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.
Eden Cox editor at Executive Media shares her advice for writers on My Interning Life.
1. Know your audience
Get an article brief from the editor and be sure about what they want before you start. Write a synopsis of your article before you begin so the editor has a chance to alter or refine your focus. Get a copy of the publication you’re writing for and take note of the style, language and intended audience; by all means be interesting and fresh in your writing, but don’t go overboard!
2. Proofreading is your best friend
For extra points, ask the editor for their style guide so you can apply the house style to your article (they’ll love you for making their life easier!). Always proofread your article thoroughly before you send it off. There’s nothing worse for an editor than receiving articles full of spelling mistakes and poor grammar – especially when you’re receiving 30 or so such pieces in one day!
3. Writing to the word limit
Make sure you stick to the word limit; it’s likely that the editor has portioned out a finite space for your article in the magazine, and writing too much or too little will cause problems. If you are commissioned to write 1,000 words, that is how much you should charge for, even if your article does end up being a little longer.
Don’t expect too much from your commission. Check freelance charge rates through the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and accept that you’ll have to work hard for a reputation as a reliable, interesting and competent writer before you can demand big bucks!
5. Handing off your masterpiece
And lastly, don’t be too precious about your work because editors will make changes to it. A magazine is complicated and each part has to work with the other parts, so trust them, and accept that your masterpiece might look slightly different in print!
I wouldn’t have found my internship at Milk PR without Eden. She referred me on to Milk after seeing an ad on facebook for an intern vacancy. I’m returning the favour and offering some amazing insight for aspiring writers and magazine editors. Eden was ‘thrown in the deep end’ when she landed a promotion as Editor of two magazines at Executive Media. Although Eden didn’t do an internship while at university, she worked hard at Executive Media for three years before landing her job as Editor.
The Basics Eden Cox, 26, Editor at Executive Media. I am currently the editor of two magazines at Executive Media: Australian Resources and Investment (a quarterly journal for mining and investment professionals), and Clubs and Pubs Manager (a brand new quarterly magazine for hospitality venue managers).
Qualifications Bachelor of Arts (Majors in Creative Writing and History), Postgraduate Diploma of Editing and Communications, Melbourne University.
Dream Job? I very much enjoy being a magazine editor, but, as is the case for most people, my dream job is not the one I have! Someday I would love to be able to support myself as a freelance children’s book illustrator. That’s a long way off, but it’s nice to have goals.
What do you do on a daily basis?
That’s a very big question for me! Working at a relatively small, independent publishing company, I’m involved in almost every aspect of magazine production. My tasks include writing, proofreading, researching, editing, deciding on topics to be covered in each edition, assigning articles to contributors, assisting the advertising department with sales concepts, liaising with printers and giving the final sign-off before press, marketing and distribution, writing media kits, and image-sourcing and other aesthetic considerations.
I also attend the launch of each edition of Australian Resources and Investment, where I meet with readers and potential contributors, which is a definite perk, as I’m treated to a wonderful three-course lunch at the Melbourne Town Hall on a regular basis!
Along with managing two of my own publications from start to finish, I also assist our other in-house editor, Gemma Peckham, with the production of her publications. We work as a team, checking each other’s work and ensuring any advertising is up to scratch. When I have time, I write travel articles for publication in another of the company’s magazines, Caravanning Australia. This sometimes involves working outside of business hours, but I like to keep up my writing skills and grow my portfolio of published work.
What kind of work experience have you had?
At the age of 26, I have already had a pretty varied working life, I think.
When I was 20 and studying arts at uni, I landed a casual job that I loved. My employer was an author writing a novel for teenagers, and he needed a young person’s advice on plot development, characterisation and dialogue. Each week he’d send me a chapter to read and edit, which taught me a lot about writing and how to change someone else’s work without offending them – a fine art indeed! It set me on my path to editing and when he finished his book, I immediately started applying for part-time entry level jobs in publishing.
It was about four months before I was successful (a stressful time, as I wasn’t sure how to deal with being unemployed!), landing a job as a part-time proofreader and office assistant at Executive Media. Over about three years, I waded through the mind-numbing task of proofreading ads and reception duties, and moved on to checking editorial, writing feature articles, and assisting with page layouts. Eventually an opportunity came up for a change when one of the editors went on maternity leave and I was given temporary control of her publication, Mothers Matter, a free lifestyle newspaper for parents.
This proved a great opportunity to discover what being an editor is all about; being a low-revenue, mass market publication, it wasn’t the end of the world when I made a mistake – and making mistakes really is the best way to learn!
I was completing my Postgraduate Diploma of Editing and Communications at this stage, learning the nitty gritty of grammar and structure that most people don’t even notice. After I had graduated, another great opportunity arose; Executive Media’s head editor resigned and I was thrown in the deep end! After a very brief hand-over I was given Australian Resources and Investment to manage, with lots of support and assistance from my managers and co-workers.
Every two months, after working so hard on every stage of the magazine, I still get butterflies and cold sweats when the latest edition is delivered straight off the press, expecting to see a big fat spelling mistake or formatting issue! Mostly that’s just paranoia, luckily!
What advice can you offer to publishing industry hopefuls…
Get your foot in the door whichever way you can. You might start at the very bottom of the ladder, like I did, or do work experience or an internship. It’s a competitive industry, so don’t expect to be climbing that ladder fast – it’s more like climbing a rope than a ladder! I was a proofreader/coffee fetcher/photocopier/general help girl for three years at the same company before I made it up the next rung, but it was worth it.
Once you’re in, work hard; show your employer that you love the work and are willing to put effort in. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or assistance; the best workplaces are team-oriented, and your willingness to get it right will be appreciated. Importantly, never say no to an opportunity. Even if you don’t think you’re good enough, give it a go and you’re likely to discover that you’re more capable than you thought!
Look out for Eden’s Professional Writing Advice on My Interning Life tomorrow.
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.
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.”