Next Stop: Your Magazine Dream Job

The Skills You Need for Every Magazine Media Job

By Kelsey Mulvey

“Looking for a job is fun!” —says no one ever.

Whether you’re a recent grad or an entry-level employee planning your next move, job hunting is a draining process. Sure, you may have carefully designed your resume (and resisted the urge to use pink, scented paper like Elle Woods), however almost every candidate is doing the same thing.

So how do you actually separate yourself from the other eager beavers? Sometimes it’s as easy as adding a few extra skills to your resume. And lucky for you, we’ve got the scoop on what those super-valuable abilities are based on what job you’re going for.

  1. If You’re an Aspiring Photo Editor

What would a glossy magazine be without carefully curated pictures? Having a good eye for crafted compositions may be second nature, but knowing how to edit photographs is definitely something that needs to be on your resume.

“If you haven’t taken photography software classes, I definitely recommend getting familiar with Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom [that require you to] color correct, adjust brightness and contrast, use layer masks and silo-ing,” says Dana Davenport, assistant photo editor at Self.com. “You don’t have to be a pro, but you’ll want to be comfortable using the programs.”

We know what you’re thinking: Investing in all of those programs seems expensive. However, most of the programs developers offer a free trial, and some colleges offer discounted rates for recent grads to master basic photo-editing skills. And even if you have to spend a pretty penny purchasing these sites, already knowing the basics of your dream job will pay for itself in no time.

  1. If You’re an Aspiring Fashion Editor

Forget what you saw in The Devil Wears Prada, being a fashion editor is not all front row seats to fashion shows and free clothes. It’s hard work.

“As a market editor, most mornings I’m out brand showrooms previewing the latest collections,” says Marla Horenbein, associate fashion editor at Redbook. “When I’m in the office I’m either writing proposals for three of the stories I work on, calling in samples for various fashion stories, working on layouts with our art department, or styling stories with our fashion and market directors.”

While having an encyclopedic knowledge in ready-to-wear, pre-fall, resort, and couture collections won’t hurt, having some basic layout knowledge won’t hurt.

“Knowing how to use InCopy and InDesign is a huge plus,” says Horenbein.

Think of it this way: Being a fashion editor is not just about showcasing the coolest clothes in a way that’s relatable to your reader. Knowing the types of fashion spreads you can create allows you to brainstorm refreshing and realistic fashion features for your publication. Similar to downloading Photoshop, try reaching out to the creators of InCopy and InDesign (or even a community college) for a crash course.

  1. You’re an Aspiring Social Media Editor

Once upon a time (or like five years ago), a social media editor position probably wasn’t on your radar. But if you have a penchant for Instagram, Snapchat, Tweeting, and finding emerging platforms, this position is pretty much made for you.

As an entry-level social media assistant, your duties will probably consist of scheduling future posts on platforms like Hootsuite and Sprinklr. Glamorous? Eh.

While that sounds a bit, um, tedious, mastering the art of scheduling teaches you a thing or two about the kinds of social media posts that perform well, when they reach the most people and the best ways to grow a social following. Having those skills will distinguish you from other social media-hungry candidates.

Fortunately, Hootsuite has a free version, which allows you to become a social media maven. To get more relevant experience, offer to take over your blogger friend’s social media account. Whether you charge a small fee or provide your skills for free, you’ll actually be able to discuss a freelance social media gig in your preliminary interview.

  1. You’re an Aspiring Features Editor

Features editors will always be in demand. After all, who would write and edit all those Kardashian profiles you shamelessly read?

Familiarizing yourself with AP style and majoring in journalism are a great start, but the most important thing to add to your resume is additional freelance work.

“Journalism is about fieldwork. Editing for my student-run daily newspaper gave me better hands-on training than any major magazine could have,” says Romy Oltuski, associate features editor at Harper’s Bazaar.

Whether you’ve written for your university’s newspaper, started your own blog, or applied to one of Ed2010’s freelance whisper jobs (hint, hint), adding “freelance writer” or even a link to your portfolio to your website will show your future employers that you’ve had plenty of experience pitching, transcribing a 30-minute article and fact checking. Those qualities have editorial assistant written all over it.

  1. You’re an Aspiring Web Editor

As many aspiring editors of yesteryear can tell you, print and digital are two different ball games. While print undergoes a longer lead time and usually an in-depth editing and fact checking process, web editors’ M.O. is to churn out trending content quickly.

While getting in the swing of that fast-paced environment will help prep you for a job in digital, your potential employers won’t know that by looking at your resume. Instead, practice using a content management system (CMS) to built, add, edit, and manage digital content. While a basic platform like WordPress is a great way to get started, other websites like Concrete5 offer free and more complicated operations to master.

Combined with your skills to create quick, concise content, you’ll be a shoe-in for that digital position.

Of course, adding attractive skills is only one piece of the job-scoring puzzle. Having a professional resume that is packed with relevant experience also shows your potential employers that you are capable and ready to take on the task at hand.

Follow Kelsey on Instagram and Twitter at @Kmulvs.

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