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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Celebrity Contributors: Right Or Wrong?

Kate Moss Vogue Cover

Kate Moss has graced the cover of Vogue many times – now she edits for it. Pic: Eloisegiles

Student journalist Anna Fearon explores the ramifications of a very recent phenomenon: the celebrity ‘guest editor’…

In March this year, James Corden stepped into the building of tabloid newspaper, The Sun. He wasn’t there to be interviewed – he was guest-editing the newspaper’s Friday edition in aid of Sport Relief. This was a great opportunity for the newspaper to rope in our favourite Gavin and Stacey character for some journo work – and Corden didn’t disappoint. He put himself on page three in place of the usual topless model and brought us an interview with Prime Minister David Cameron instead.

Whilst this may have been for charity, it isn’t the first time a publication has hired a celebrity to work for a magazine. Kate Moss joined Vogue as a contributing fashion editor in 2013, with her first assignment being to style model Daria Werbowy for a photoshoot. Of course, aside from her obvious celebrity status, it makes sense to have Moss on board from an editorial perspective. After working in the fashion industry for so many years, she obviously must have a lot of inside knowledge.

However, I think it would be safe to say that Kate Moss won’t be working the same long hours as the rest of the editorial staff. She won’t be in the office of Vogue House on a daily basis, sharing the stress of her colleagues as they prepare the magazine for publication. The fact is she’s a busy lady whose modelling career takes her across the globe, so there’s only so much she can do as a contributor.

The magazine responded to Moss’ appointment on its website by saying, “She will be a hands-on editor, joining the rest of the Vogue fashion team of stylists and working with her choice of photographers and models.” But how realistic is this?

Do celebrities really deserve to get such a job title when they have no former journalism experience and don’t put in the same hours that the in-house staff do? Getting celebrities involved in magazines can be good PR for a publication – but I can’t help thinking that it’s a kick in the teeth to journalists who have got the training and spent their career working hard and, in their early years, probably for nothing.

Getting into the industry is no easy feat and once you are there it doesn’t get any easier. News is 24/7, deadlines are short and standards are high. It’s not a career for the feint hearted. When a celebrity waltzes into an office and gets a role in an editorial team just because of their status it is certainly understandable that those who have worked hard to get into journalism should feel frustrated.

Of course, that isn’t to say that celebrity editors don’t work well as a concept. I once picked up a copy of US Glamour in 2012 which Victoria Beckham guest-edited. She then went on to edit the 2013 Christmas edition of Vogue Paris (naturally she was on the front cover).

Her contribution is invaluable to fashion journalists looking to gain an insight into the influences on her brand. It’s very hard to get interviews with stars like Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss. Public announcements from them are rarity, so at least if they edit magazines we can gain access to their outlooks.

But as journalists what should we do? Should we be utilising the stature of celebrities and employing them to work alongside us, or do we have a duty to ensure that only journalists edit publications? Our free press faces a real threat if more celebrities were to join editorial teams.

Imagine Hollywood A-Listers editing our broadsheets and tabloids – surely the outcome would be that nothing derogatory about them or their friends would ever be printed. Whilst I accept that there are many intelligent, cultured celebrities out there, I am not convinced that the right place for them is to play a key role within the editorial process.

What do you think? Should celebrities be editing magazines and tabloids? If you have an opinion, leave a comment below! Anna Fearon is Magazine Journalism MA student at Cardiff University. You can follow her on Twitter @Fearon91.

Showbiz & Fashion: A Top Blogger’s Tips

Scarlett Dixon during an interview with New Look at London Fashion Week

Scarlett  Dixon during an interview with New Look at London Fashion Week

Scarlett Dixon turned her personal blog into a widely read, award-nominated fashion and showbiz website. She shares the secrets behind Scarlett London’s success…

When I initially started Scarlett London I was a 17 year old aspiring showbiz journalist eager to get my writing online and my opinions heard. I was frustrated by the lack of internships and work experience available for those under 18 and I desperately wanted to create something that I could showcase on my personal statement for university.

I knew I wanted to apply for multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University and did my utmost to make sure I would stand out from other candidates. Never for a moment did I imagine that setting up a blog would go any further than myself and perhaps my mum reading my articles. In fact, I didn’t even really know what a blog was when I started.

Think About Why You Are Doing It

If you set up a blog to gain fame and stardom, the chances are you will be disappointed. Very few of the 170 million bloggers out there make a living from it and if you set up a blog purely to make profit, you’re probably looking at the wrong career path. You need to be realistic and accept that you won’t build a readership overnight (unless you’re Harper Beckham of course).

Even if you don’t monetise your blog, you will at least gain lots of useful experience by maintaining it over time – particularly if you are looking to make it in journalism. There are so many transferable skills I have learnt from working day and night on my blog.

Of course, that isn’t to say you can’t make any money from blogging – I am lucky that I am able to supplement my degree with my earnings. It’s probably nothing on the scale you’d imagine, but if writing is what you love doing then the opportunity to earn a little bit of money from blogging can be immensely rewarding.

Making Mistakes

I think the main apprehension people have when they set up a blog is that it seems so difficult and complicated. I must receive an email on a weekly basis from someone asking advice on how to go about setting one up.

I think it’s flattering that people consider me an expert, but I’m still very much on a learning curve. Although you can enrol yourself on a course or ask for advice, the best way to set up a blog and have it working the way you want it to is to just go for it and play around with things yourself.

Take my path, for example. WordPress and Blogger are the most popular platforms, but I chose blog.com when I started Scarlett London. At the time, it seemed like a simple platform which offered cheap domain costs. This was great, until the company went bust and my site was rarely active.

It took me months and a huge sum of money to move away from it – but I couldn’t bear to lose what I had built, so it was more than worth it. I think making mistakes is an important part of blogging – you’ll also learn what works best for you as you develop your blog.

Use Social Media – Properly!

Used in the correct way, social media can really ‘make’ your blog. You can connect with other writers, bloggers and readers in real time and attract their attention to your work by posting interesting articles, questions and facts.

However, used in the wrong way it can have disastrous results. I’ve seen some users literally bombard people with pleas to read their latest post – and although it may work initially, you’re probably not going to engage loyal readers that way.

Interacting with people, hosting giveaways and interviewing bigger bloggers (who may retweet your interview with them) are more subtle, yet effective ways of using social media.

And if you find yourself unhealthily glued to the screen (which can happen when you start blogging as you expect things to happen instantly), then using a tool like HootSuite to monitor, track and schedule your tweets in advance can free up time for other things.

Your Blogging Identity

I would say it is really important to just be yourself and let your personality shine through. What makes blogs different from journalist’s articles in magazines or newspapers is that you are essentially able to update your opinion regularly, in real time.

This means you have a wider scope to explore and you are able to really let your own experiences dictate each piece of writing. The uniqueness of a blog no longer comes from what it is about, but WHO is writing it. So make sure your readers are able to get to know what you’re like.

Early on in my blogging career I remember noticing my page views start to increase considerably after I wrote about how pretentious I thought the first series of E4′s Made In Chelsea was.

Before I knew it, the cast and crew themselves started firing their comments back at me. They eventually invited me down to filming so that I could interview the cast and have a little behind the scenes access. This was a great experience that came from me using my blog to voice my opinions and be myself.

Hard Work

I think what many people don’t realise (both readers and PR) is that my blog isn’t currently a full time job – yet it demands my attention 24/7.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love what I do and I’d never give it up, but I do find striking the right balance very difficult. Trying to meet assignment deadlines and make sure there is engaging content on the site can be tough.

You have to remember, however, that this is all part of the learning curve and will help you develop as a blogger. Successful journalists need to be good at meeting deadlines and multi-tasking whilst still creating exciting, well researched and accurate pieces – so by maintaining a blog you’ll be developing relevant skills that can transfer to a full-time career as well.

The Perks

Blogging has presented me with so many fantastic opportunities that, prior to starting, I could have only dreamed of.

I have met so many wonderful people, made incredible friends (some of my best friends are bloggers) and (without sounding too cheeky) the freebies I get are amazing. I love being able to treat my mum with a little weekend break abroad, or my friend to a fancy dinner in London.

Probably one of the best experiences was a first class trip to Paris (with my blogging friend Em Sheldon) where we were able to stay in a gorgeous, luxury hotel – so upmarket in fact that it also happened to be hosting Justin Bieber at the same time (we only found out once home though – we’d certainly been a little confused by the queues of screaming girls outside the foyer each morning!)

As you can see, blogging is hard work but can be a hugely rewarding process. If there are any aspiring writers out there who would like a platform to showcase their writing, please get in touch with me – as we always have intern vacancies available and we’re always looking for talented writers. You don’t have to have any prior experience, just a willingness to learn and a passion for the written word!

Scarlett Dixon is a Bournemouth University multimedia journalism student and is the founder of Scarlett London. You can also follow her on Twitter, @Scarlett_London

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