So you’ve read them, you’ve grown up with them, you’ve watched them in films and now you want to work for them. So what is it really like to work in the glamorous magazine industry?
I’ve been an avid fan of magazines for as long as I can remember, devouring every word and dreaming everyday that I would work for one of them eventually. And then it happened; I had won a competition and I was on my way to London to work at More! magazine for two weeks. I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be like ‘The Devil Wears Prada’? Would everyone hate me? Would I fit in? Little did I know, I had absolutely nothing to worry about. It turned out it was the nicest office I’d ever walked into, with the people being even nicer.
The magazine industry
The magazine industry is such an exciting, friendly, funny and warm place to work. Ever since graduating in 2012 I have been lucky enough to have interned at four different national magazines, the first being More! magazine, where I worked for a total of six weeks, combining the fashion, beauty and editorial desks. I was offered a two-day job there as the Editorial Assistant, due to start the week that the magazine unfortunately announced its closure. The money just wasn’t in publishing anymore. So I knew I had to make the most of the other magazines whilst they were still around.
Some tips to get into the magazine industry
The easiest way I have found to get work experience is to go through Go Think Big, It’s a company that is in partnership with Bauer Media and O2 and it is constantly providing work experience opportunities for all of the Bauer magazines, which consist of Heat, Closer, Grazia, FHM, Kerrang and many more. Sign up to the website, fill in your details and when it comes to applying for a certain vacancy, the most important thing to do is to make sure you actually stand out in the ‘Stand Out’ section because that’s what makes the decision, and I’ve been told this first hand by the woman who read mine and chose me for work experience at Heat and Closer magazines. Don’t just blend into the crowd; big yourself up but be honest about yourself at the same time. And when you do get chosen, and when the time comes for you to sit in reception and wait for them to come and collect you and take you to the chosen office, try not to be nervous. I know it’s hard but you just need to remember that these are normal people who have pretty much all started out where you are right now. Everyone has worked their way up, and because of this, they are incredibly nice to the interns.
Once in there – explore, ask, learn!
Involve yourself first and foremost; don’t sit there in silence afraid to speak. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Find out how the people around you got to where they wanted to be, ask for advice. If you have a spare minute, notice to see if anyone could do with your help, but don’t be too pushy. I once worked with an intern who asked for something to do at every chance she got and I could see her annoying the people around her. Whilst you may be bored, you have to use your common sense and realise that these people work to strict deadlines, so if they look in the zone, maybe just leave them there and use your own initiative to do some work which may come in useful at a better time.
Don’t complain; big no no. You’ve been offered this amazing opportunity, so don’t turn your nose up when you are given simple tasks such as handing out the post. Instead, use it as a positive of getting to know contacts and maybe strike up a conversation with them about something fun that they’ve had delivered. Talking is the simplest and most effective way of making contacts, contacts that I promise you that you will need, which is why you can’t be shy. Do every task with a smile on your face; be friendly, happy and helpful and I have no doubt that you will be remembered and when a vacancy eventually comes up, your name will be the first one that they think of. Ever since I’ve been interning at these magazines, I’ve been making contacts along the way, contacts that would lead me to my next internship at Grazia magazine, without having to apply for it. So if you’re a good intern and work your butt off, you get what you want.
It’s not rocket science how to become a good intern; it should just be natural, but unfortunately I have seen people who think otherwise. People who think that just because they’ve been given this chance at a top magazine, they are automatically better than everyone and refuse to do ‘demeaning’ jobs. Please don’t be one of these people. The media industry is smaller than you think and if your name gets blacklisted in one place, it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will be blacklisted in every place you try to apply to.
I hope this helps any aspiring magazine workies; it’s the best industry I’ve ever worked in. It’s not what I expected; it’s a whole lot more. So why not log on to Go Think Big and put your future in your own hands? Stand out and who knows what could be in store for you…people could be devouring your words soon enough. And remember; it’s not as scary as what you might think it is, it’s the exact opposite. So what are you waiting for?