On Monday I’ll be starting a work placement at DIVA magazine. I’m excited and a little nervous – it’s been a while since I was an intern! I’m determined to make the most of my two weeks there, which takes some preparation. These are my ideas for preparing for work experience and, as I really am a wannabe on this matter, I’d welcome advice from readers.
Email in advance
The week before, send an email to confirm the placement. Make sure you know who to ask for when you arrive and, if it’s appropriate, what desk you’ll be sitting on or which section editor you’ll be working with.
Crucially, ask if there’s anything you can do to prepare. Hopefully the answer will give you some indication of the tasks you’ll be asked to do and the potential for pitching while you’re there.
Know the magazine inside out
Get hold of at least the last three or four issues of the magazine and devour them from front to back. Make sure you know exactly which stories they have covered in the last few months and that you’re in tune with their house style and audience.
Familiarise yourself with the website. As a workie, you’re likely to be given the opportunity to write for online before you get anywhere near print, so make sure you know the kind of content that goes online. Many magazines are still developing their online strategies, so if you have any more general ideas for their site or apps they may well be appreciated.
Read the news
Even if you’re going to Total Carp magazine, it still pays to know your news. Keep up to date, particularly with issues affecting your field. Think about how national and international news might affect the readers of the magazine. Stay informed and use your imagination.
If you are going to a specialist magazine (and most magazines are specialist to some degree) subscribe to relevant blogs and set up Google alerts for related key words so you’ll be up to date on your specialist knowledge. The most successful pitches are topical, timely and on-trend so make sure you’re not missing a story.
Come with prepared pitches
If you email ahead, your editor may well let you know the kinds of articles they’ll be looking for while you’re there. You should arrive at your placement with a couple of well-prepared pitches, whether or not this happens.
From studying both the magazine and the news, you should have some ideas about stories they should be covering. The weekend before your placement starts, do a little more research and think about how you’re going to pitch it to your editor. This is where a short, snappy, spoken “elevator pitch” comes in, as you’re likely to be pitching to a frantic editor as he or she juggles a dozen other tasks.
Editors often complain about not having enough for workies to do. Don’t let that happen: come prepared and you’ll make the most of your time there, both for you and your editor.
Do you have any tips for preparing for and pitching on work experience? Help The Postgrad out and let us know in the comments!
- How to prepare for your work experience placement I decided to write this post as I will be...
- VIDEO: The Postgrad’s work experience report I’ve been on a work placement at the wonderful DIVA...
- How I found work experience at the last minute It was an impromptu gap year that set me on...
- The Intern’s tips and tricks on how to impress at your work experience placement: part one. After undertaking work experience at several women’s magazines, you could...
- How I’d be better at work experience now As we near the end of our year as the...
After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look