Here is the second edition of “Getting a Job in Publishing.” The goal of this post will be to help point you in the right direction of where to apply for internships (necessary for getting a job) and different techniques that wil help you in the application process. Remember, a lot of the specifics of this post are geared towards Minneapolis/St. Paul, but the bigger strategy applies everywhere.
- Tips for getting and finding internships.
- Great list of databases/search engines for internships and jobs.
- A list of the best publishing internships in the Twin Cities area!
When applying for internships or jobs, the most important element to the process is to be organized. You need to keep track of where you are applying, for what position, when you applied, and who your main contact person is. (This is all especially important if you’re applying to many places.) Here is a spreadsheet that I use to keep all my information in one place: Application Spreadsheet
If someone named Patty calls me, I can tell immediately that she is from Delta Magazine and is calling in regards to the editor position I applied for 4 weeks ago. If she is calling to inform me that I didn’t get the position, I can just do a strikethrough to show that I didn’t get it, but I keep it recorded. If she is calling to set up an interview, I can mark down which day and make sure I don’t have an interview for another position on the same day. It is also important to have a “notes” field for information like “they suggested I apply again next year.”
When applying to internships, usually the application cycles are seasonal. For spring you’ll be applying November-December, for summer March-April, and fall July-August. You need to know all the deadlines for all the places you want to apply ahead of time and make sure you spread out the workload, so you aren't swamped last minute. This means that you probably won’t be continuously applying for positions, but you’ll have a ton of applications to send out before each cycle. When applying for jobs, you should check your databases daily and check the job section on the websites for the different organizations that you like weekly (sometimes a job opening is only posted on a company’s website and not posted in a database…or at least it might not be in the databases you are searching…so always check their website).
Your best resource really is your school and your student community. The career center and your academic department likely have lists of places to apply, endless tip sheets, and a veritable queue of people paid to proofread your resume or willing to act as your references. Ask friends in your major what internships they have held, and they will have the most honest opinions about the experience.
In addition, they will probably let you namedrop them in your cover letter or interview as someone who got you interested in the position. That shows that you know a little more about the internship than is posted on the website and, if your friend was liked by his or her coworkers, reflects well on you as a potential intern (talented by association).
If a company or publication you are interested in does not have internship or part-time opportunities listed, take initiative and ask them whether they have a position open. E-mailing a “general questions” address likely won’t get you a timely response from the company, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. There are a lot of poorly-advertised positions hiding out there. On the other hand, as a Great Communicator you may even be able to convince someone that they need an intern to pick up the slack, and that intern is you. If the company wants to casually deny someone offering their work for free, who’s really at a loss? (Hint: Not you.)
You don’t have to go very far from your desired work experience bracket. You want an editorial internship? Think “books” or “e-publishing.” Look for a position as a library worker or a writer or a literacy volunteer. Spending your summer at Barnes & Noble by day and tutoring English by night might not be the intensive marketing internship you wanted, but these experiences are valuable if you want to present yourself as someone who loves reading and wants to make a career out of it. You might even find your core interests altered. If you can’t find anything related to your field at face-value, brainstorm ways to make your random summer job into relevant experience. Waiting tables? You’re good at customer service and calming down angry, illogical people. Clerical job? You have data entry down to a science. Factory worker? Long hours and miserable heat can’t even get you down.
These are just a few of the main job/internship databases and search enginges out there. Let us know if you know of a really good one we are missing.
Some local places that have internships (or have had them in the past):
Coffee House Press
Consortium Book Sales & Distribution
Experience Life Magazine
The Liberator Magazine
The Loft Literary Center
Minnesota Book Awards
Minnesota Premier Publications
Minnesota Women’s Press
Mpls. St. Paul Magazine
Quayside Publishing Group
Tiger Oaks Publications
University of Minnesota Press
Pretty rad list compiled by Macalester Internship Program.
Hope these lists and tips help you get a start on some applications! Big thanks to Holly Harrison, who helped me compile fantastic tips and great places to intern.
Next post we'll be going through the interview process (the actual interview and the very important informational interview).