Internship Week #1: Getting the placement

If you want to be a journalist or work in the magazine industry in some form you need to get work experience. Qualifications alone will not get you that dream job, nor will partying for three years and hoping for the best at the end. Employers like to see that you've worked your butt off (for free) and that you have the real life industry skills and dedication to that chosen career. However this is often easier said than done so here are my 5 tips on getting that internship. (please note this is only from experience)

Also known as the ass kissing stage. It's often tough knowing what to include and talking about yourself in a way that sounds like you're awesome and LOVE that magazine but to work in the media you need to be confident in what you do so now is the time to show it! 

Start by knowing who you are writing to, journalists need to be good at research so this is something that will be looked at. Starting a cover letter with 'Dear Sir/Madam' looks like you couldn't really be bothered. Buy the magazine, look at the staff list if it's editorial you're more than likely writing to the editorial assistant, if it is fashion you are probably writing to the fashion assistant and so on for each department. And for god sake spell their name right! 

Tell them why you would be great in their magazine, use examples of pages you love and would like to contribute to. Have a good knowledge of the magazines aims and audience (look at the media kit) and tell them what skills you have from past experience (from uni, school or work) that you could contribute to them. 

Don't mention your blog if you haven't updated it in three months. I know I can be awful at uploading , but don't say in your cover letter 'my blog has given me the skills in uploading regular content...' if you don't do it. These people WILL google you. 

Unlike me in this post know when to shut up! If you write a two page cover letter about how great you are it's not going to be read. Journalists are busy people and as much as they need an intern they don't have time to read a thousand words on how good you think you are! I aways aim to have no more than 3/4 of a page full because listing every magazine you have previously been to and every skill you have is what your CV is for. 

 #2 THE CV 
This is a really matter of personal preference some people like a really individual and fancy designed one other like it simple and to the point. That is up to you and what you like to do but here are my tips for what to include. 

Your Qualifications whether you're working towards a degree, got one, or have just sat your A Levels you need to let people know. Make it brief but outline any relevant modules you've sat. 

Get personal with them. Personalise your CV, this is why applying for Internships takes so long but including that personalised touch is so important. I'd aim for no more than a three sentence personal statement about why you want to work at this magazine. 

Don't lie I'm not saying that if you are someone that struggles to wake up early let them know, this isn't a confession box. But don't tell people you can do stuff that you quite simply can't otherwise it might come back to bite you! 

2 page rule, this is a rule that I try to stick to. Never ever exceed two pages even if you have loads of experience... like I do! I'm struggling to keep within these but you don't want to bore people seriously. 
This is something I get asked a lot. Where did you find that internship? How did you know who to email? And if I am honest it is a matter of actually looking. 

There are dedicated sites to these things such as: Gorkana,, Go Think Big, Journo grads and soooo many more. These sites list all the latest internships paid and unpaid and even tell you how to apply. 

But a lot of my internships have come from common sense, emailing hundreds of magazines (literally) I used to set out one weekend a month while at university and email EVERYONE! You're not going to get them all, but trying helps. Look on staff lists, work out who you think is the right person and then work out their email. Like I have said before it just takes a little time and research. 
If you are afraid of picking up the phone and being in awkward situations the magazine life ain't for you! Because whether you're calling PR's, interviewing people or talking to other journalists being confident enough for a phone call is pretty essential. 

So you've had that email saying 'sorry your application has not been successful' quite often this email makes you want to cry. You wrote a kick ass CV you spent a good hour on the cover letter and now they're breaking your sorry little heart. Call them or email and ask them what you could do next time. Whats the worst that'll happen they won't tell you? I have received some excellent advice through feedback and often they remember you as you actually had the balls and passion to ask! 

What is worse than rejection is no reply at all! Urgh! These applications take a long old time and the magazine hasn't even responded to you! how rude? Well like I have said journalists are busy busy people, I've been in the position of sifting through CVs and looking for the latest intern and I assure you it is very time consuming and to reply is a huge task. But re-send your CV and then resend again the next month. Soon your name will be recognised in their inbox and they might give you a shot! or call them and say 'I understand your busy but I am just confirming you received my email'. 
This is easier said than done! And all of us have said screw this! But it's a battle of the strongest in this game and if you stick it out results will come.

You might apply for months and months and here nothing and then suddenly you'll hear from four at once. This has happened to me on many occasions, and it's always been at that point when I've been thinking where am I going wrong?? Persistence is key, if you work your butt off good things will come. 

I hope this helps! Let me know in the comments if you have found this post helpful. 

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