By Lauren Saxe
It’s that time of year. You just finished up your summer gig and it’s already time to start mapping out a game plan for next year. Ed knows the search can be long and grueling, so follow our guide filled with tips and tricks from industry pros to make the process a little less painful. Happy hunting!
When to start looking: Editors recommend starting applications early, as deadlines can approach as soon as the fall for the following summer.
“Personally, I would look for internships a semester out; so if you’re looking for a summer internship, start in January,” says Madison Feller, an editorial assistant at Cosmopolitan.com.
But have no fear, Edsters. In an industry that runs on constantly changing deadlines, not all publications follow the same schedule.
“There are a handful of companies and publications, Domino included, that don’t abide by the standard seasonal schedule, so don’t stress if it’s a month before and you’ve yet to find something,” says Anna Kocharian, Digital Editor at Domino Media Group. Some publications have rolling deadlines or will post a job because they need an intern ASAP.
When (and how) to apply: “Honestly, I love Ed2010. (They did not ask me to write this, I swear.),” says Feller, who scored her internship that led to her current job at Cosmopolitan.com through Ed. (Hint: Ed’s also where she posts her calls for interns, for all you eager whippersnappers.)
You can also use your alumni network to your advantage. If you’re still in school, career services will have that information. Already graduated? Hit up your local alumni association for contacts.
When to expect an interview: There are often three major components to landing the gig: the application, the edit test and the interview, not necessarily in that order. Depending on the brand and time of year, you’ll be asked to do an edit test or an interview one week to one month after you submit your application. Bottom line: You need to be prepared for both.
“I look for someone who definitely knows the brand,” says DeLora Jones-Blake, Chief of Reporters and Internship Coordinator at InStyle. “They want me to be interested in them, but they have to show that they’re also interested to be here.”
How soon to follow up: As a general rule, never call an editor to follow up after an interview. Instead, opt for a quick email, as most editors prefer to handle business this way and some don’t even have an operating desk phone in the digital age. Make sure to be memorable.
“Instead of emailing and asking if there is an update, be sure to add something new to the conversation like a new writing sample or project you have worked on,” says Alexandra Finkel, editorial operations director at Bustle.
Two weeks is a safe bet to check in if you haven’t heard anything, but to avoid this awkward email in the first place ask editors when you should expect to hear back at the time of your interview. You’ll have a better idea when it’s time to touch base.
When you’ll get the gig: Depending when you applied (and what semester you applied for), you could hear as early as the fall or as late as May, but March and April are typically the hottest months for the verdicts on summer internships. Since the majority of summer applications hit the web in early spring, you can expect to hear a few weeks after.
If you don’t get that coveted, dream internship on the first try, keep your head up, Edster! Apply again the next year — you never know when an editorial assistant or internship coordinator may remember you, and a little persistence goes a long way.