Ever wondered what interning at a magazine is like?
After being an intern for a few weeks I thought I’d write a post about how I managed to get it in the first place and what it’s really like to work in such a fast-paced environment that all seems so glamorous from the outside. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely glamorous sides to it, from the free beauty samples, celebrity interviews and free tickets to events and new show openings, but don’t expect to be doing that all the time, or at all!
Day to Day Life as an Intern: What I Did and What I Learnt
My first day feels like a bit of a blur looking back, I got lost round the building three times, I forgot everyone’s names, and I didn’t get to write any articles- but I still loved it.
I loved the atmosphere of the place, I loved how sleek and modern everything was, I loved that there was always something happening whether that was a photoshoot around the corner or an interview with Jo Malone. I was literally living my dream of being at a beauty and lifestyle magazine and the whole thing felt quite surreal. So, here’s what life as a magazine intern is really like…
You Won’t Be Writing Articles Everyday
I was there for 2 weeks and I wrote a total of 2 articles. I know, I was slightly shocked too. I kept thinking, ‘I’m here to do journalism, why am I not writing anything?’ which got very frustrating at times.
It took me a little while to remember that I was the lowest in the ranking there and had the least experience, so why would they give me articles to write when they have somebody better to write them? I understand it now, but it definitely was a bitter pill to swallow when I was watching everyone else writing articles I would’ve love to write.
You Will Be Given the Most Boring Things to Do
Similar to the point above, you’re the intern, they are bound to give you the jobs that they don’t want to do or that take a long time to complete. That doesn’t mean that I was running around getting everyone coffee and cleaning up after them, that didn’t happen at all. But it does mean that most days I was researching for an article they were about to write or coming up with potential interview questions for them.
The bulk of my time was spent transcribing interviews, basically I would spend hours typing out exactly what the person was saying in an interview they’d done the other day so they could turn it into an article for the magazine. Sometimes this was very boring and took so much longer than I wanted it to, but since it was a magazine I liked to read, I was often listening to interviews with really interesting people that I looked up to.
You Will Probably Come Home with a Lot of Free Makeup
Freebies! And lots of them! Since it’s a beauty and lifestyle magazine I did go in assuming that I may be able to bag a couple of free samples, but I literally came home with double the amount of makeup than I had brought with me. I have to admit that was probably my favourite day working there because I LOVE makeup a lot and I was basically in heaven. Magazines like that get sent so many products to test out and write about and they’re left with too many products and no where to store them, so they give it to all the people that work there
Not Every Day Will Be a Good Day
Probably the most important point about interning at your ‘dream’ magazine. You go in with high expectations and you might love the first few days, but I can pretty much guarantee that there will be a day or maybe more that you just don’t want to be there anymore.
I experienced a fair amount of these days, I’m not used to working long hours and doing work that wasn’t always very interesting which meant that as I became more tired and a bit ill, I had some days where I just wanted to leave. I wasn’t getting paid which made those days even harder, but I just had to keep reminding myself why I was there and how important it was to push through those days and make it to the end. And it was worth it.
I struggled at times and felt run-down and stressed but overall I learnt a lot and came out the other side knowing that it was something I still wanted to go into after university
How to Get an Internship
Don’t Wait Until You See Them Asking for Interns
When I first began looking for internships, I was expecting to find magazines advertising for work experience applicants whereas in reality, barely any do. This means that it takes a bit of digging to find the right contact to send your CV to and you just have to send speculative applications to all of the magazines you’d like to work with even if they aren’t advertising for interns. I found this kind of confusing, surely they’d want to advertise for interns? But anyway, don’t let the fact that your favourite magazine might not have a section dedicated to applying for work experience with them, apply anyway and you never know what could happen.
In the beginning, I made the mistake of only applying to my top 2 magazines that I really wanted to intern with. After not hearing back from either of them I realised I was wasting time when I should be applying to a whole load of magazines all at the same time. I think I sent emails to over 50 magazines in the end which sounds like a lot but in an industry where rejection is so high, that’s what I had to do.
It took quite a while, but eventually one came through that I was really excited about so it shows that it does pay off to keep applying and trying to get the internships you want. I found it quite disheartening at the start that you don’t often get an email back saying “no” and giving you a helpful reason why, you’re either ignored or occasionally accepted for an internship which took a bit of getting used to. So don’t worry, it’s very unlikely you’ll get the one you want straight away, it took me a few months but I was so happy when all the hard work paid off in the end!
Don’t Apply to a Magazine That Doesn’t Excite You
In my mad rush in the beginning to find an internship, I applied for a few magazines that I really didn’t find interesting and I ended up turning them down which probably looked very unprofessional and I should’ve just avoided this all together. So, learn from my mistakes and only apply for magazines that make you excited to work with them and that you generally like to read! There’s no point spending a few weeks at a place that completely bores you, yes it will probably look good to go on your CV but is it worth it when you could just wait a bit longer and get an internship that you’d actually enjoy?
Don’t Let Having No Experience Stop You
I went into this with my only journalist experience being a couple of articles in my student newspaper which made me feel like I didn’t stand a chance. I assumed that all the other applicants would have so much more experience than me and be better qualified, but at the end of the day, there’s always someone else with better grades and connections so you just have to fight to stand out. I worked hard to adapt my CV and show how even the tiniest things demonstrated my love for journalism and how I would work well with them. You don’t need to already have lots of relevant experience to get an internship, I didn’t even have a blog at that point!
So yes, at the end of it all I would say that the whole experience was completely worth it, even the days that I didn’t enjoy as much. You get such an amazing insight into the world of journalism and how everything comes together to produce the magazine.
So, if any of you are reading this and thinking about applying for work experience then definitely go for it! You might find it hard in the beginning or have those days where you want to go home like I did, but it’s honestly an opportunity that I will always be thankful for to help me on my journey into journalism.
Have any of you interned before or want to do a journalism internship in the future?
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