In November last year I applied for work experience at my favourite magazine, Cosmopolitan. I was thrilled when Cosmo’s Editorial and Beauty Assistant, Gyan Yankovich, replied to my email and allocated me a week in April this year.
I have been reading Cosmo since my teens and dreamed of working in magazines. As I’ve mentioned before, I became more interested in sports journalism, media, PR and didn’t actively pursue magazines. I knew that if I never applied at Cosmopolitan that I would have always wondered what it would’ve been like in the magazine world.
So there I was lining up at the front desk of ACP’s Park St building. Gyan came and collected me and took me up to the Cosmo office. I was introduced to all the staff and immediately sent on a coffee run. Before I could officially start I signed a confidentiality agreement and a survey asking what I liked or didn’t like about the magazine.
On my first day I organized new products in the beauty closet (it’s very tiny!), conducted a vox pop with Sally Wood, Cosmopolitan’s U Ambassador (you may remember Remi was a finalist) in Pitt St Mall, researched Jen Hawkins’ health and beauty regime, did a mag swap, dropped off pages of the magazine to prepress and transcribed an interview for Features Writer Yeong Sassall.
My first day at Cosmopolitan went by relatively quickly, especially since I got an hour for lunch each day. I finally met former Cosmo Intern Erin Doyle who is lovely and set my mind at ease (I was still very nervous) and gave me some tips.
Day two at Cosmo also went by quickly, starting off with a coffee run. I should make a note of how friendly the coffee guys were to me and every customer who came into the cafe. I then did another vox pop with fashion work experience girl Elise.
After lunch Art Designer Audris Khong gave me a list of shopping to do on Friday. I was delighted with this task as my Dad and I always do the grocery shopping together as our way of catching up on a Saturday. My day ended with more transcribing for Yeong and several models came into the office for a casting.
By my third day at Cosmo I thought I had my routine down pat. Coffee, several trips up to prepress and production etc. However I was finally given a research task by Acting Features Editor Naomi Jaul. Naomi asked me to help her research a feature on celebrity couples and come up with an idea for the ‘You! You! You!’ section in the magazine. Naomi said the ‘You!’ article had to be a cash versus career story.
I got to work on researching celeb couples and Naomi liked my additions to her own research. I then became stuck on the cash versus career idea. All I could think of was interning versus earning money from my casual hospitality job. Eventually after a couple of discussions and brainstorming, Naomi decided the idea had become bigger than a ‘You!’ story and asked me to make a feature story pitch.
I ended up writing a brief pitch on different examples when you have to choose cash or your career. I was really pleased with what I had done that day as I got more of an insight into feature writing at Cosmo. After spending most of my day in front of a computer, I was glad when 5pm came around.
My second last day at Cosmo started off with a coffee run and a brief conversation with Naomi, Yeong and Claire about the upcoming 2012 London Olympics. I ended up suggesting a few male swimmers for the team to research.
My next task of the morning was to sort pages of the June issue using the ‘Grid’, which I knew had Kim Kardashian on the cover because I got a sneek peek at her feature story. The grid was explained to me by Picture and Production Editor Michelle Jackson. Michelle said they use the grid to help them organize the issue and where they can place advertising.
The rest of my day was spent in the Cosmo Fashion Department. I helped out Fashion Office Coordinator Nikki Lowe and Taylor who was also doing work experience in the fashion department that week.
Taylor and myself organized clothes into designer, then sorted and packed clothes to be sent back to PR firms. It seemed like a easy task, but finding the item of clothing on an invoice and packing clothes is very time consuming! And with such a high turnover of clothes, the Cosmo Fashion Department is always in a process of receiving and returning clothes.
My final day at Cosmo was by far the best. I came into the office with some home made baklava as a thank you to Gyan and the team, did my last coffee run, made two trips to the local Woolworths for Audris’ photoshoot, and met Cosmo’s sex columnist Emma Markezic.
I had wanted to meet Emma after I was liaising with her for Milk PR reguarding the Great Australian Sex Census. It turns out that Emma devoted her entire column in the June issue to the Sex Census. I was delighted to see that Emma wrote about the Census in Cosmo as it’s such a valuable piece of PR (especially since I set it up).
But the most exciting task that I did while at Cosmo was helping out Acting Fashion director Charlotte Stokes on a photoshoot. This wasn’t a fashion feature, it was Zoe Foster’s photo shoot for her monthly column. The chances of me meeting Zoe were very slim as she does six different looks for the next six months. So I was very lucky to be there when a photo shoot was scheduled.
Although Zoe is now Cosmo’s Dating Guru, she was Beauty Editor when I first started reading the magazine. I was a fan of Zoe’s beauty column and meeting her was the icing on the cake of a great week at Cosmopolitan.
After I finished at the photoshoot, I went back to the Cosmo office, said goodbye and thank you to the people who were still there and left. I had a really great time and got an insight into the magazine world.
My only regret is that I hadn’t applied at Cosmo sooner. I would really love to do more work experience in magazines but as I am already commited to Melbourne Storm and now Universal Music Australia for the rest of this year, I will have to see how things go.
So my advice to anyone who is reading this is to just to do it. If you want to work in magazines, PR, print, TV or radio.
Just. Do. IT!
Take every opportunity you can get. It only takes one person to give you a chance for you to then forge your own path.
I was given a chance and have now ended up with a variety of experiences at Milk Kiddle Langmaid PR as an intern and PR Account Manager, intern at Melbourne Storm and Universal Music Australia and work experience at Cosmopolitan Magazine.
All of my varied experiences in the media industry have helped me decided which path is the right one for me. Internships are invaluable industry experience so make the most of it while you’re at university.
WORK EXPERIENCE & INTERNSHIPS AT COSMOPOLITAN: please refer to their website for further details.
I wrote this post last year on my personal blog, Aubrey Out Of The Box. Today I will embark on a week’s work experience with my favourite magazine, Cosmopolitan. I am now 23, still have every issue I’ve ever bought and am excited about the week ahead. As you will read below, I have been passionate about Cosmo for years. It was always my dream to work in magazines.
In the past year and a half or so, I’ve lost sight of that dream. I focussed on my journalism subjects at university and became more interested in sports like AFL and Rugby.
I also fell into the world of PR and am heading down a path which I now feel I am being pushed down. PR was something I was always intrigued by, but sometimes I feel as though I am living someone else’s dream. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy PR but I’m not entirely sure whether I want a career in it.
If this blog has taught me anything it is to try different fields in media and see if you really enjoy it and want to pursue it.
This week I have decided is the make or break. If I enjoy the magazine world I will pursue it further when I’m back in Melbourne. I realize how lucky I am to have had a range of intern experiences in PR, Sports and now at Cosmopolitan. I need to get back on track and think about what I really want and not what someone else wants me to do.
I recently read the story behind one of my favourite songs, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ by Bob Dylan and this quote resonated with me in so many ways.
“Truly to know yourself and find fulfillment, you must face the world alone, mould your future and your philosophy from your own experiences, without relying on the comforts of favor or patronage; instead, one has to push off the shore, head out into uncharted waters with “no direction home.”” – Andy Grill ‘Bob Dylan: The Stories Behind the Songs 1962-1969.’
Wish me luck xo
BY AUBREY HAMLETT
July 21st 2011
Today I will dedicate my blog to a magazine who has been in my life for 7 years.
Magazine, no more like a friend.
I have religiously bought Cosmopolitan magazine at the start of every month for the past 7 years. I have never had a subscription, but I get a kick out of remembering it’s the start of the month and making my way to my local super market to purchase the new issue.
I have kept every issue and just the other week my mother suggested I throw them out. I replied with a stern “no.” I should have told her that what she spoke of was blasphemy.
Yes girls and boys, I was reading Cosmo when Mia Freedman was editor.
I bought my first issue of Cosmo in September 2004. My sister told me to do it. I remember hesitating but bought it anyway and my Mum was with my Dad in the UK so what my sister says, goes. The ‘oral sex’ headline gained a mass amount of media scrutiny and was subsequently covered up with a sticker while on sale for the rest of the month.
While reading Cosmo I also fell in love with Zoe Foster’s beauty column. Although I will admit that I am not as into beauty as some people (eg. Zoe) I really enjoyed reading about when she cut her hair to a shoulder length bob and then when she got hair extensions. Zoe left Cosmo for a couple of years (I was devastated) but sometimes a girl can’t resist and she has returned as Cosmo’s own Carrie Bradshaw dishing up relationship advice each month. Zoe’s column is always helpful and entertaining.
I don’t know what it is that makes me excited about Cosmo. Some issues are great, hit the mark and satisfy my every need. With articles on celebrities, relationships for the single girls, career and topless men is always a bonus. Some issues are just a bit…blah or contain too much couplely stuff (sorry loved up couple girls). edit – how funny, I am now one of those loved up couple girls!
My only complaint is when Cosmo does a ‘footy’ spread, there are never enough AFL players. I’d love a photo shoot with just AFL players. I recently tweeted acting editor, Jessica Parry asking for a feature on Rugby. I turns out that they already had a photoshoot in the works and I might get to see my favourite Rebels player, Nick Phipps in the mag. Ah dreamy. edit – Nick Phipps was in Cosmo with his shirt off. His picture is now on my wall. Ah, dreamy.
Seven years on I can’t imagine not buying Cosmo every month. I wonder if there is an age when I can’t buy it?35? 40? 64? 92?
Maybe if I feel I’m too old, I can always steal my daughter’s copy.
Cherie Donnellan is a journalist at the Geelong Independent newspaper. They cover three titles; the Geelong Independent, Bellarine Independent and the Surf Coast Independent. Cherie covers Geelong and Surf Coast news and entertainment.
Cherie shares her experience at Dolly and gives her advice to journalism students (and magazine obsessed girls like me).
Cherie Donnellan, 22, Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) Deakin University, graduated October 2011.
To be the editor of a women’s magazine (Cosmo or Cleo would be a preference).
Previous interning experiences, where & for how long?
Geelong Advertiser for one week during my first year of uni. I got a front page byline and was pretty stoked. Melbourne Weekly (Fairfax Community Network) I worked across eight of the Weekly titles for two weeks during my final year. I had quite a few pieces published. I loved working in the lifestyle department and I was inspired by all of the writers there. Lastly, I did work experience at Dolly magazine for one week in February 2012. So much fun!
Why did you choose to do work experience at Dolly Magazine?
I chose Dolly because I devotedly read every issue from the ages of 13-16. I identified with the writers so much. My favourite writers were Jessica Parry and Caelia Corse. Dolly was my bible and the writers helped shape my decision to become a writer.
How did you apply for Dolly? Did you know somebody, were you referred?
I emailed Edwina Carr, who was the editorial coordinator at the time, in November last year and she organised a place for me. During that time Danielle Pinkus landed the role of editorial Coordinator and I was worried for a while when I hadn’t heard from someone. Luckily Dani was on top of it and emailed me to confirm my placement. I was so excited when she said I still had the placement.
What was your first day like at Dolly?
I loved every second of it. Walking into the office I had goosebumps. The first thing you see when you walk in are giant letters of DOLLY in hot pink glitter. Even though I’d never been to the offices before, I felt like I was home. All the girls were very friendly, very smiley and very perky. The greatest moment was meeting the fashion editor Lotta Backlund who complimented me on my blazer. She said it was “so on trend.” I could have died right then and been the happiest person in the world. Being surrounded by clothes, beauty products and books didn’t suck either.
What did you do on a daily basis?
My first task every day was to check news websites and gossip websites for the latest updates on teen-related issues. Other than that, every day was different. My duties varied from researching things for stories, assisting the fashion team on photoshoots or sorting all the signed off pages for the latest issue.
Did you get to do something at Dolly that you did not expect to do?
I think sometimes people make assumptions about what internships are. People either assume that the only thing you do is get coffee, or else they expect that they will run the place by the end of the week (honestly I have met interns who believe they are the editor!). Neither is the correct assumption. To me, internships are a test of humility. You have to be willing to do coffee runs without griping about it. On the other hand, you have to be prepared to come up with a pitch for an article that will be the cover story. If you can perfect that balance, you will be noticed and you are more likely to land a paying job with that company.
Tell me about your blog Label Me Happy
I originally started my blog in 2008 as Label Me Happy but I found it hard to maintain. So I gave it up. Less than I year later I relaunched it with a fresh perspective.
My original concept was to write posts about stereotypes and how they can either positively or negatively impact a person. The hook was that the label (stereotype) I wanted to be given was ‘happy’. I struggled to maintain a specific theme per post and felt I had boxed myself in as a writer.
So now Label Me Happy is my outlet to address any topic from relationships to political debates. While I write for the twenty-something audience, I have found that people of all ages still ask the same questions and face the same challenges.
Has twitter helped you connect with fellow students and prospective employers?
I adore Twitter. I think it’s a fantastic platform to connect with people all over the world. It’s amazing to find someone from America or the UK who thinks the same way you do, or even better when they challenge the way you think and get you to consider a perspective you wouldn’t have seen before.
Twitter has definitely helped my blog readership. My blog has quite a big UK and USA audience. I don’t think I could have achieved that without twitter.
I have had many people who are just starting a degree in journalism ask me what I recommend they do. My first two suggestions are internships and twitter.
Cherie gives her advice
You can follow Cherie on Twitter and read her blog Label Me Happy.
Get your name out there by doing as many internships as you can. I only did three internships before I got a job in journalism but I think I should have done more.
Internships are the best way to make connections in the journalism industry and to show your potential as a journalist. Being in a newsroom or magazine office shows you how hard journalists work to track down stories or create the perfect photoshoot for a magazine fashion spread.
You have to constantly research and be the one who knows the inside scoop before anyone else.
If you do land an internship, be proactive. Do EVERYTHING that staff ask of you and then be ready to offer suggestions for a story if you’re called upon. Even if someone has the idea but you have way to create a dynamic story angle, speak up. Editors will be impressed with your initiative. Trust me, they do notice.
Also, ask as many questions as you need to and ask for feedback on any writing you do. Showing that you are willing to learn everything there is to know about the company you’re interning for will prove that you want to work in the industry.
The key in journalism is passion. Jobs are scarce; being proactive and being willing to work hard for a paying job is what will make you stand out.
Elissa Ratliff contacted me through the My Interning Life facebook page and wanted to share her story doing work experience at Cosmopolitan Magazine. Elissa is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts and will be doing more work expereience at Cleo Magazine in July this year.
In two weeks, I will also be at Cosmopolitan Magazine completing my own weeks worth of work experience.
Elissa shares her story on My Interning Life…
My name is Elissa Ratliff and I am in my first year of a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Writing and Cultural Studies) at the University of Technology, Sydney. I expect to finish my course ultimately in 2014, that is if everything goes well.
At the moment, a Beauty Editor at any mag that would have me, but long term, sitting in the Cleo Editor’s desk at 54 Park St Sydney.
Previous interning experiences, where and how long?
I was lucky enough to be accepted to do a weeks work experience at Cosmo at the eager age of 16, which is three years ago now, but it still feels as if it was yesterday.
Why did you choose Cosmopolitan Magazine?
They were and still are my idols, so for me, to get experience where they had once worked was a dream come true. And of course, who really wouldn’t want to experience a week at a place known as ‘The Bible’ to women, and of course the highest selling woman’s magazine in the world?
How did you apply for your internship?
I did my research, and sent off my resume and a cover letter to the then Editorial Coordinator Michelle Jackson. I was lucky enough to receive a reply that night saying that Cosmo would love to have me, and luckily enough for me, it was that easy.
I now know, that what happened then was a once in a lifetime thing, as Cosmo is overrun with work experience requests, so I was simply very, very lucky.
What was your first day like?
My first day was everything I imagined it to be, and more. I was greeted in the lobby by Michelle, and then taken through the crisp marble foyer of the ACP headquarters, up to level 5 where I was introduced to all the staff, and consequently scored a compliment from the Editor Bronwyn McCahon who liked my dress (by far the highlight of the day).
I then accompanied Michelle down to the basement to collect the parcels, I did not realize that I would be bringing back two trolleys stacked with clothes, makeup, flowers and lollies, all for the lovely ladies who work there.
The rest of the day was just a rush, I was overwhelmed by the fact that this was actually happening to me, and was really happy to be doing anything that they needed.
What did you do on a daily basis while at Cosmopolitan?
When I arrived I would do a coffee run, then go and collect the parcels in the rusty old ACP storage elevator, transcript interviews, assist the Cosmo Bride team in cleaning out their fashion cupboard, run errands for the fashion department (One day, I found myself in the headquarters of Louis Vuitton returning a bag), and assist Michelle in the production of the magazine.
Did you get to do something at Cosmopolitan that you did not expect to do?
One thing I did not expect to do was help out on a fashion shoot, which was incredibly awesome, just to watch the models get their makeup done and then just to be in that atmosphere, it is something I will never forget.
Will you do more interning? Why/why not?
Has twitter helped you connect with fellow students and prospective employers?
Yes Twitter has been amazing for me, and has allowed to connect with the magazines I love, and those whose writing inspires me. Latley I feel I have been neglecting facebook for twitter, which is actually a bit of a surprise.
facebook or twitter pages.
Mia Freedman’s advice to a group of UTS students, in which I was one of, was think of yourself as a brand on twitter, on facebook, on your CV- everywhere, and I think this is so true. You can make such good connections through twitter to get where you want to be, so upload things that matter and retweet.
Also, never back down. If you have a dream, keep applying for internships, keep applying for work experience, because even if you get knocked back a billion times, the only way you will get to where you want to be is to get back up and try again. And also, be pushy, send as many emails as you can, and keep sending them until you get a reply, and if its good, it would have paid off, and if its bad, try again.
Always remember what the Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”
Mel Evans grew up reading glossy magazines. She loved reading Dolly so much that in year 11 she decided to experience the inner workings of her favourite magazine herself.
After three stints doing work experience with Dolly magazine and at Rolling Stone in her first year at university, Mel scored an internship with Dolly.
“I fell in love with the place and went a few more times before begging for an internship in my first year of uni. My persistence definitely paid off,” says Mel.
Mel is so dedicated to working for Dolly, she even travelled every Monday from Canberra to Sydney where Dolly and other ACP magazines are based.
She found out about her internship position by asking the editorial coordinator at Dolly. Mel says there was a list of enthusiastic work experience students but because of her hard work Mel was given the next available intern position.
During her time at Dolly, Mel was often writing features, pitching to the deputy editor, writing for the online editor and taking care of the work experience girls and doing interviews or assisting on photo shoots. She was also in charge of Dolly’s ‘Most Embarrassing’ cringe page. Mel also researched and transcribed stories, helped unpack beauty products and was sent on the occasional coffee run.
Mel is also very active at university as she is the president of the journalism society and often holds networking events for students and journalists. Mel says that many students who start a journalism degree don’t realize how important networking is.
“You can have the highest ATAR and be the first in all your classes at uni, but if you don’t know anyone in the industry, you won’t get anywhere,” says Mel.
She also says that Twitter is an essential networking tool for aspiring journalists.
“I’ve met so many amazing journalists and student journos through it and I’ve managed to keep in contact with valuable networks I’ve made through my three years at uni and one year as president of UC Press Club,” says Mel.
Mel has recently finished interning with Dolly mag after two years and is now working freelance for Cleo magazine’s online editor.
After her two years interning at Dolly and now working freelance, Mel believes the magazine industry is the right career for her.
“It’s made me more realistic about the industry, but that realism has only fuelled my passion more so, because I now know that I am cut out for the magazine industry and I’ve got what it takes to make it. But two years ago I wouldn’t be this confident I can make it in the industry,” says Mel.
Mel says that she is now more open to working in other forms of media such as print or broadcast. Ultimately, Mel says her dream is to one day become an editor of a women’s magazine.
You can follow Mel on Twitter and check out her blog to see all her published work. You can also follow Dolly and Cleo magazines on Twitter.
“Do it. You don’t have any excuse as to why you can’t pick up the phone or send an email and ask for a week’s worth of work experience. They’re only going to say no- then you go onto the next one,” says Mel.
“Don’t be afraid of rejection. If you are serious about a career in journalism, you need that industry insight which only comes from work experience and interning. You might as well do it now while you’re still at uni instead of having to work unpaid when you shouldn’t be.”