6 Tips From A Glamour Intern

Lucy got her hands on the first ever issue of Glamour

Lucy got her hands on the first ever issue of Glamour

By Lucy Abbersteen (@lucyabbers)

I have always been passionate about women’s magazines, so you can imagine my delight when, after applying to dozens of titles, I finally heard back from Glamour and was invited to an interview.

I wasn’t horrifically nervous, but when I sat down in the boardroom in their offices in Hanover Square, faced by huge, glossy canvasses of stars like Emma Watson, Paloma Faith and Alexa Chung, the reality of where I was hit me. Fortunately I impressed enough and was able to swap my summer job of serving coffee to rude customers for the shiny offices of this renowned women’s magazine.

I spent four whole weeks writing, filing, calling people and running around the offices, helping wherever I could – whether that meant running to Pret to get one of the section editors a coffee or assisting the digital team with research, transcribing interviews or calling in products for features. I got a real buzz from the atmosphere and it’s amazing to know I had a hand in producing a couple of the issues.

One of the highlights of my internship had to be meeting the editor in chief herself, Jo Elvin. I’ve been reading Glamour since I was about 15 years old and so to be sat in front of the woman who created it was bloody amazing: I didn’t bother trying to be cool – mainly because I’m not. She was really funny and gave me some great career help, and didn’t mind chatting to me despite being insanely busy. Thanks, Jo!

I had an absolutely cracking time and got a load of invaluable first-hand experience. Here are some of  my tips for making the most of magazine life:

1. Don’t bother if your only motivation is “fun”

If you want to do work experience at a top magazine like Glamour because you think it would be “cool” to work at a fashion magazine or be surrounded by celebrities and gossip all the time then, for your own sake, don’t even apply. Yes, there are times when it is really fun and enjoyable, but people here work really hard to produce a top-quality magazine. Somebody who isn’t prepared to throw themselves into the most menial tasks will be soon became annoying and, frankly, useless. You’d be wasting your time if you expected it to be an easy ride. You’ll also be taking away the opportunity from somebody who really wants it for the right reasons!

2. Always ask questions if you’re not sure

It’s better to be 100% sure about what you’re doing than spend a load of time doing the wrong thing and have to start over. People get that you’re new, a bit inexperienced and don’t know the ropes yet, so they won’t mind. And they’d rather you did the job ASAP too!

3. Make an effort to find out how people got to where they are today

If you’re chatting to someone who’s been established at the magazine for a while it’s always good to find out how they got there; what they did after Uni, what work experience they had, where else they’ve worked, etc. They may even have some useful contacts for you –­ it’s not always about what you know but who you know!

4. Be prepared to do anything and everything with a smile

I was horrified to learn that there have been past Glamour interns (plural!) who responded to having to do deliver the post with, “You do know I have a degree, right?” Aaaaaaaarrgh. Whatever you do, don’t act like you’re entitled to be given a load of important jobs straight away. You need to prove that you’re responsible enough and know enough to take on more first.

5. Ask to do things that aren’t in your job description

If you have a particular interest in beauty or the way that pages are laid out, ask if you’re able to shadow or help out in that department. You’ve got nothing to lose: the worst that will happen is you’ll be told you can’t. Best case scenario you’ll get even more insight into how different areas of the magazine function.

6. Always think about how you can make other people’s lives easier

I put together a database of all the cover stars so that it was a lot simpler for people to find a specific issue; Glamour has been running for more than a decade, so there are A LOT to go through if you want to find a specific person on the cover or the 50 Best Dressed issue, for example. When you’re given a task such as research or typing something up, always think about how you could make the next step easier for whoever you’re sending it to. Your effort will take a load off somebody else’s mind and they’ll really appreciate it. Going the extra mile is always worth it!

Rest assured, once you’ve finally got that first big internship you’ll really enjoy yourself despite the hard work. I had an absolutely brilliant time at Glamour and was so sad when I had to leave. Thanks to everybody on the features team, and a BIG thank you to Amy, the PA for giving me such a fantastic opportunity. I’ll definitely try to be back!

Have you had an internship you would like to share with our readers? Email us if you would like to blog for us, or get in touch with us on Twitter, @JournoGrads

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