Thursday, June 23, 2011

4 Secrets To Rocking a Skype Interview

As I type, I’m sitting on my bed with mounds of clothes covering the floor. I’m trying to compress my entire life into one suitcase so I can move 500 miles for an internship — my summer internship in New York City. I couldn’t be more excited, and my parents couldn’t be more terrified, but it’s coming quickly, so we’re both adjusting.

Here are the fast facts about me:

-I’m working as a Web production intern and blogger for a men’s fashion magazine this summer.
-I’m from the mid-U.S., a town no more than about 10,000 people.
-I’ve finished two years of a magazine journalism major and just picked up a PR minor.
-I’m devastatingly in love with magazines, shoes and, most recently, DJs. (Steve Aoki, anyone?)
-I’m allergic to cats.

This will, indeed, be my first internship, and I’m so excited!! I’ve already learned a lot. Mostly, it’s that big magazines will keep you waiting. Don’t get discouraged! After sending out 67 applications (resume, cover letter and clips if requested) and a slew of follow-up e-mails, I finally heard back from a few magazines. When I saw the Men’s Magazine in my inbox, though, I almost fell off my library chair! I had found the posting for it here on Ed2010, and I’m so glad my professor had suggested it to me.

The Men’s Magazine worked at a different pace than any local publications, though. While they were interviewing me, MM was e-mailing for more information. While I was waiting to hear a verdict from the locals, the MM pushed our scheduled interview back a week, then another week and then another half week.

I was starting to get nervous I wound never get to interview. The editor from MM had wanted me to come to New York for the meeting, but between work and school, I just couldn’t, so we scheduled a Skype date. I paced my dorm for hours waiting for the call. She had said we’d talk “early afternoon.” One goes by, so does two, three and four o’clock. By six, I was starting to think this just wasn’t happening, but at seven, the editor texts me—yes, texts me—to ask if I’m free. From there, she called me on the phone, and we ended up interviewing that way instead of Skype.

As if that wasn’t unexpected enough, she explained the position for about 10 minutes, asked about my familiarity with a few Web programs, and was finished. The interview had lasted 14 minutes. It was really relaxed and conversational. Some publications will take much longer; I’ve been in interviews for more than an hour and a half! No matter how long they last, you HAVE to ask questions. It’s how you prove your interest in the publication. So I followed her questions with a bunch of my own about the positions and what I would be doing.

She offered me the position on the spot!!

I'm so excited to share my success tips with you. Besides asking questions, here are three more things you need to know about interviewing that I've learned through the years:

1) Bring extra resumes, for sure, if the interview is in person. Sometimes, you’ll get to meet editors of other departments, and it’s a great way to network for other positions or future contacts.

2) Read the magazine you’re applying to. I know that sounds silly and obvious, but if you’re nervous in an interview, it might be hard to remember which writer wrote which article. From feedback, editors like if you’re comfortable enough to have an opinion on the publication and can give details.

3)Read around! I found lots of forum postings online for the magazine I’m interning at. People post what types of questions they were asked, how they responded and even what to wear.

I’ve been dying to start ever since, and as my first day keeps getting closer, I’m getting more and more nervous! Fingers crossed I dress well enough for the fashion world, and good luck on your internships or paths toward them!

Have you ever had a Skype interview? What are your tips to looking and sounding professional?

Until Next Thursday,
Web Intern

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