Thursday, July 7, 2011

5 Common Intern Mistakes You Should Avoid

Hey Edsters!

This has been a very weird—yet fulfilling—week for me. We’re between issues at the magazine, so the other interns and I have been working on smaller tasks than usual.

Normally, we’re actually doing the damn thing—much more than I was expecting before coming to the city. We build Web articles, we build Web slideshows, we code text with HTML and we research photos and contact companies to purchase them. We’re basically doing the preliminary Web builds of everything, and then the edits to them once they go through the editors.

This week, though, we’ve just about built it all. New stories for the next issue haven’t made it through to us, yet, so we’ve been cleaning our little room and deleting spam from the website and tweaking little things here and there that got lost in the shuffle of a couple busy, busy weeks.

What that DOES mean, though, is we’ve gotten the chance to really talk to our boss. We’ve been able to talk about what magazine’s look for in their interns (or at least what our boss does!), what’s fun to do in the city and how to volunteer for some extra responsibilities at the magazine. Here’s what I’ve picked up:

1. Don't limit yourself to befriending only the interns in your department.
Hopefully soon, the other Web interns and I will be having lunch with the editorial interns. If that happens, I promise, I’ll fish around a little to see how they were chosen for the coveted position. (Editorial is my first love!)

2. Don't send in a resume with any sort of careless mistakes.
Although it seems really obvious, DOUBLE CHECK YOUR APPLICATIONS. Make sure you don’t do anything careless, like send a resume with another magazine listed in its career objective. I mean, that’s just bad news all around.

3. Don't forget to list all your technical skills.
Make sure when you’re applying that your resume not only has your experience on it, but also your skills. My boss said sometimes a candidate is not at all right for the position that needs filled (whether that’s an intern or staffer), but if the candidate has skills that fit another area of the magazine, my boss passes them along to the right person. I don’t think every person is that kind, but it’s ALWAYS a good idea to make yourself as marketable as possible.

4. Don't be scared to ask for more responsibility.
Pay attention to the other honchos in your office. Do they seem unusually busy (but still approachable)? Have you heard them blabbering about finding an intern or dropping a few projects? While my Web friends and I have had some down time, the same isn’t true for everyone. And that’s the great chance for us to pick up some extra responsibilities. We’ve started writing some of the blogs for the magazine when there are just too many blurbs and not enough freelancers.

5. Don't narrow the networking to your day job.
Go to office events. And I don’t mean wallow in your room when there’s a big launch party the interns didn’t get invited to. But when there’s lunch provided in the conference room, or when there’s a presentation from some outside company hoping to be featured—GO. If it’s anything that could help out the magazine, chances are there will be editors from departments you might never get to see. It’s one of the best chances for networking you might have in a typical “day at the office.”

Another fun lesson I've learned? There are places in New York City were you can get a VERY respectable lunch for $2. They’re saving my life—and bank account.

For now, I’m off to see if I can find a part-time job. This is way too exciting of a city to not afford at least some of the fun things there are to do. I’m falling pretty in love with this place, and getting a little jealous of the other interns who live here and can stay through the fall. I still have months to go, though, and I’m loving every second.

Until next Thursday,
Ed’s Web Intern

1 comment:

  1. "We’ve been able to talk about what magazine’s look for in their interns"

    "My boss said sometimes a candidate is not at all right for the position that needs filled"

    Good luck with that editorial career.