Hey there fellow Edsters!
So I made it out of day one alive! Whew! And better than that, now I get to spill all the deets!
I will admit that I tried on four (okay fine, seven) different outfits before heading out the door and that I splurged on a $15 cab ride, for fear of being gross and sweaty had I taken the subway (which honestly inflicted more stress than it saved because NYC traffic at 8:30 am SUCKS!) but nonetheless, I arrived on time — hair and eyeliner still in place — and walked confidently through the rotating front doors, huge smile on my face, and ready to go!
Boy is it exciting to arrive and be welcomed into a new office! And all the usual bases were covered. I was given the office tour (umm, hellooo fashion closet!), introduced to most of the editorial staff (including the fabulous EIC!!), shown to my own (pretty spiffy) desk, introduced to my fellow interns, and walked through a list of basic tasks, expectations and ways to be a rock-star intern.
So, I figured I’d share some of these pearls of wisdom with you.
1. Always be on time.
In fact, always be early. Or at least plan to be early. Nothing screams “irresponsible” more loudly than being late. Also, when it comes to your lunch break, don’t take an extra 20 minutes if you’re already given an hour. It can’t possibly take you that long to eat.
2. If an editor calls you to his/her office, always bring a pen and paper.
We’ve all seen The Devil Wears Prada. Sometimes editors really do spew out tasks and information that quickly. But in the real world, if you’re listening attentively and taking notes, an editor won’t mind you asking him/her to repeat or clarify. In the long run, it would be more embarrassing for you to slink back into the office later to ask again.
3. If you need to be out of the office, let your boss know as far in advance as possible.
Common courtesy. It also doesn’t hurt to suggest a day or time that you could come in to make it up. Editors won’t always require this of an intern, but it can only win you points if you offer.
4. If an editor asks you to run an errand, make sure to get a receipt. Always.
Editors expense most things, so they need the receipts as proof. No one wants to pay for anything they don’t have to!
5. Try to figure things out on your own before asking a question.
Editors definitely appreciate you taking initiative to solve problems. If the copy machine is out of paper, don’t ask where to find it, just search around yourself. Of course, if you have an assignment that you’re unsure of, ask for clarification. It will save you time in the long run and ensure that you get it right the first time.
6. Checking Facebook, listening to music, taking/making personal phone calls.
Don’t do it. Period.
7. Double-check your grammar.
Yes, I know we text and email very casually, and even some school assignments are relaxed when it comes to grammar, but you’re working for a magazine for crying out loud! Treat everything you turn in (emails and memos, too) like a final draft. Spell-check, fact-check and proofread. Maybe twice.
8. Asking editors if they need help is great — in moderation.
While editors love eager, ready-to-work interns, popping into an editor’s office several times during the day to see if they need help can be more disruptive than helpful. Stop by once, with a smile, and leave it at that.
9. Don’t let a mistake go unreported.
If you mess up, fess up. Immediately. It’s the only way a mistake can be fixed quickly. And don’t take it personally — no one gets everything right 100 percent of the time!
10. Be prepared with ideas!!
While interns don’t regularly attend staff meetings, there’s always a chance that you could be invited to one. To be prepared, have at least one of two solid story ideas brewing at any given time, just in case! You never know when an editor will ask you on the spot for a story idea! Plus, interns who show initiative and stay plugged in to possible story ideas are the ones most likely to get a byline!
So there you go, some insider advice from the features editors at The Mag. Although I bet we can think of some others, so please send me any tips your editors have given you, or any successful tactics you’ve come up with on your own!
Until next time,