Hey everyone! Last night’s WIC event, “Get an Internship!” was a complete success! We had a full house and got the inside scoop on how to get that first internship and be a success once you have it. Big thanks to Mai Hoang from CosmoGIRL!, Elisa Benson from Seventeen and Monica Monzingo from Good Housekeeping for their awesome insider tips.
If you weren’t able to make it, or if you just need a refresher, here’s a recap of what the editors had to say about making yourself stand out among the sea of applicants. Watch out for their pet peeves!
– For summer internships, send your application around February to mid-March; for fall, aim for mid-June. If you don’t hear back, follow up! It’s okay to re-send your application two or three times in case they missed it.
– In the subject line of the e-mail, be specific about what position and department you’re interested in.
Keep a cover letter succinct and put it right in the body of an e-mail instead of an attachment. In the letter, be sure to explain why you like the particular magazine you’re applying for and highlight some of their features or articles you found interesting.
– Keep your resume one page and only mention relevant experience (sorry, that summer job at Wet Seal doesn’t cut it!). Make sure there are NO typos and grammatical errors!
– You don’t have to be a communications or journalism major to apply. But writing skills are always a plus, especially for websites. Consider making a blog, writing for campus publications, and, of course, contributing to Lit Up to get awesome clips.
Once you get called for an interview, every moment is a chance to build that lasting (and good!) impression:
– Business casual attire is best. You don’t need to be too formal with a three piece suit, but don’t look like you just got pulled off the street. As Mai Hoang recommended, “kitten heels, a pencil skirt, and sweater are all you need.” When in doubt, choose professional over trendy attire (no leggings!).
– Don’t arrive too early for an interview. Editors are busy people and need to stick to their schedules. Ten minutes before the interview will do. If you come late, make sure you acknowledge it and apologize.
– Show your passion! Letting the interviewer know what specific department you’re interested in may be better than being open to doing “everything.”
– Know the in’s and out’s of the magazine you’re applying for. Elisa Benson said she likes to ask questions such as, “Who do you think should be on our next cover?”
– Buy a box of “Thank You” cards. Hand-write and mail them to the interviewers. This creates a personal and memorable connection.
– Check the privacy settings of anything you post on the Internet, whether it be your Facebook profile or your personal blog. What editors find on a Google search can affect your image.
Of course, it’s just as important to make yourself stand out once you start your internship:
– Don’t hover over your editor’s desk or ask them repeatedly for projects. Keep an eye out for their mood and take notice if they’re on a tight deadline. Sending an e-mail works best.
– Always go above and beyond in all assignments. Again, no typos and grammatical errors!
– Make friends with other interns. They’re the ones who can help you with little issues. Be as resourceful as you can before having to ask your editor for help. Remember, it’s your job to make their jobs easier! Ask a fellow intern how to use the fax machine or how to un-jam the printer.
As a current intern, what these editors had to say was refreshing and completely dead-on about the magazine industry. I wish I had attended this event last year! Their tips on interning can be applied to any field, and the event offered a great way to get your foot into the industry by networking directly with hiring editors of major magazines. Be sure to attend future WIC events to start getting those dream jobs!