I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of CVs, interviewed quite a few graduates and worked with countless interns hoping to get a foot on the ladder. Working in magazines has always been popular, and entry-level positions are often inundated with applicants. Here are a few tips for getting started on the editorial side of publishing…
Get the right training
You might be the best writer since Rowling but without a degree in a relevant subject (preferably journalism or English) your CV is not going to make the ‘Yes’ pile. However, if you do feel you have a flair for writing but no degree, take a course (The London School Of Journalism offer a course via email for £340) to develop your skills and work towards becoming a freelance writer, which can be done alongside your day job. Remember, every magazine has its own style and writing for a mag is very different to writing for a newspaper or website.
Take work experience
When I started out in 2000, this is not something that was deemed as important as it is now. These days, it can really help you get an interview. It can also get you known to a magazine and enable you to show what a talented, hard worker you are. When the next staff member leaves, your name could already be top of the list for an interview. Some magazines have a small budget for travel costs and accommodation, so ask about this when you apply. It’s also worth noting that the person you’ll be shadowing is usually the editorial assistant – the entry level position on most mags – so don’t turn up expecting to be going out on fashion shoots!
- Be different, but not too different
You want your CV to stand out but if you look like you’re going to be a little too whacky to have in the office 8 hours a day, this could put editors off. However, every magazine varies hugely, so tailor your CV to the subject matter. If you’re applying for a job on a women’s mag, reflect this in your CV with a feminine font and soft colours. Oh, and don’t forget to check and check again for spelling and grammatical errors!
Set up a blog
Magazine teams often have to source and write digital content too, so it’s great to show that you are online savvy. You can also showcase your writing skills on your blog. I like WordPress because it’s (mostly) free and it’s really easy to use. Keep your blog posts fairly short and concise and always use at least two good quality pictures in each post if you can.
Know the market
It’s no use creating a one-size-fits-all CV and expecting it to work for every mag. They’re not only looking for enthusiasm and skill, they’re looking for passion for the subject matter. If you’re applying for a job on a cycling title, read the last few issues of the mag cover to cover and learn about its competitors (go to WHSmiths and study the shelves!). Learn about where the magazine sits in the marketplace (i.e., is it the market leading title? Who is the magazine aimed at and how old is the target reader?).