When I go to tell someone about what I am working towards I typically always get the question, "what do you want to do after you graduate?" My always open answer is I want to be part of the fashion industry. "Good luck" was a recent response I received. This kind of response typically might upset some but for me it motivates. I am always looking for as much advice as possible that I can consume during the next year countdown till graduation. This morning I was looking at internships (a typical everyday activity for me) and I came across this article posted by freeinternships.com from Ed2010. The article gives you a checklist of things to do before an interview with a potential magazine employer. I found it very helpful and thought must of my readers would too. If you are not aiming to be apart of the fashion industry or work for a magazine I still suggest you read it and take what may be relevant to your desired field.
I came across an amazing section on Ed2010 called “Unsolicited Advice,” and it had a great article called “10 Things to Know Before You Interview” written by Kristin Granero. Because Ed2010 is geared towards those working towards a career in editorial, this article is for you, future fashion magazine editors!
Resume: Check. Perfect interview outfit: Check. Remembering to read the masthead before the interview? Whoops! In this competitive industry, it’s hard enough to land a meeting, let alone the job, and the last thing you want to do is look unprepared. Ed feels your pre- (and post) interview pain,so he put together this list of things to know before you go.
“1. How to correctly spell the name of the magazine. Before you meet the editor, you’ll need a killer cover letter. It seems pretty simple, but add a “the” or a capital letter where it doesn’t belong and an editor may not think you belong, either. So remember, it’s Time magazine, not Time Magazine, and CosmoGIRL, not COSMOgirl.
2. The most popular sections. Though the features change from month to month, all magazines contain recurring columns that help distinguish them from other mags. A few examples are Newsweek’s “My Turn,” Ladies’ Home Journal’s “Can This Marriage Be Saved?,” and New York’s “Intelligencer.” If you’re not aware of these defining sections, an editor won’t think you know enough about the magazine to pitch relevant ideas or nail their voice—and you won’t get the gig.
3. The names of the editors. Your interviewer will likely refer to these very important staffers by their first names, and you don’t want to get caught looking puzzled when a Vogue editor mentions Anna. Review the masthead to familiarize yourself with the major players and the more junior editors in the specific department to which you’re applying.
4. The magazine’s audience. Finding out the reader’s average age and the target age (which aren’t always the same), as well as their sex, will help you figure out what types of subjects/celebrities they’d cover. For instance, you wouldn’t find much info on the Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen divorce drama in Seventeen, so pitching an idea on that will get you nowhere with that pub. Check out the magazine’s Web site for the media kit which usually contains this info for advertisers.
5. The dress code. Though that suit worked on your friend’s accounting firm interview, resist borrowing her lucky duds; even at magazines like Consumer Reports and BusinessWeek, you don’t have to be quite as formally dressed. And if you’re applying to a fashion magazine, like Marie Claire or W, show your fashion sense in your interview outfit. And if you’re up for a teen mag job, your clothes should be young and fun—but still appropriate, of course (save your jeans for once you get the job, and put away the cleavage!).
6. Total circulation. Do 2 million subscribe, another million pick it up on the newsstand, and another 3 million read their friends’ or doctors’ copies? If that’s the case, and you mistakenly say the circ. hovers around 100,000, you’re out. You can find this info for free on the Magazine Publishers of America’s (MPA) Web site, magazine.org.
7. Some of the magazine’s recent big stories. If you’re interviewing at Vanity Fair, you better know about the hubbub the semi-nude Miley Cyrus photos created. Editors commonly ask candidates about specific articles they’ve liked or think should have been approached differently. To be prepared, you should read as many back issues as possible (six is a good goal). It’s also smart to be on the up-and-up about any media buzz the mag has garnered; a google news search can help.
8. Its competitors. Though a magazine’s competition (mags in the same niche going after the same readership) isn’t usually the focus of an interview, it can come up. You should know what and who the magazine you’re applying to is up against, as well as what makes it unique from the others (this is also where those special columns and sections come into play). You wouldn’t want to pitch a story for American Baby that Babytalk featured the month before, but you do want to be able to suggest ideas that will give your mag a competitive edge.
9. What each position does within the publication. It’s hard enough deciding exactly what it it is you want to do with the rest of your life; the last thing you need is to settle on a title only to learn that the responsibilities aren’t at all what you wanted. An editorial assistant at a huge magazine may offer few writing opportunities, and even may be 100% administrative. If that’s not the kind of dues-paying you’re into, a mag with a smaller staff may be more your bag. Carefully read the descriptions in the postings, and ask your contacts if they know what duties people in that position at that mag usually have.
10. Its Web content. Now more than ever, magazines are relying on their Web brands to make their presence known and gain readers. At the very least, you should know the mag’s URL (and it’s not always straightforward; it’s redbookmag.com, not redbook.com, for instance), as well as any special features it has (like Cosmopolitan.com’s 30-day blogs). And, especially for teen mags, you should know about its MySpace and Facebook pages.”
Like I said in my last year of school I get alot of questions concerning my after school plans. While some say "you can do it" and others like told above say "good luck" my response is, it is important to do what you love. No matter how hard the industry might be, if you love it you will find your niche and be successful.
Also, check out this post by Free People on their blog about how Urbn, Inc is one of the most creative places in business!