If you have imagined yourself as someone like Miranda Priestly in Devil Wears Prada (or even further as her prototype character in real life — Anna Wintour) working in an office full of buzz and creativity, then the editorial career is not just a close guess but your destiny! Once you have made up your mind about the career choice in this domain, the sooner you start, the better it is for your editorial professional skills! Nowadays, life is so fast and there is a lot of competition for such cool jobs as magazine editors, for example. Therefore, you must act now!
For an aspiring student or recent graduate to open the doors of the dream magazine or newspaper editing department, you need to make sure you have the required academic background suitable to what a particular periodical is looking for. Also, you need to prove your motivation, love for creative writing and your understanding of the nature of the editor profession. This can be your online portfolio, your blog, your academic essays as well as the internship that you have done before applying for a job. If you have not done it yet and you are unsure whether you should try to intern at a magazine or newspaper this summer, we have prepared some stories and advice below to help you make up your mind.
Editorial Intern Role Description
So what does an editorial intern do? And why do so many graduates want to intern at this entry-level position? Well, part of the answer is already in the question. Indeed, it is the easiest way to enter the profession and get to know the inside of the editorial business. There is more to that including the opportunity to work alongside experienced editors and learn all the secrets and writing tips directly from them. As an intern, your role will be similar to that of an editorial assistant. This role combines both editorial and administrative responsibilities which is ideal since your editorial internship goals are to get to know as much as possible about the basics of this business. Depending on the size of the company you chose to intern at, you can expect to write articles and assist editors with menial tasks if you end up in a smaller company. In a bigger publication, there is a tendency to assign interns for specific job roles with a greater emphasis on admin tasks.
OK, so how do recent graduates become aspiring writers and editors? All starts with a CV! You need to prepare a solid editorial intern resume and cover letter in order to persuade editors and HRs to invite you for an interview. If your academic and extra-curricular accomplishments look convincing and you have been invited for an interview, you need to brainstorm some of the questions you might get asked. Examples of editorial interview questions:
- What are you reading currently?
- What are your favourite books?
- Tell me about your blog.
- Are you detail-oriented?
- How experienced are you with CMS, HTML, Photoshop, InDesign?
You see that interviewers will be testing your passion for reading and writing and you need to make sure you can prove it well since the competition for editorial jobs is high! And make sure you’re familiar with these programs essential for editing and web-design. If you haven’t worked with InDesign before, you can at least watch some tutorials or buy a textbook explaining the basics of this program. Employers are quite willing to teach you some technical skills, but you should testify to your knowledge of the sphere and at least theoretical familiarity with some of its digital tools.
How do you decide where to apply? Well, nowadays there are a lot of opportunities for editorial internships in online magazines as well as other digital publishing platforms. So you can start from there or you can send your CV to well-known journals, newspapers and publishing houses.
Cosmopolitan Editorial Internship Example
Iris Goldsztajn has always dreamed of working at Cosmopolitan magazine one day. Landing an internship in this journal became her life goal. Thanks to her networking efforts, can-do attitude and passion for writing, she made it happen and landed an editorial internship with the magazine’s digital media team!
In the publishing world, finding a good job depends on who you know. Iris advises to reach out since it is exactly what she has done herself. She saw another Cosmo intern posting on ED2010.com (the platform geared to the editing world) about the job opportunity at Cosmo and she decided to reach out. She looked up her now-supervisor on LinkedIn and figured out that she was connected to someone else she knew from her previous internship (you see, it is important to do internships since you create your own network!). Iris contacted her and asked if she would feel comfortable recommending her and sending over her resume for Cosmo’s advertised position which she kindly agreed to do.
The hiring process was about showing writing samples to the supervisor. A couple of weeks later she did an interview over the phone and had to complete an edit test in 5 days. Around a week later, there was a second interview with the managing editor of Cosmopolitan.com. She received her internship offer a week later.
The actual day-to-day internship was about close collaboration with 3 other interns in the team. They would split between each other the work that needed to be done and would start scouring the internet (Reddit in particular) to decide on the things that would be good to blog about. Throughout the day they could schedule Pinterest posts, revise publishing content, pitch and write original content (quizzes, personal pieces) or conduct research that editors assigned them to do (pull analytics, transcribe interviews).
Iris really enjoyed her Cosmopolitan internship and advises everyone to do the same thing in order to understand the job and its responsibilities practically, learn from your own experience. Her personal advice for starting out as an aspiring writer or editor is the following:
“Don’t be afraid to pitch your favorite publications and ask to freelance for them. Start a blog or a Medium page. Enter writing contests. Develop your social media presence. There are so many ways to get your writing out there, and employers are expecting to see your past work.”
— Iris Goldsztajn