You guys, WHERE did the summer go??? It feels like just a few weeks ago I was walking into the lobby of an 11th floor office to begin my second editorial internship. And now, here I am: sitting in my campus Starbucks procrastinating starting tonight’s homework. For the last three months, I’ve been an editorial intern on the beauty team at StyleCaster, a super fun, intelligent online magazine for women. This internship has given me so much, and is definitely responsible for all my crazy cool VIP-status Insta and Snapchat stories! Last summer, I wrote a post about the Things I Learned From My First Editorial Internship, so this summer I thought I’d focus more on how I got this awesome position. If you want a career in beauty or fashion digital media, you’ve come to the right blog post, my friend. I’m going to share what the application process was like, how I prepared for it, my favorite moments, and where you should look if you want to find similar positions. Sooo, without dragging this intro on for longer than it needs to be, let’s get into the good stuff…
The application process…
I found the editorial internship listing on a wonderfully handy website called Ed2010. This is probably the best website ever for students pursuing a career in the magazine and digital media industry because new internships, full-time jobs, and freelance positions get posted frequently and you’re very likely to find something that catches your eye. Ed2010 is an all-around very informative site as well because they post articles about how editors and employees at your favorite companies got to where they are, so it’s really cool. I’m done raving about Ed2010 now, but keep the site in your back pocket (or the notes section of your phone).
So I found the listing and decided to apply, especially because they only required a resume and at that point in April I was already waist-deep in cover letters. I wrote up a message and sent the resume to the email address listed and waited. Note that it’s super important to follow ALL of the directions a listing gives when you’re applying for a position. For this, I had to include the subject line that they specified. This is the first test to make sure that as an intern you’ll be able to follow directions. My next piece of advice when applying is to be respectful in your email! This is the editor’s first impression of you, so show that you’re interested, can follow directions, and are polite. If you write a very asshole-ish message or just don’t sound respectful, the person reading the email will be very put off by your attitude (trust me on this, guys. Towards the end of my internship, I helped the team go through emails from new applicants and you really don’t want to sound rude!).
About 10 days later, I received a response from the editor asking me to complete an edit test. If you’ve never taken an edit test, beware. Even if you read a website page by page daily, they can still be quite tough. I think that the idea of not knowing if your ideas are good enough is what makes edit tests so daunting. It feels like you’re sealing your fate as soon as you hit ‘send’ on that email. I’ll talk more about preparing for edit tests later, but needless to say, the editor loved my ideas and we scheduled a phone call. During the call, I really felt like I connected to the editor and to the position—it sounded perfect for me! The editor emailed me later that day to extend the offer to me and I accepted. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous to accept it because the offer came so early—this might sound strange, but it was still April and there were so many listings still going up. I was scared to commit to one position because I wasn’t sure if even better positions would arise in the coming weeks. I know, I know, the security of having an internship pinned down before the semester is even close to over sounds like a dream. I decided that StyleCaster would be the best place for me to learn, grow, and gain experience, so I accepted.
What I did to nail the application process…
I know this is the part most people really care about, and I’m excited to tell you exactly what I did to prepare for everything that was thrown my way! First and foremost, I made sure my resume was ready. I ensured that it was up to date and neat, and truly reflected how qualified I was for the position. I know that sounds arrogant but I like to think that it doesn’t matter how many internships you have; if you can’t use them to show how much of an asset you’d be to the team you want to join, you can kiss the position goodbye. Oh, you were an intern at Cosmopolitan? That’s cool but what did you learn there that you can bring here? That’s what you have to show employers. I absolutely don’t profess to know everything about resumes, but I’m just tryin’ to help you out as much as I can. 😉
Here are some things you should try to have on your resume if you want a fashion or beauty-related editorial internship:
- Prior editorial experience. If you’re applying for an editorial internship, you must have editorial experience already listed. Either that or at least be able to show that you have experience writing for a school magazine, personal blog that you consistently post to, or experience as a regular contributor at a site. It doesn’t matter how many fashion shows you’ve worked at, or how many designers you interned for; your chances of making it to the next round may be slim if there’s no writing experience listed on your resume.
- An eye-catching decorative element. No, don’t go overboard with funky borders and unreadable but fancy-looking fonts. Having something subtle that still catches the editor’s eye will show them that you have personality and style, and they’ll remember your application. I always use a simple pink line towards the top of my resume in between my contact information and my related experience. It’s subtle but pretty, doesn’t take up much space on my resume, and serves a function. Figure out what you want to do to give your resume some flair—write your name in pink, or shade a box for your contact info blue.
- A passion project. This is generally good for any field you apply for a position in, but if you have a blog, YouTube channel, non-profit you created, etc., include that on your resume. Show that you have something to do even if you don’t get the position. Many times, your passion project can help you be an asset to the team because it gives you experience and a perspective that they might be looking for. If you started a service that gives free bartending lessons to college students, that gives you a significant upperhand if you’re applying to be a food and drink reporter at a publication (strange example but I’ve actually seen something very similar happen!).
And then came my *favorite* part of the process: the edit test…While I won’t say what specific questions were asked on the test, I will say that all edit tests usually just serve to see if you’re capable of writing in the voice of the publication you want to work at, and if you’re good at coming up with ideas they didn’t already publish. Here’s how I usually approach edit tests:
- I glance over it as soon as I get it, then put it away. I don’t tackle edit tests straight away. Never. I like to give it a once over to see how long it is and how (tough? demanding? hard?) the prompts are before I do anything. This helps me plan my time since I also have school and other stuff on my plate. Also, pay attention to the deadline. It can range anywhere from a few days to a week.
- I closely follow all of the company’s content. I scour. Every. Single. Relevant piece of content to really take note of any aspects of their style I’ve never noticed before and inspire any ideas. Hopefully you already read the site’s content, but this time when you read it, look at it differently: how do they begin their articles? What’s the tone? Do they use profanity and to what extent? Asking yourself these questions will help you think of better ideas for your test. I do this for a day or so, depending on when the test is due.
- I answer all of the “easiest” questions first. I say “easiest” because are edit tests ever really easy? No, absolutely not. But there are usually some questions that I can get through in very little time, so I do those first so I can really sit on my answers for the harder ones.
- I jot down ideas for the tougher prompts. When it comes to these questions, I usually have a ton of ideas that I think could be good, but I can only pick my best three or four, and how do I even know for sure that they’re my best?? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to this, and I just rely on my gut to pick the top ideas. It is what it is.
- I submit it! I mean, if you have 10 minutes left to submit your edit test, there’s nothing else you can really do about it, right? Between you and me, I actually almost didn’t submit my StyleCaster edit test! I had only gotten through half of the test and I only had one day left to complete it, and I was so bogged down and stressed from school assignments that I felt like I just couldn’t keep trying on this test. I was thinking of emailing the editor and saying thank you for the opportunity but you need not waste anymore time on me, but then I chilled for a night and returned to my test with ideas that actually didn’t suck, and I got it in!
I mentioned that I also had a phone call with the editor after I passed the edit test, and that went really well. It wasn’t really an “interview” per se but I did have to answer some questions to prove that I was truly a good fit for the position. My best pieces of advice for dealing with phone calls with the hiring team would be to make yourself available and find a quiet spot. Respect the editor’s time and understand that they won’t jump through hoops to secure a 15-minute phone call with you. Also, be prepared with questions for the end! It’s a red flag to employers if you don’t have any questions.
My favorites moments…
1. Meeting Charlotte Tilbury!
I got to attend the most glamorous product sneak peak ever for the Charlotte Tilbury makeup brand because it was all Hollywood themed. Professional makeup artists fawned over my sharp AF eyeliner wings, I got to keep an eyeshadow palette that wasn’t even in stores yet, and I met the genius woman behind the brand herself! So cool!
2. The hotel rooftop party and Tipsy Scoop ice cream.
A Dyson hair event I attended was located on the third floor rooftop of a hotel and there was a pool. I was blown away, and not just because it had been quite windy in the city earlier. I felt like such an adult mingling with other beauty magazine writers over a cup of alcohol-infused ice cream. Everything was so beautiful, and I got to meet celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin!
3. Eating popsicles in the office.
One of my favorite parts was definitely when companies sent beauty products to the office because we were also responsible for maintaining the beauty closet (which is INSANE) and that meant that we were free to try whatever products we wanted. So one day, a company sent us popsicles in a container of dry ice and we were all just so excited. They were frozen af because my tongue nearly got stuck to one, but they were so delicious and refreshing.
So, how do you find these internships???
- Check Ed2010 frequently. Seriously, if you want a magazine or digital media internship you NEED Ed2010 in your life. I check Ed2010 as often as I check Facebook and Twitter, so I’m always up to date on what’s getting posted.
- Check in with your previous internship. Reach out to your past employer and see if they’re looking for interns again this year. If you’ve never had an internship, ask your professors for any recommendations. They ought to know someone who can send an application your way, or at the very least they know somebody who knows somebody.
- Google search. Simply using the right keywords in a search can give you options. Search for things like “magazine summer internship” or “nyc magazine internship.” You can also turn on the option to receive emails when new jobs related to your search get posted! I started doing this recently and I feel like such a job insider! Check out my Tips For Getting A Summer Internship for more useful info.
- Check LinkedIn. That’s another thing I check like it’s Facebook. Download the LinkedIn app for your phone so you can check out jobs and connections on the go. Be tenacious about your search and don’t give up after looking at the first two pages, because when you’re an intern you have to be determined to slay. Every. Single. Task—no excuses!
So that’s basically how I got my editorial internship at a beauty and fashion site! It has been an extremely valuable experience, and I’m insanely glad I got the opportunity to work with such a strong team. I really hope these tips help you find an editorial internship if that’s what you’re looking for. And if you have any specific questions, drop them below or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from y’all! 🙂
What was your favorite internship experience? Never had an internship—what’s your dream company?