How I Got My Glamour Internship

Ellan Savage at the Glamour HQ

Ellan Savage at the Glamour HQ

Ellan Savage recently completed an internship at Britain’s leading Women’s magazine, Glamour. She reveals what she learnt from the experience…

How did she get that?

This question is one I’ve heard a lot over the past few months.

It’s a question I have in fact asked myself a few times. When my internship at Glamour Magazine was confirmed I was genuinely waiting for the moment it would all fall through; the moment someone would email and say “Sorry, we can’t have you anymore”. Luckily that didn’t happen and last month I had the opportunity to work in the shiny magazine headquarters for four weeks.

Recently my classmates from the London College of Fashion and I had the pleasure of returning to the offices for a tour and a chat with the features team and there was one question which resonated round the room: What do you look for in your interns?

The Glamour team told everyone that I was probably the one who could answer that best so here’s what I can tell you about how I got the internship, what I learnt during it and how I made use of the opportunity.

TIMING

On the website it states that Glamour often fill their work experience slots up to six months in advance and this is true – I know when they are next booked up until and it’s a long wait.

When I applied I was fully aware that this might be the case (this is normally the way things work on any major commercial publication) so I gave them specific dates that I could come in and asked if anything would be available then. Bear in mind  I applied in October for an internship in March.

My advice then is state (in your email as well as a your cover letter) when you would like to come in. If you are wanting to do the internship over your university holidays then tell them the dates you’ll be free. If you are 100% free and could pretty much work whenever they asked you to then tell them that – let them know you are happy to work on short notice because people do cancel last minute.

CV/COVER LETTER

I’ll let you in on a little secret here: the Glamour offices get around 200 – 300 applications per week for work experience. This means that most of the time your CV will be read first. If they are impressed by that then your cover letter will be read but ultimately if your CV isn’t up to scratch, chances are your cover letter might not even get looked at.

So what to put on your CV?

It depends where you apply obviously but for a major magazine you need to have previous experience elsewhere. I had my local newspaper, my student newspaper, two online fashion publications and a popular teen magazine on my CV, as well as office experience and a degree in fashion journalism. Be aware that this isn’t unusual – in the same way you would work your way up in paid employment, you need to work your way up in unpaid employment.

In terms of your cover letter my only advice is make it short and interesting. Don’t just repeat what your CV said because that will come across as dull. Tell a joke or a funny story (my cover letter had an anecdote about a nightmare experience transcribing an interview when I was working on the teen mag). Give them a reason to remember who you are.

CHASING UP

Most big publications state clearly on their website that they don’t get back to anyone who is unsuccessful – the pure volume of applications means it is difficult to do so. So what’s the rule with chasing up an application?

For me one email and one phone call would be your maximum. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to pick up the phone and remind the employer that you applied but don’t ring more than this. Being pushy and ballsy is important but if you hassle someone who is already hugely busy the most you’ll get is an interview with no real intention of hiring you afterwards.

BE COMPETENT

If you manage to get the internship (hooray!!) then don’t just see it as something to put on your CV – these people may recommend you for other jobs in the future, they may ask you to come back for work (I’ve just been asked to be an assistant for the Glamour Women of the Year Awards over the next couple of weeks) so do everything you can to impress.

That starts with being competent. This sounds ridiculous but it is so important. Answer the phone when it rings and when you do, don’t just pass the call to someone else. Try and get all the information you can and pass on messages. Be fully prepared to do remedial tasks like filing or transcribing and be happy about doing them!

BE INDISPENSABLE

Don’t act like an intern but know your place.

If you act like you’re on work experience and need someone to hold your hand during your time in the office then everyone will get fed up of you fast, so act like you’re part of the team. Chat to people, say good morning, join in if it’s someone’s birthday or if people are having drinks.

At the same time though understand that you are an intern so if someone gives you a task that seems boring or not important then it’s because someone needs to do it and you are at the bottom of the ladder.

OFFER YOURSELF UP

My biggest piece of advice is DO NOT sit at your desk and wait for the team to come to you because, chances are, they won’t. They are busy and able to function without an intern around so try and make yourself so useful that they don’t want you to leave because they can no longer function without an intern! Send emails, go up to people, ask everyone and anyone on the team if you can do anything. If everyone says no then use your initiative and come up with something; suggest feature ideas, organise the cupboards, put together a handbook for the following intern.

MAKE TEA

I’ve heard so many people say to me “You know no other interns offer to make tea”. It became a running joke in the office that if anyone needed tea I’d probably already be making it so get off your high horse (if you are on one) and make tea and coffee.

This isn’t just a stupid intern task, it gets you talking to people, it gives you the opportunity to chat and get to know everyone. I’m not sure why interns think it’s degrading to make tea anyway, on the rare occasion that I didn’t offer tea up to everyone then someone on the team would do it and that would be anyone from the features assistant to the associate editor. No one is too good to serve a round of tea.

Do you have an internship experience you would like to share? Get in touch! Ellan blogs at thelittlelondongirl.co.uk. She’s also on Twitter, @littlelondongee 

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The Life Of A Diarist – All Glitz & Glamour?

Champagne Glass by 1.Raymondo

A half-empty champagne glass – every diarist’s best friend? (Pic: 1.Raymondo)

Ever considered looking into newspaper diary writing as a line of work? Student Alexander Woolley fills us in on what life is like for those in the trade…

“Are you Scottish?”

I was wearing a tartan-looking tie. Well, striped, at any rate. “No,” I reply, a bit taken aback, in a very un-Scottish accent.

“Most of us are Scots, Catholics or Jews, that’s why I ask.”

It was the end of a week I’d spent in the office with the Mail on Sunday’s diary department, and I was chatting to a journalist friend of a journalist friend. “They’re all on the margins of society, you see,” he added.

Diversity of staff and diversity of roles – that was his message. And it’s something I’ve come to agree with this summer. Who knew that newspapers employ people to go to parties?

A diarist’s work revolves around reporting the comings and goings of the rich and famous, often in a light-hearted way, and appears somewhere towards the middle pages of a newspaper.

The Mail on Sundays diary is imaginatively called the Mail on Sunday diary, whereas other papers give theirs more exciting names. The Evening Standard has the Londoner’s Diary, the Telegraph has Mandrake, and the Mirror calls theirs the 3am column. The articles are often printed anonymously.

The life of a diarist is hardly what you’d expect journalism to be – which, in my imagination, was either sitting behind a desk armed with a telephone, email account and various caffeinated substances, or it was looking into a TV camera to the sound of gunfire.

Diarists, on the other hand, make a living out of going to parties, hunting celebrities and getting gossip out of them. “Go for the up-and-coming celebrities,” I was told. “They’re not so well media-trained.”

Diary work gets you in to places you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance, or reason, to visit. I’ve been to a Freemason’s lodge, the bar at the top of the Gherkin and a former fish market – all in the past couple of months. The job also makes you a pro at quaffing bubbly. “I’m just so used to drinking champagne,” a freelancer I’ve met a couple of times confided in me. “I drink so much of it for work.”

But it’s not entirely fun and games. Working at a party is never as enjoyable as simply being invited to one. Although the half emptied champagne glass is a potent tool, it doesn’t take long before you can no longer think of incisive questions to ask. You’re always slightly on edge, looking out for celebrities and determining when the best moment to approach them is.

But it is the sort of journalism that involves going places, meeting people and reporting on events that are taking place in front of you. It’s not just coughing up text to put around pictures.

Diarists aren’t the only type of journalists who attend these parties – which are almost all in London, by the way.

A lot of the events diarists work at are hosted by fashion brands, who like to promote new lines of clothing with glitzy parties. “Him? Oh he’s a famous fashion blogger,” a photographer told me at a recent event. That’s a thing you can make a living out of, apparently.

Mostly when people talk about journalism, it’s in sad and hushed tones, like you’d use at the funeral of a fondly-remembered great uncle. But with such a variety of ways that people are making a living in this trade, diary writing included, I’m struggling to see it that way now.

Do you think diary writing sounds like an exciting profession? Is it something you would pursue? Join in the debate on Twitter @Journograds or post a comment on Facebook

Why You Shouldn’t Settle For ‘Any Job’

Michaela Walters At The Hangover 3 Premiere

Perks of the job: Michaela Walters at The Hangover 3 premiere

Graduate Michaela Walters explains how staying the course helped her make the transition from intern to content assistant at a leading publisher…

Finally! The days of pulling my hair out and holding back tears as 50-somethings repeat the words “there are plenty of jobs out there” are over.

“Why should I settle for just any job?” I would respond. And it’s what I genuinely thought – why should any of us desperate journo job-hunting grads simply settle?

So for six months I’ve gritted my teeth, repeating those four words to myself – “why should I settle?” – with the desperate hope that one day I could say I was right not to.

Like many journo grads, I moved from one internship – at Capitalfm.com – straight on to another, at Hearst Magazines, working on Best Magazine.

I bagged a placement just as the brand was not only going through a complete relaunch but also as the company was launching its first website.

Whilst interning at Capital FM I learnt skills that helped me stand out against other applicants. It’s only looking back that I have realised what great skills they were – and so I now appreciate how important it is to soak every little bit of learning up, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time.

Working on a brand new website has been very different from working on an established one like Capital’s, but with newness comes fresh opportunity.  My editor made clear from the onset that “any suggestion goes,” so it was up to me to put those skills I had learnt, and my ideas, forward.

Thankfully, I must have done something right. After two months interning at Hearst, I am now a fully-fledged, full-time Content Assistant at Best Magazine – and I love it.

My day-to-day job revolves mainly around writing content for Best’s website, looking after their social media channels and my editor has also pushed me to write for the magazine – from showbiz and features to a weekly reviews page that I am responsible for. Who says they are all like Miranda Priestly?

I’m also lucky enough to enjoy all of the perks that working on a women’s lifestyle magazine offers, including  receiving free beauty products to attending film screenings – I even got the chance to walk the red carpet with (OK, near) Bradley Cooper at the Hangover 3 premiere – how could a girl complain about that?

It’s a real blessing to be exposed to so many different aspects of the industry, and to be around people that I can learn so much from as I continue to develop.

I’ve also kept in touch with the people from Capital FM and a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be asked back to freelance during the Summertime Ball, live-blogging from backstage.

So, it’s the moral of the story – in the end, hard work pays off.

And now, there will be no more teeth gritting, my hair is thicker than ever and shares in Kleenex have dramatically decreased. Finally, I can say that I was right to not settle for another job.

Have you found work as a direct result of interning at a company? How long did it take you, and what advice would you share? Leave a comment below, or join in the conversation on Twitter @JournoGrads

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