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.”