Friday, July 29, 2011

5 Ways To Make A Lasting Impression

Happy Friday, Edsters!

At The Mag, we have organized intern lunches with some of the higher-up editors once or twice a week. It’s so interesting to hear everyone’s back-story, even if the job market has changed astronomically from when they were job-hunting. (One of our editors just casually established an international version of our magazine while she was living abroad when she was in her twenties. Just for fun. I feel like it doesn’t quite work that way these days.)

All of the editors also have great tips on making the most of your internship. I’ve compiled the best of their advice so far.

1. Editors remember interns who stay late. One of the major editors recommended a former intern for an EA position because the intern had stayed until 7 or 8 o’clock to research contact information for her. That same editor also mentioned how much she appreciated one of our current interns staying until 9:30 p.m. to transcribe a very long and important interview for her – on a Friday night!

2. You can switch from niche writing to general magazines. While hunting for jobs, one editor was told by potential employers that she couldn’t possibly transfer from business writing to entertainment writing. For a good writer, the problem isn’t moving between genres, but talking people into trusting you – because, if you really do have a way with words, of course you can write outside your comfort zone.

3. It’s all about networking and who you know. I’m sick of hearing it, too, but it’s true. An editor landed her gig at our mag because she worked with our Editor in Chief at another magazine previously. Of course, it's important to make an effort to keep in touch after your internship is over. Several editors recommend using the holiday season as an excuse to check in with previous employers.

4. Face-to-face meetings > phone calls > emails. Don't like java? Suck it up. One of my friends recently described the cup of coffee as the new office smoke break, because it's become an invaluable networking tool. My editors have confirmed this – each has said something like, “Give someone a call and ask them if they could take fifteen minutes to talk over a cup of coffee.” Editors remember faces and conversations, and they’re likelier to consider you for a position opening up if you’ve gone out of your way to introduce yourself.

5. Play nicely with the other interns. Your current lunch-buddies are your future colleagues, so stepping all over them to make yourself look better will only hurt you in the long-term. It’s surprising how many editors found positions through friends they made interning at unknown publications.

Have you heard any invaluable tips for making a memorable impression, Edsters?

Unforgettably yours,

Features Intern


  1. I have my first itern/editors lunch coming up on tuesday. They called it "an informal Q&A." I'm really nervous about it and not sure what I'm, supposed to ask. Am I expected to come prepared with questions for the editors? If so, what kind?

  2. Oh, no, I just saw this now! I hope it went well -- generally, six or seven people ask questions at our open lunches. I'll admit that unless I'm close with the editor, I usually get too chicken to speak out in front of everyone! Did you wind up asking anything?

  3. I chickened out. Maybe three girls asked questions and I wasn't one of them. I'm the only intern in my department so I was the only one who didn't know anyone else. I felt so out of place there. Not my brightest moment.

  4. That's perfectly understandable, and there's always next time. I'm one of a very small handful of features interns, and there are at least 30 fashion interns, so it is a little awkward being in the minority.

    BUT, silence is salvageable! I'm not sure how receptive editors are to interns' questions at your office, but they're pretty cool about it where I work. If you have the right kind of editor, I bet they would be totally happy to answer your question if you swung by their office or shot them an email. Most will also be able to give you fifteen minutes of their time just to chat. I'm rooting for you!