How I Got My Interning Confidence Back
- Intern Magazine
- On 13th January 2015
“I didn’t even get an interview..?”
That was my response when I was rejected from the paid editorial internship I’d applied for last October. I had always known the path to a career in journalism wasn’t going to be easy, but I had assumed that my good degree from a top university and experience as editor of a student magazine, would have at least gained me an interview. That email brought me crashing down from the white clouds of naivety I had evidently been occupying.
The problem with my application was, after a few tearful chats with my sympathetic Mother, glaringly obvious: a lack of editorial experience. While I’d been annoyingly keen at university and written for every magazine/newspaper/blog available to me, I had never worked with a professional publication.
But instead of giving up on my dream job, I applied for a work experience placement with The List, an Edinburgh-based cultural listings magazine that had become a staple procrastination tool for me at university. They had a straight-forward application form available on their website for which I came out of my depressed stupor for long enough to complete.
Miraculously, three days later, I was told they wanted me to start the next day. Luckily I was working for my Mum’s business at the time and, with a bit of persuasion, she agreed to give me the time off.
I arrived on my first day in the coolest smart-casual outfit I could muster (the M&S skirt might have let me down), buzzing with nerves. However, they swiftly dissipated when I was asked to write about the Kevin Bridges tour announcement, compose numerous picture captions and help with researching images, all in rather quick succession. It was quite clear this was not a ‘milk and two sugars’ kind of internship.
Researching breaking cultural news stories, writing picture captions and image sourcing formed the core responsibilities of my placement. However, I was also given the chance to write for the website (https://film.list.co.uk/articles/writer:claire-flynn/), help out the sales team and participate in promotional events. I was even asked to write a feature article for their October issue. I found it challenging, but I was learning quickly and I was beginning to understand all the different components involved in producing a professional magazine.
As the end of my two-week internship drew nearer, I was a little gutted. Despite my apprehension about working full days with no pay, I had had a great time at The List, and I wasn’t ready for the experience to end.
Fortunately, I was asked to extend my internship by a week, due to the quality of my work – obviously I accepted immediately (sorry Mum). The fact that they asked me to stay restored my confidence in my own abilities, cementing my decision to pursue a career in magazine journalism.
Getting a job in any sector is difficult, but my chosen path has always worried my family, friends and, if I’m honest, myself. It’s ridiculously competitive and I often wondered if I was good enough. My internship with The List allowed me to prove that I am.