Last summer I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to do a three week placement at my favourite magazine ever. It has always been a dream place to me and as one of the biggest magazines in the industry I felt so grateful to be there so wanted to write about it for anyone wanting to do the same!
How I got the placement.
With 15 days of compulsory work placement as part of a module at my university (I’m studying Multimedia Journalism), I immediately knew there were only a handful of places I’d want to work including Cosmopolitan, VOGUE, ITV, BBC and Sky. All the top dogs basically and I had no idea if I was being realistic but I thought, what’s the worst that would happen?
I started with emails to VOGUE and Cosmopolitan as magazine has always been something that has interested me. To find the emails, I literally just typed it into Google, it’s amazing how easily it is to find the contacts you need. This was the page I used. They have a specific work experience email.
Much to my shock, maybe a month later, I received an email back from Cosmo inviting me to do a 3 week internship in June which I was ecstatic about and of course accepted immediately.
One helpful thing that I was intrigued to know and asked on my first day was how they choose who they accept and they told me it’s a lot to do with being polite in the email whilst also showing a genuine interest. It sounds straight forward but apparently you can get it very wrong!
The hours & the office.
So my hours were half 10-6, although my commute was an hour and a half on the train so I was getting up early and getting in quite late whilst also working my part time job at the weekend which was incredibly tiring.
I don’t regret it though and working at the weekends helped pay for the cost of the train which was around £400 in total. The London life is crazy expensive but I absolutely love it and definitely think it was so worth it! I did actually receive part of the money back which was helpful as Hearst do pay interns £12 a day to put towards travel or food so that was something I was very grateful the company offered to interns.
Although the journey was long, fortunately I only had a 5 minute walk to Leicester Square where Hearst has it’s beautiful huge modern offices for all their magazines which are laid out over several floors. Cosmopolitan had the top floor along with Elle and a few others which was such a beautiful view. I even got to see the RAF’s 100 year fly past go past the window which was unbelievable. The whole building and all the people honestly oozed creativity, passion and determination and it was so motivational being there every day.
What I did there.
So my internship was with the features team which I was soooo happy about and I think in this team you are able to get more out of the experience as you are actually sat in the office with the writers which is amazing. The fashion and beauty interns do also get to sit in the office but they are often kept busy sorting the beauty/fashion cupboards and they weren’t sat at the desk nearly as much as I was.
Although I did do some admin bits like collecting the post and newspapers for the day, I was mostly asked to do research for different sections of the magazines or a certain member of the team would email me to help with research for a specific article they were writing which I thoroughly loved doing!
As well as this, I would do transcriptions which to some people may be boring but I actually really enjoyed throwing myself into it and to be honest they were all right up my street to listen to anyway so I didn’t find it dull.
Being at such a successful magazine, there is less responsibility for interns but I still felt like I got a lot out of it. Just to have a seat next to some of the best journalists in the industry was amazing and to have built contacts and spoken to them is something I really cherish. To have one of the best writers take out some of their time in the day to talk through your ideas you are pitching is something I definitely didn’t take for granted and I really cherish that.
To be honest the whole time being there was a whole perk but one thing I had no idea about that I found soooo cool was that they had beauty sales. Now from what I gathered this doesn’t happen all the time but as some of the magazines at Hearst like Elle and Cosmopolitan receive so many beauty products they don’t always have enough storage so sell it to the staff for crazy discounted prices, I’m talking, at most £5? Well fortunately whilst I was there I actually got to experience 2 and picked up a Chanel eye shadow palette and so many other amazing products which I would never be able to afford usually so that was something I was extremely grateful for.
Also the team get sent a lot of free stuff from PR’s including a pizza one day whilst I was there which was delicious!
All in all it was an amazing experience that I adored. I thoroughly enjoyed everything that was thrown at me and I can’t stress enough how kind the whole team were. I feel like often the magazine industry can appear daunting (The Devil Wears Prada defo doesn’t help that reputation haha) but Cosmopolitan was such a wonderful opportunity and I met so many amazing people.
My advice for anyone doing it is to be nice to everyone, genuinely want to be there and act confident. It’s not required for you to make the drinks but taking 5 minutes out of your day to interact with the staff and just go a little bit out of your way is always really appreciated.
Being at Cosmo has definitely motivated me to pursue some sort of career in magazine in the future and maybe one day, hopefully I’ll be back at those offices!