Saturday, 30 July 2011

Would you like a paid one month internship?

Ever fancied an internship at Red/This Morning/Coty Prestige/Net-A-Porter/Oxfam/Designers Guild?

Now you have a chance to enter a competition for a one month paid internship at one of these companies.
These placements will take place from January till April 2012, offering in total twenty four placements for twenty four lucky winners.
Get your applications in soon as the deadline is close!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Top 5 Tips for preparing for intern interviews

Have you got an interview coming up? Need ideas to start your preparation?
It is rare that unpaid internships will ask you to attend an interview, but paid internships most likely will, as they will have a lot more applicants.  The earlier you start getting work experience/internships the better off you will be for when you graduate. 
I was having a conversation with a woman from Orion Books last week about the difficulty that graduates face trying to get a job in publishing (and in general), she gave me some good advice that, “it’s much easier trying to get a job whilst you have a job” – so something to keep in mind.

Below are my Top 5 Tips for preparing for Intern interviews and hey, they worked for me! 

1) Do your research
There is nothing worse than going to an interview without doing this first Top Tip. Studies have found that people who are worse off at interviews are the ones that haven’t done the sufficient research.

The main aspects of your research should be:
  • The company – check out the company website; know what they do and who they are. In my interview, my first question was ‘Have you been on the company website?’
  • The role – find out what skills are needed for the role that you are going for. This is useful, as you can drop in these skills when speaking about yourself. Fit yourself to the role, as opposed to fitting the role around you!
  • The product – if they are a book publishing company (for example) then find current titles that they have published. It’s a good idea to do this as the interviewer may ask whether you have read any books by their authors and if so, what books you like and why.
2) Think of ideas
This tip is especially significant if you’re going for a writing/journalist role - but it can be applied to other roles too. This tip comes back to a previous post of mine, on ‘Top 5 Tips to get you prepared for applying for work placements’, do you have a sample article you can take with you and pitch it to the interviewer on why it should get published? Additionally, have a look on the website or buy the magazine (for example) and collect new ideas for improving content, features etc and what you may like to write.

3) Compile your evidence
Don’t be lazy and try to keep all your ideas in your head. 
Get them typed up into organised documents. Once you have finished you should print these out and take them with you to your interview – it shows great work ethic and enthusiasm!
Also, as added finesse, it would be nice to have them ready in a folder as it looks presentable and professional.

Key items of evidence to have when you go for your interview:
  • A folder containing all your research on the company, and basically all the work/preparation you have done so far for your interview. 
  • Don’t forget your CV as your interviewer may want to look at it again or have a hard-copy.
  • Another folder that acts as your portfolio and then you can ‘show off’ the writing that you have already done or had published.
4) Your interviewer
 Try and research your interviewer because after all, they are going to be the number one person judging you at the interview. Do this for multiple people (if you don’t know who it is). It’s not unheard of to have 2 interviewers.

Find out what their role is and who they are. If you are able to drop in a few comments about them, i.e. ‘I watched the podcast you did on......I really liked it’, it shows further enthusiast. Make the interview as personal and unique as possible. Chances are, if you’re the only one who mentioned the podcast, then you’ll be one of the more memorable candidates. 

5) Don't forget the small extras time management, dress code, impressions
Don’t show up late to your interview – especially without leaving a message in advance. Its bad professional conduct and you’ll be remembered for being late. 
First impressions are very important to people in general, and first impressions are highly significant in interviews especially. So, make sure you are dressed well - always try to look smarter than more casual, that way you won’t hurt any first impressions.
 Lastly, make sure you present yourself and come across well to your interviewer. Basically, you don’t want to come across in any negative way and be remembered that way.

All of these tips can apply to any work role and any type of interview. Hopefully, this article has given you ideas of how you can prepare for your upcoming interview. 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Do you want to be mentored in publishing?

During my spare time, I’ve been looking for features and collecting interesting articles from national magazines. These include, fashion spreads and articles (which I am documenting in my intern folder). So far I’ve had quite a lot of fun doing this. I even started to rip out advertisements I like – so if anyone asks, that’s the excuse for the cheeky image of Ryan Reynolds!

Anyway, whilst I was doing all this, I came across an interesting advertisement for the Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor Campaign. Essentially, you can apply to be mentee or a mentor, in different areas such as writing or a business start up – check out Claire Watt-Smith’s story on the Marie Claire website

I myself have applied to this scheme because I think it would be a great opportunity! So if you want to as well – click this link:

Friday, 22 July 2011

Keeping you updated...

It has been a week since my last ‘Keeping you updated…’ post, which may become a regular Friday post. This I feel, nicely reflects on the week and it fits in quite well with today being the workers ‘end of week’.
I’m currently enjoying the sunny weather today and very sad that this is my last day at Orion. However, at some point soon I will be providing a ‘Snapshot Diary’ for anyone who is curious about my time there! 

Last week, I was talking about having an interview at London Confidential. After my preparation last weekend, I’m pleased to say that it all paid off. After an interview on Monday, I was offered the placement and will be working there two days a week as a journalist. This is all quite new to me, so I hope you keep reading my blogs to find out how I get on! At the same time I’ll still be continuing my internship at OldCastle Books which is one of my best placements by far.

Furthermore, I’m currently liaising with a national newspaper about work opportunities so, fingers crossed for that – I’ll keep you updated.
Lastly, I’ve been working on a marketing scheme for Aesthetica magazine (since last year) and I’m now hoping to get a bit more involved, this I mean, in terms of managing and developing the scheme – I’ll keep you updated on my progress. 

I have some more and exciting plans for my Blog including:

•    Posting 'Snapshot Journals' – first one is coming soon.
•    Posting: ‘Top 5 Tips for preparing for Intern interviews, the key to interview success is preparation – so stayed tuned for my Top 5 Tips detailing the preparation you need to do!
•    Posting: ‘What you may find interesting…, a new and regular blog that I will post. It will be debuting this weekend!

Check back this weekend for a new blog post and new links!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Top 5 Tips for getting employer responses

Many of you have told me that you’re struggling to get responses once an initial email has been sent out. So I’ve created a list of Top 5 Tips to getting employer responses.

1) Send an email to a personal email address
Sometimes larger companies (and small) state a personal address that you can email your application to. However, most the time it won’t be a personal address e.g., so the chances of your application being read and read quickly are small.
A few ways you can get around this are:
  • Finding out a personal name through the company website. For example, if you’re on a magazine company website, they probably have editors listed and there full names.
  • Once you have a name e.g. ‘Steff Lever’, have a look on the ‘contact us’ page, can you see a pattern in the email addresses they are displaying? Most companies have the same email address endings. For example,, and quite often it’s the employee’s first name (dot) surname So look out for patterns.
  • Use Google to your advantage because there are many ‘secondary’ sites that will list work placement adverts and give you a person to email – so it’s worth doing some research with search engines. You can even try multiple search engines because they do feed back different results.
  • Check out the intern opportunities page on my blog because I’ve listed an Oxford Brookes link which details about 10 pages of adverts. I know that many of these are now old adverts BUT it also lists personal email addresses to people who work at the company (such as Orion and Plexus). Email the addresses and ask for work experience!

The above won’t be applicable to all companies but it is worth trying to email a personal address and then ask to be forwarded (if they don’t deal with work placements). 

2) Try emailing smaller companies
I’m not telling you to not email companies with a generic address ( In fact, smaller companies are quite good at checking work experience applications. Usually this is because they have one allocated user of the address (a publishing assistant), and because they receive less of a demand than the larger and well-known companies they are more likely to respond and be able to offer you a placement.
So try not to be picky with the various companies as they will all have many applications to choose from!

3) Give them flexible dates
When you are emailing a company make sure you provide as flexible dates as possible. For example, if you’re trying to get work experience at Christmas, state your whole Christmas holiday e.g. ‘December 16th-January 10th’. Otherwise, if you state specifics such as, ‘January 3rd-10th’, you could become a rejection very quickly as that week may be booked up, but the one before it would have been free. So remember, if you choose only certain dates then you’re greatening the chances of your application being rejected. I’ve never had a company email back and say ‘We can’t do the dates you have given us, are you free any other time?’

4) Send a letter as opposed to email
Letters are an easy way to make it more personal as it will probably get opened and read. Also, it shows that you are extra keen to get a placement at their company  as it shows time and effort has been made – as opposed to an email being less effort as it can be forwarded on numerous times.
As this is a costly alternative, perhaps act on this tip, if you would like a placement at a larger company where you can’t get a personal email address.

5) Be patient!
This is a very important tip. I probably sent out 20 emails and 10 letters in March for work placements in summer, and only a handful of them actually responded, and I only got 1 placement booked out of all those companies. I didn’t get my response until May – so I had to wait three months before I was offered a placement. Additionally, I’ve experienced companies that have kept my CV on file and a week before I wanted to start a placement with them; they emailed me asking if I would still like a placement. So some companies can be very slow at booking and others can be booked up in February until December.

Remember, you need to read thoroughly the application requirements (I’ve spoken in detail about this in my previous post). Some companies only have one requirement like ‘send us your CV’ - others want a lot more. So, make sure you act on all the requirements specified as it will probably be perceived as lazy otherwise. 
Lastly, a lot of companies request that the subject line of your email should be ‘work experience’ for example, on the other hand, I’m a bit sceptical and I don’t like to do this in case they don’t read the email at all – after all they already know what it’s about. However, this is me being paranoid, whether I’m right or wrong, don’t feel obliged to subject line your emails. Maybe go for more ambiguous wording?       

Monday, 18 July 2011

Top 5 Tips to get you prepared for applying to work placements

Sometimes, applying for work experience/internships can be very time consuming. In order to minimise the time consumption, check out the top 5 tips below and finally prepare all your documents in advance.  

1) CV
As I’ve said previously, it is important to keep your CV up to date, and to make sure that it is geared towards your desired career (publishing). Even small lines that you can tag onto the end of your CV profile, such as ‘Once I graduate, I hope to gain a career in publishing’, will make a difference for the person reading it. However, you can be even more specific and concise and state, ‘Once I graduate, I hope to become a publicity assistant’ etc.
I will be writing more about CV composition and style in a future post, so watch this space!

2) Cover Letter
When you’re applying for work experience they often ask for a cover letter – specifically in larger companies such as Penguin and Vogue. A cover letter should be aimed specifically at the company, why you would like to work/to do experience for them etc, whereas a CV is more generic in comparison. The sufficient length of a cover letter is half to a page long, as this prevents any reader from getting bored – they probably have many applications to look through and you want yours to stand out. Personally, I usually start with a brief biography, why I want to work for the company and what I have to offer, this usually takes up half to three quarters of a page. Additionally, I would include anything that may benefit my application – talking about my blog and published articles etc.

3) Portfolio
This tip is really magazine/journalism specific. Many work placements in journalism ask for a sample of your portfolio (previous articles you have written). So, it would be beneficial to get started on a portfolio as soon as you can. It can even take the simple form of a word document. Work hard on your portfolio as this will be the crucial part of the application that employers will look at. It’s a good idea to get started as early as possible. Any school/university newspaper or magazine will be a great and easy way to get published. Be careful as this area is about quality rather than quantity!

4) Blog
Another tip, which is again magazine/journalism specific, is to create a your own personal blog.This can take form as your portfolio or a second way for an employer to analyse your writing. There is no harm in having either and even better have both. For example, I have chosen to start a blog to document my journey from student to intern, whereas my published works such as, short stories and book reviews are all in my portfolio. It is entirely up to the individual.
If you do have a blog which is not acting as your portfolio, it is still a ‘nice’ thing to mention in your application – remember if you do this, you should fully proof read and check your writing style, as potential employers will read it! (I should thank a fellow student of mine who pointed out a very big typo to me! Now, I make sure I write all my blog posts in Word Processor first!)

5) Optional additions
Provide a ‘Sample Article’ of something you have been working on that fits well to the magazine/website you would like to write for. For instance, if you’re particularly passionate about features, write a features article and explain this is the kind of article you’d like to write and have published in the magazine – the employer may love it and it shows a bit extra dedication!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Keeping you updated....

As you can tell, I'm very proactive in gaining internships and work experience - so it's no surprise that currently I'm very busy interning at Orion Books. However, in my spare time I have been researching magazine companies that offer intern/writing opportunities - so check out my 'Intern Opportunities' page.

I have a few exciting plans for my blog including:

  • Posting 'Snapshot Diary' of all my previous work experience placements, including Random House and Hachette. I plan to post all 10 snapsnot journals by October.
  • Posting 'Being prepared for applying for work experience' detailing the do's and don't's and common requirements.
  • Page updates particularly the 'intern opportunities' page   and book publishing opportunities.

In my Life....
I have an interview next week for a magazine internship which I'm very excited about! I've also emailed a couple of places (that are listed on the 'intern opportunities' page) and this is to be a contributor on their website, doing some writing work - so fingers crossed for that.
My main priorities, as I've received quite a lot of publishing experience, is to develop my writing skills and delve into a bit of writing/journalism.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Top 5 Tips once you're on your placement

1) Make a diary
It’s a good idea to document what you’re doing whilst you are on your placements. This can include the daily tasks you are involved in, colleague names and contact information, and anything you may be given e.g. meeting notes.

2) Networking
Speak to as many people as you can that are around you and also try to speak to different people in other departments that you may be interested in. This is particularly good if you are undecided about which department you want to work in, in the future. Many people say that they would like to work in Editorial but often, after experience, end up prefering different departments.

3)Be aware
On placement you should be making sure that you are representing yourself as best as possible. This is because future companies may call up and ask for a reference. Also, if people remember you for being a ‘great worker’, it could open up all kinds of opportunities once you are looking for a full time job.

4) Be prepared
A lot of work experience placements are based around administrative duties, which can be sometimes perceived as ‘the boring stuff’. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast, so be prepared for it and try to embrace it as much as possible!

5) Events
If events are happening at the time of your placement, do your best to get involved, as it will give your work a bit more variety and you’ll have more things to say on your CV. 

Top 5 Tips for getting Work Experience

1) Don't give up! 
Email as many places as possible. In total i've emailed over 60 companies ranging from publishing houses, magazines and literary agencies. Many do not respond, but the occasional do.

2) Networking
If you have any contacts use them to your advantage. Ask people if they know anyone in the industry. It's far better to email someone personally than to an impersonal email such as '', which basically any HR member can access - if they access it at all.

3) Websites and Search Engines
Research a lot of websites and check in their 'contact us' and 'careers' pages for any information on the work experience they offer. You can also just search into google something like 'work experience in publishing' and have a look through the links that come up - you may find something interesting!

4) Email vs Letter
From my experience, although it is a costly alternative, sending a letter for the first intial contact to a publisher or agency, can lower the chances of it being ignored. For instance, emails can be left unopened in an inbox for a very long time (I found popular magazine companies can be particularly bad with this), and in contrast letters are generally opened.

5) CV and Availablity
Make sure your CV is fully up to date and that your profile is targeting the publishing industry. Also, try and put a broad range of dates (obviously dates you can do), as your far more likely to get a response. Furthermore, the earlier in advance you do it the better. By April a lot of places have already filled work experience placements until November - there's no harm in emailing or sending a letter months in advance.

Finally, I hope these 5 top tips have helped you. I started my work experience last summer (I had just finished my first year of university) AND I have also managed to gain numerous work placements in that time AND built up contacts, which will hopefully be a great help to me when I graduate.