How to Get a Magazine Internship

“A million girls would kill for this job.” – Emily Chalton, 1st Assistant, Runway Magazine.

In the 2007 movie The Devil Wears Prada the glamorous magazine world at the fictional Runway Magazine was revealed to audiences nationwide. Emily, an assistant at the high fashion magazine summed up what so many of us have dreamed of since we first picked up our favorite magazine. Though I can definitely say having a boss like Meryl Streep wasn’t exactly in my plan… Seeing the movie led the most uninformed of people to think that they were now qualified to give advice on breaking into the magazine industry. For example, my nineteen-year-old male cousin tried to tell me that the magazine industry would be brutal, and I should probably stick with being pre-med. Uh, worst advice ever, but thanks! Just like my cousin, most of those people have no idea what they’re talking about — but fortunately Her Campus does have people who know at least how to nail step one: getting a magazine internship.

The Basics

When to apply/start looking: January! While some magazines will hire up until the end of the semester, some of the most coveted positions will be filled immediately. Unless you’re applying through a magazine internship program, in which case you need to get started in the fall (see below). You may have to apply to a ton of magazines, including ones you aren’t all that interested in, but if you want an internship and you work hard to get one, you will get one. Don’t give up!

What you need: A resume that shows interest in the magazine field in addition to the specifics of the magazine you’re applying to, clips (preferably published), a killer cover letter that matches the style and interests of the magazine and is personalized for every single internship you apply for.

How to prepare for the internship: Read the magazine! — if you only do one thing, do this. Be familiar with the sections, the style, and the most recent stories. There are few things worse than not being able to answer: “What do you love most about the magazine?” Also, you may have to take an edit test. This can include actually editing an article, pitching stories, writing a story given to you from another publication in the style of your publication, or writing captions. Either way it’s best to brush up on grammar skills and once again, the writing style of your magazine! Within the magazine world, there are lots of different types of internships. Here, we’ll break them down for you so you know which ones you want to apply for, and what to expect.

Fashion Magazine Internships

How To Find: Danielle Schivek, a former Elle fashion intern, advises checking every day. Once she saw the opening at Elle she immediately emailed her resume to her boss.

What to Expect: Returning products (think filling out labels and packaging up samples of clothing and accessory), compiling databases, tracking information, and doing research online and over the phone. A fashion assistant at a major magazine explains. “Some days interns can expect to have nothing to do — and they should ask for additional tasks without harassing the editors.” And Danielle reminds those looking for fashion mag internships: “It is not glamorous!”

Interviewing Tip: Go! “I knew it was important to have a face-to-face so I took the train into New York from Boston for the weekend,” Danielle explains. “Even though it’s a lot of money and a bit of a hassle, the person interviewing you knows that it’s a big commitment to travel so far to see them. Showing that you are so dedicated is sure to impress your interviewer.”

The fashion assistant says: “During an interview we look for someone confident, ready to work, energetic, interested in fashion, knowledgeable about fashion, and eager to try a variety of tasks.” She also reminded me that when dressing for fashion positions you should wear something you feel comfortable in, not what you’d wear to a finance interview. Remember to show your style and personality!

Prepping For It All Year Long: The fashion assistant explained what she looks for during the interview: “It’s great to see someone who is involved and active on her campus. I also look at her major, to see if it’s relevant, and check out her GPA.” No slacking!