for someone who considers themselves as instrumental as any full-time employee and has the eagerness to match it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Musings on the State of the Intern.

Media commentary on the internship environment continues. and the NYTimes recently posted articles essentially lamenting the fact that job-seekers, facing one of the toughest job markets in history, are now having trouble landing internships at big corporations. Some folks are actually paying their way into high profile internships. Even Lady Gaga wants to intern, so you know the competition is fierce.

You have to wonder, why the change? For one thing, there continues to be talk about the Department of Labor's evolving policies on what constitutes an unpaid internship. As we’ve written in the past, some of these factors include whether the training the intern receives is similar to training that can be obtained in an educational setting, whether the unpaid interns will displace a paid employee, and whether the employer goes so far as to derive any “benefit” from the intern’s work.

In an effort to fulfill these sometimes onerous criteria, many employers go as far as navigating the work study rules of various academic institutions and offering to provide academic credit for their positions. But sometimes, they’re still out of luck, as many students don’t need the credit, or for other bureaucratic reasons, wouldn’t qualify for it. Further, this would limit the applicant pool to only students! Who’s to say that recent graduates, young professionals and more experienced folks aren’t interested in internships as well? Much has been written, in fact, about “adult internships.”

Look, we’re business owners ourselves, and we carefully watch every expense. As we have written in the past, people should be appropriately compensated for their work. If they’re not, employers may have a tough time retaining them. Their costs to acquire talent could go up over a long period of time, as they continually need to find and train new people.

Alternatively, if you’re someone who can invest the time in educating, training and mentoring, then perhaps an unpaid intern is the right model for your business. And, now, in the worst recession in 80 years, is not the time to be decreasing businesses’ access to these workers.

Further, in the most competitive job market since the early 1980's, now is not the time to be decreasing the quality and quantity of opportunities for job-seekers to learn new skills, particularly when they are ready, willing, and able. This is not simply about the current class of 2010 finding a summer gig. This is about education and innovation. Many businesses, especially smaller organizations, can offer opportunities that, paid or unpaid, can enrich a job seeker by giving them the chance to learn new skills and develop experience that they can bring to new employers-– or their own endeavors! – on a full-time basis.

Those who argue in favor of cracking down on unpaid internships, we ask you this: what advice would you give to job seekers who can’t find a job and are now being told that, though they are willing, they can’t volunteer their time in exchange for meaningful experience? Spend more time on Facebook complaining with friends that there are no opportunities out there? Why should the proactive job seekers and businesses who are taking the time to open their doors be punished?

As we said above, we think that the business case falls out on the side of paying interns. But ultimately, we argue this decision should be left up to the employer and the candidate to come to mutually agreeable terms on on their own.

Friday, June 18, 2010

interesting stats on the "startup ecosystem"

Where and How do Startups Work?

There was a great article in the Business Insider earlier this week about the Startup Eco-System. This comprehensive overview looks at startups from a variety of perspectives including break-down by industry, revenue model, fundraising strategy and location.

Not surprisingly, the stats about the employment landscape and how startups work caught our eye.

Get this:

80 percent of start-ups have seven or fewer employees.
Of course, you have to wonder whether "employee" is being used in the sense of full time help, and if so, how do these numbers change if you start including contractors, part-time people and interns. We spoke with a company just yesterday that counts itself at 22 people of which 12 are interns and freelancers. Where would this land on the chart? We’re not sure.

Close to 45 percent of startups in both NYC and Palo Alto are run out of people’s homes.(And yes, we’re aware that there are many hotbeds of startup activity between the two coasts, but hey, we didn’t create this report—we’re just reading it.) If this stat doesn’t scream a reliance of virtual resources, we don’t know what does.

And given this next stat, home offices sure do look attractive. The average rent per month per employee in NYC is $733, followed by $475 in Palo Alto and $500 in Boston. Again, virtual workforces are looking mighty attractive when looking at those numbers.

The good news: 42 percent of startup companies with commercial office space in NYC do not pay rent, followed by 22 percent in Palo Alto and 24 percent in Boston.Are they squatters? No. This is thanks to incubators providing free space and those business owners that are paying it forward to their friends and giving a free space to set up shop.

Fascinating stuff, and definitely hits on some of the challenges and costs that entrepreneurs face as they encounter periods of growth.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Are You "Imminently Capable"? One on One with Jodi Glickman of Great on the Job

Tell us about Great on the Job.

I launched Great on the Job in 2008 to train people how to communicate at work— everyday, in every situation, weather you’re a star performer or a struggling novice. GOTJ focuses on what most everyone else overlooks—the daily interactions that make up 80% of the workday—asking for help without sounding dumb, answering questions you don’t know the answers to, raising red flags when problems come down the pipeline, etc. In essence, I’m providing the building blocks and a road map to give people simple strategies to master daily work place conversations.

What’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?

I love building and creating something that didn’t exist before. It’s totally amazing to me that I can go out and market and sell my own products and services in a compelling way. I love winning new business, servicing the hell out of my clients and getting feedback that says GOTJ knocked it out of the park. I love hearing from people after a training session who tell me they’re going to use the GOTJ strategies right away or the ones who email me after the fact to tell me how they’ve had a breakthrough at work because of a GOTJ strategy.

I guess, in short, I love the impact GOTJ is having on people. Beyond that, I love the challenge of building something sustainable and leverage-able and scalable. I can’t wait to see where and how this business grows over the next 12 to 18 months and beyond.

Urban Interns is all about connecting business owners with talented people looking for part-time work and internships. Tell us a little bit about your approach to hiring --when you bring someone on board, what are the top three qualities you look for?

“Imminently capable” is the term I use to describe what I’m looking for. In a small business, you need to find people who can figure out how to execute on whatever you need them to do. To me, that means have a great attitude, being highly motivated and taking ownership for your work. Asking for help is key too—that demonstrates judgment and thoughtfulness and I always prefer that versus someone going down the wrong path without involving me early on with questions or issues.

As a career switcher, I don’t necessarily care about past work experience being relevant—I care more about the qualities and traits that you possess that have enabled you to have success in your past endeavors. Are you a quick learner? A strategic thinker? A problem solver? Are you going to give 110% percent to be a part of a fun, dynamic, fast-paced growing organization that hopes to seriously change the world one day with a new approach to teaching communication?

More and more, business owners are turning to part-time staff and interns as a first step in growing their team. As an expert on workplace communication, what’s one piece of advice to business owners if they’re new to managing staff.

Over-communicate—plain and simple. It’s critical when you’re managing staff and interns to give more guidance than you’d ever think you need to give. When you’re giving assignments, make sure your team understands them. Offer guidance and support along the way instead of making your team come to you—often times they’ll worry they’re supposed to know what to do. I’m always happy to discuss projects and assignments for as long as possible until my team and I are on the same page and everyone knows the direction to take.

And to the job seekers, what should they know about working in a start-up environment? Are the communication rules different than if they were working in a corporate environment?

I don’t think so really. In an entrepreneurial environment, you’ve arguably got to be more flexible and more proactive, because there are less clear-cut definitions of roles and responsibilities. However, I think all the same rules apply. Be proactive. Ask for help. Download your team regularly on what’s going on. Highlight or flag issues early on. When things go wrong, come armed with solutions not just problems.

Last but not least, what fictional tv or movie character would you most like to work for? (Note about us: Cari would work in the Miller Gold Agency on Entourage, though not as Ari’s assistant. Lauren would work for Gordon Gekko on Wall Street.)

Oh that’s an easy one! The Mad Men folks for sure. I’d either have to go with Don Draper—the fabulously creative and brilliant exec whose always able to swoop in at the last minute and come up with the perfect ad campaign. Or I’d go with Joanie— she’s the definition of imminently capable—she’s 100% reliable in terms of getting things done correctly or fixing other people’s screw ups.

Want to work for Jodi and Great on the Job? Apply for an awesome job as Director of Social Media here!

Jodi Glickman is the President of Great on the Job. Great on the Job teaches simple and basic strategies (“Micro Strategies”) for communicating strategically and effectively in all workplace situations—reaching out to new clients, answering questions you don't know the answers to, inserting yourself into team processes, asking for help without sounding dumb, dropping by a partner's office to introduce yourself, and more. For more info, visit

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Top 5 Reasons to Enjoy Work - and Working! - This Summer

Anyone else besides us take a look at the calendar recently and realize it's almost SUMMER?! How did that happen? When you work for yourself, there's often a tendency to lose track of time (seasons, dates....). Our work calendar is marked with many significant dates, but rarely are they tied to the rest of the world's calendar.

But yes, it's almost summer, which means, even those of us with the busiest of schedules need to find some time to enjoy.

So, as we approach Memorial Day Weekend, we've taken a minute to think of the Top Five Reasons to Enjoy Work this Summer:

5. While the rest of the world may slow down, start-ups stay busy. Proof point number 1-- one of the most active times on Urban Interns is Saturday night, followed closely by holidays. Startups work on their own calendar, and that includes staying focused throughout the summer.

4. The Days are Longer. While technically summer days don't include a 25th hour, it sure is nice to feel like we have some more time and energy in each day.

3. No More TV. That's right. There's nothing on television to distract us. No more endless discussion of Gossip Girl, 24, Lost. Our dvr's go into hibernation while we come up with other ways to fill our "down" time (unless of course something great is starting soon- if so, let us know!)

2. Company Picnics. Just kidding. Our idea of a picnic is sitting outside our office while we eat lunch, but still, it's good to mix up the routine from time to time.

1. It's Time to Take a Break. While you may be thinking this contradicts Number 5 and the idea that entrepreneurs are all work all the time, the truth is we all need some time to recharge our batteries. Taking a step away from the routine and approaching your business with fresh eyes actually makes you more productive, not less. So whether your idea of a break is an hour, an afternoon, or a month (and if it's a month, can we work for you??), find some time to make it happen. After all, you'll have some great Urban Interns keeping things going while you're gone.

...and of course, the corollary...the Top Reasons to Enjoy WORKING This Summer!

5. Air conditioning. Seriously. While it might be 90 degrees outside (and in your apartment), you can usually count on most office buildings - even startups - to have A/C. It may just keep you sane!

4. The Days are Longer. This goes for those in workforce too, but for different reasons. You need to fill your days. May as well do something productive and fulfilling!

3 & 2. No More TV & Company Picnics. Guess these are true for everyone as well!

1. Break Time! It's well documented that at businesses of every size, summer is the time when employees take the time to get to know each other outside of the office. And restaurants and coffee shops are thrilled to oblige with happy hours and specials (we personally are loving the Frappucino Happy Hours at Starbucks). Not only is socializing with your co-workers fun and refreshing, it is a networking tool, AND it makes you more productive by getting you out of the office for a little while. So enjoy!

Let us know what's on your list, and have a very Happy Memorial Day.