Micro-Internships with Parker Dewey

One of the many casualties of the 2020 CoVid-19 pandemic has been the summer internship. What had been a valuable tool for college students to get their foot in the doors of well-paying and meaningful jobs, and for employers to find and vet new talent – the 10-week internship – has become nearly impossible to implement in the age of social distancing and working from home.

As with so many other aspects of our lives, CoVid-19 might have only exposed the existing flaws in the current internship methodology.  That’s what Jeffrey Moss, the CEO of Parker Dewey, thought when he founded the company in 2015. Parker Dewey pioneered the concept of what they call “micro-internships,” which are 5- to 40-hour assignments posted by companies that are open for college students and recent graduates (“Career Launchers,” in the Parker Dewey nomenclature). We at the Career Center recently heard about the program and listened to an interview with Moss, and have compiled a list of pros and cons to Parker Dewey and the micro-internship framework.

A note: The East Baton Rouge Library Career Center and its employees are in no way affiliated with Parker Dewey. We’re posting this to help our college student and recent graduate patrons who might be interested in working with Parker Dewey.

Pros

You get paid!

The cliché about college internships is that it’s a lot of running around, getting coffee and dry-cleaning, and not getting paid for it – you’re supposed to be grateful for getting your foot in the door. Parker Dewey gets rid of that – their business model is to act as a contractor for their client companies, hiring out for jobs that their clients don’t have the time or resources to do with their own employees. So they charge a fee to their clients, skim a percentage off the top, and pass the rest on to the workers – what they call “Career Launchers.”

You can try out different kinds of jobs.

In all the press we’ve read surrounding Parker Dewey – including the interview we sat in on – Moss relates the story of one of the college students working for him who compared micro-internships to dating. Doing short-term work – each job is between five and forty hours – for a multitude of different companies enables students, who are just starting their professional lives, to “play the field” of different industries, different roles, and different careers before deciding where they want to spend the bulk of their careers.

Parker Dewey is pretty hands-off after facilitating the meeting.

Even though student workers are paid by, and technically employees of, Parker Dewey, Moss said that they like to stay as hands-off as possible after giving the employer and worker each other’s contact information. If you work for a company and they want to hire you for something else afterward, or even ask you to join them full-time, they don’t have to go through Parker Dewey to do it – which is nice, especially when a lot of other online facilitating companies like Uber, Rover, etc., will kick users off if they continue their relationship outside their platforms.

Cons

It’s only open to college students and recent graduates.

The limitation to college students and graduates is pretty typical for internships, but it’s still a limiting factor here. Traditional internships also have technical reasons why they’re only open to students, such as their scheduling and lack of pay, but these micro-internships don’t share those limitations. In this light, limiting the hiring pool to just students and recent graduates seems artificial – there are plenty of older people or non-college-graduates who want to try a new career, or to make ends meet between jobs, and they’d benefit from micro-internships too. Maybe Parker Dewey is trying to keep the applicant pool small and manageable.

You are working for parker dewey, not the actual company.

When you enter your work at the micro-internships on your resume, you’ll need to use Parker Dewey’s name as the employer, since they’re technically who you worked for. In the interview with Jeffrey Moss we watched, he said you’re welcome to note the types of projects you did, and usually you can mention the companies you worked with there. But sometimes, you have to keep that secret too – so a micro-internship might not be as good for padding out your resume as a traditional internship can be.

So far as we can tell, Parker Dewey is the only company really in the micro-internship space.

While Parker Dewey seems like a good company that is “mission-focused” (Moss said that multiple times in his interview!) in providing students with quality internships, it would be good if they had some competition in the space. The only other one we could really find was something called Riipen, which seems more focused on providing a pipeline for schools – meaning it’s only available for students at universities who subscribe to their service. Parker Dewey, on the other hand, is open for anyone to use – we were even able to create an account, although we probably won’t get any micro-internships.

If you have worked with Parker Dewey before, or know of another micro-internship company, let us know!

Written by Case Duckworth

Announcing Our YouTube Channel!

We here at the Career Center believe that every cloud has a silver lining, that every thorn has its rose, and that every night has its dawn. The ongoing hardship that is the COVID-19 pandemic has brought its fair share of pain, but it has also allowed time for our staff to create video content that will be useful long after the pandemic is over.

In short, the East Baton Rouge Library Career Center now has a YouTube channel! Our new channel can be found at this address: https://www.careercenterbr.com/youtube. There will be new content up every Monday morning and Thursday afternoon.

Our offerings will include:

  • Resumes and Cover Letters Playlist: Tips for writing, editing, and formatting resumes and cover letters, from our Certified Professional Resume Writers.
  • Job Interview Questions Playlist: Demonstrations of the best – and worst – ways to answer the most common interview questions.
  • Work-from-Home Websites Playlist: Reviews of work-from-home websites, to help jobseekers find legitimate remote opportunities.
  • Common Job Applications Playlist: Walk-throughs of how to complete online job applications for companies which we’ve seen clients struggle with in the Career Center.
  • Popular Seminars: In addition to the topics mentioned above, we will film seminars such as How to Succeed at a Job Fair, Professionalism and Business Etiquette, Advance Your Career With MOOCs, and more.

We would also love to hear from our clients about what they’d like to see on this channel. If you have an idea for a video, please email anowak@ebrpl.com.

So please, check out our YouTube channel, subscribe, and watch some videos! And stay safe while hunkering down at home.

Written by Case Duckworth

New Career Center Books

COVID-19 has made this a challenging time for workers. Unemployment is high, layoffs are widespread, and some people are finding themselves out of work for the first time in years. Please remember, though, that the Career Center is here to help. In addition to our in-person and online services, we also have books on a variety of job-searching topics. Here are a few of our newest guides:

Taking the Work Out of Networking: An Introvert’s Guide
by Karen Wickre
We often tell clients that the best way to get job leads is through networking. The old adage is true: it’s not what you know; it’s who you know. Too often, our clients feel uncomfortable and shy about reaching out to their network. This book aims to help jobseekers with networking strategies via an unconventional approach which can work well for introverts. Subjects include: maintaining relationships through social media, mastering small talk, managing email communications, and blending the personal with the professional. Author Karen Wickre, journalist and former editorial director of Twitter, brings to bear a lifetime of experience in communications.

Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed. . .Get Hired
by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark
The rules of resume design change fairly frequently, so if you haven’t reworked your resume in a few years, it may be outdated. Fear not, though: Master Resume Writers Kursmark and Enelow have drawn on their significant expertise to provide a thorough compendium for resume structure, content, and design.  From the big (How do I make a resume ATS-friendly?) to the small (What font should I use?) to the tricky (I haven’t worked in five years. . .), this guide aims to answer all your resume questions. Included are several dozen example resumes.

Job Interview Tips for Overcoming Red Flags
by Ronald Krannich, PhD
The job interview is a stressful process at the best of times. This is of course doubly true if you have a sticky situation that may come up in the interview. Perhaps you have been fired, or received a negative reference. Maybe you lack certain relevant skills, have an unstable work history, or possess a criminal record. Whatever your situation, this guide aims to help you identify your red flags, formulate strategies to overcome them, and find ways to present yourself in your best light at job interviews. Author Ronald Krannich is a job search expert with more than 100 published books to his name.

Comeback Careers: At 40, 50, and Beyond
by Mika Brzezinski and Ginny Brzezinski
Workers over the age of 40 face an extra obstacle in the job search – age discrimination. For women especially, this obstacle can compound with other issues, such as years spent raising children instead of focusing on a career. Yet restarting one’s career in middle age is possible. This book features interviews with dozens of successful professionals who have reinvented and relaunched themselves into a second career. The book discusses ways to use the knowledge and experience you already have as a foundation for building a new image and career. There are also strategies from expert career coaches tailored especially to mid-career jobseekers.

If you’d like to place a hold on one of these books, please visit the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

Written by Lynnette Lee

Salary Negotiation, Part 3

Recently, the Career Center’s own Anne Nowak gave a seminar about negotiating your salary with your employer. In case you missed it, here are some of the key takeaways, part III:

Negotiation rules for women

It is 2020 and yet, study after study shows that women are earning less than men and that the glass ceiling hasn’t budged much. One of the reasons women earn less in comparable jobs is that they rarely negotiate their salaries. In part I of this series we showed how much financial difference negotiating makes over a lifetime of work. But only 1 in 5 women ever try to negotiate.

the double standard

Studies show that it is not easy for women to strike the right balance. Men are expected and encouraged to be ambitious, direct, and driven. Those are all positive attributes when relating to men. However, if women display the same behaviors, they are seen as unlikable and met with suspicion and even contempt. One study sent two identical resumes to hiring managers, with one difference: one had a man’s name, the other a woman’s. The managers who received the man’s resume praised his ambition and experience, and said they’d probably hire him; the managers who received the woman’s saw her as unlikable and weren’t sure if they’d like working with her, and passed on the resume. So, the same traits that are seen as positive in men, are seen as negative in women.

Effective strategies for women

In order to negotiate you need to be assertive. But being assertive is seen as negative. So what can women do? It has been shown that women are more effective in their negotiations if they stress “we” over “I,” if they’re more indirect about their needs, or if they position themselves as a helper. Female approaches to negotiation that have shown success:

  • “Help me make this work. In order to be most useful to this organization I need….”
  • “Here are the resources I need to be more effective for our company……”
  • “My mentor/team/supervisor suggests I bring this up …..”

While there are certainly women who have succeeded with the more direct male approach, this more indirect tactic is a good alternative for women who feel ill at ease with traditional assertive negotiation tactics. While it’s best to gauge the specific situation that you’re in, many women have found these shifts in negotiating style beneficial to the end result: a better salary or benefits package.

If you are interested in learning more about negotiation tactics for women, check out former Stanford Business School professor Margaret Neale on Youtube. If you’d like help preparing for an upcoming negotiation, the Career Center can help.

Written by Case Duckworth and Anne Nowak

Salary Negotiation 101, Part 2

Recently, the Career Center’s own Anne Nowak gave a seminar about negotiating your salary with your employer. Last month, we posted some key takeaways for jobseekers negotiating salary for a new position. In case you missed it, here are some of the key takeaways, part II:

Asking for a raise or promotion in your current role

Say you’ve been working at a company for a while and you feel you deserve a raise or a promotion. Do you just go to your supervisor and ask them for more money? Yes – but with a plan!! The conversation with your boss has to be well prepared.

Valid reasons for a raise or promotion are:

  • You have made the organization money, e.g. by selling much more than your quota; by growing customer base; by inventing a new product; by creating and conducting a stellar marketing campaign, by soliciting donors; etc.
  • You have saved your organization money, e.g. by auditing records and discovering waste; by improving workflows; by streamlining purchasing; by negotiating better prices, etc.
  • You have taken on considerably more responsibilities and have performed those well.

The following are NOT valid reasons for a raise or promotion:

  • You are getting married/divorced/are having twins…and need more money
  • You are buying a house and need more money
  • You hear that two colleagues of yours got raises and they are doing the same job as you

Now make your case. If you have numbers or statistics to prove your worth, excellent. But even if you don’t, prepare documentation of your accomplishments and make a good case for your promotion/raise. Focus on the value you’ve brought to the company.

However, you’ve also got to time your negotiation right. Asking for a raise during an economic downturn or company restructuring will probably be met with a no regardless of your accomplishments. Keep track of your company’s financial rhythm and budget cycles too – our presenter shared a time when she asked for a raise, and her boss agreed, but the company had finished its yearly budget two weeks before. She had to wait until the next year to make her case again.

further reading

  • Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You, by Jim Hopkinson
  • Mastering the Job Interview and Winning the Money Game, by Kate Wendleton
  • Getting (More of) What You Want: How the Secrets of Economics and Psychology can Help You Negotiate Anything, in Business and in Life, by Margaret Neale (electronic resource)

You may place any of these items on hold at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

Stay tuned for our final post in this series, which will focus on special negotiation strategies for female jobseekers.

Written by Case Duckworth

Salary Negotiation 101, Part 1

Recently, the Career Center’s own Anne Nowak gave a seminar about negotiating your salary with your employer. In case you missed it, we’d like to present some of the takeaways here. Today;s post will focus on salary negotiation when you start a new job. (There will be a follow-up posts discussing other aspects of this seminar.)

Why should you negotiate?

While the answer to the question, Why should you negotiate your salary? might seem obvious, there are reasons beyond the immediate payday. For example, consider two employees: Chris and Fraser. Both were hired on the same day, by the same company. Both were initially offered $100,000 a year in salary. Chris decided that was a good deal and took it, no questions asked. But Fraser asked, “What can you do for me?” and was able to negotiate a 7.4% higher salary, for a total of $107,400 the first year. Afterwards, both men stay at the company for 35 years and receive identical 5% raises each year. When it’s time to retire, the men compare their portfolios and Chris is caught by surprise – if he wants to end up with as much wealth as Fraser, he’ll need to work 8 more years! Fraser’s simple, ten-second question saved him 8 years down the line. Negotiating your salary can do the same for you.

The big 4 rules of negotiation

  1. Ask. 84% of employers in the private sector (the number is lower in the public sector) expect you to negotiate. Accepting a salary offer without questions is the same as paying sticker price for a car – you’re only doing the other party a favor. You may be worried that your offer could be rescinded if you ask for more compensation, but let’s look at facts: if you have an offer, the company wants you to work for them. Hiring people is a lot of work – they’ve already published the job vacancy, read dozens of interviews, interviewed multiple people, maybe even multiple times, and they’ve arrived at their decision: you. They think you’re a great fit and they want you to come work for them. So it won’t hurt to ask for something extra. (Of course, we can’t guarantee they won’t rescind their offer – there’s always a risk, but it’s small.)
  2. Be Prepared. Use websites that compile salary information, such as payscale.com, www.salary.com, www.glassdoor.com, and www.vault.com. (Also, if you have any friends in the industry, or even better, at the companies you’re applying to, ask them how much they make. If they don’t want to tell you, don’t push it – even though you’re usually well within your rights to discuss your salary.)  Take note: pay range will change depending on the job level, your qualifications and experience, and your geographical location. For example, companies in California tend to pay more than those in Louisiana to offset the higher cost of living. You’re also better positioned at the negotiating table if you have more education, certifications, or experience than the job posting calls for. Take note, too, of wider economic trends affecting your industry – you might have more leeway to negotiate in a fast-growing industry, as opposed to one that’s shrinking.  Use that information to your advantage!
    You should also think about your own goals: how much do you want to make? How much do you need to make, for your housing, transportation, groceries, and life expenses? If your dream job can’t offer you enough to live on, you can’t accept that job offer – and it’s better to know before you work there for six months and fall into debt.
  3. Whoever says a number first loses. Negotiating a salary is similar to negotiating anything else: information is ammunition, and you want to keep your cards close to your chest. If you’re asked about what your desired salary would be early on in the application cycle, such as on the application, leave it blank if you can. If it’s a required question, then answer it, but be aware that HR can use desired salary to screen applicants out of the consideration pool. Don’t bring up salary or compensation during your interview. If the interviewer does, try to deflect the question by saying something like, “I’d like to discuss salary after we’ve both determined I’m a good fit for the position.” If you’re a finalist for the position, you can ask them what range of salaries they have in mind, or what their budget for the position is. You’re just trying to get them to say a number first.
    Of course, there’s a small exception: if you’re extremely prepared in your salary negotiation, and you have a very good estimate, you can try “anchoring” the negotiation with a salary. Anchoring is a phenomenon that retailers use in sales: the first value we hear for an item tends to “anchor” its worth in our minds, regardless of its actual value. That’s why you’ll see “Was $1999, now $1300” in stores – they’re tricking us into thinking $1300 is a good deal, even though they were never going to charge $1999 for it. You can do the same in salary negotiations, but again, only if you’re prepared. You’ll need to know a lot about the job you’re about to begin, the industry, and your skills’ worth.
  4. Always make a counter-offer. Once you’ve successfully gotten them to say a number first, you say a bigger number. Make sure to back up your counter with your experience and expertise, and your research on salaries in your area and industry. They might accept your number, which is great! However, they might not be able to move on salary. If not, try asking them about other perks, such as bonuses (such as a sign-on bonus or year-end bonuses), benefits (like better healthcare or retirement), vacation packages, car or technology allowances, or an earlier performance and salary review. They’ll probably be able to give you something more if you just ask.

Conclusion

Remember, 84% of private companies expect salary negotiation for new hires. At the same time, they’re trying to save money. They’re not going to volunteer giving you more money or benefits – you have to ask. The same goes for companies you’ve been working for: if you think you’re worth more than they’re paying you, and you’ve got the receipts to back it up, ask. The vast majority of the time, the worst that’ll happen is they’ll say “No.”

Stay tuned for further posts on salary negotiation.

Written by Case Duckworth