How To Get An Internship In Publishing
I was just asked this, more or less, by shoes-anne—and I thought that instead of just answering her ask, I’d write a whole post about it, since I’m sure a bunch of you are interested (especially given the response to the How to Get A Job in Publishing post that linked to my internship’s blog.
So here are my best tips*, based on my experience:
1. Live—or figure out how to live—near or in New York City
Of course you’ll be able to find publishing internships in other major cities, or even at small presses in more suburban towns. But New York City is where it’s at. Wanting to work in publishing and never living/working in New York would be like trying to be an actor and never living in LA. All of the Big 6—Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan—are in New York (not that you have to work at those houses, particularly, but their presence is important).
I’m lucky because I grew up in a suburb on NYC, so I can hop on the Metro North from my hometown and be at Grand Central in around an hour. Very few (if any) internships set their interns up with housing anymore, but I know that NYU will let interns live in their dorms in the summer for cheap.
2. If you’re in college, GO TO CAREER SERVICES
I’d never written a real resume before, let alone a cover letter, so I made an appointment at my career services office. I went up expecting to sit in a little office and have my resume looked over—but I was so wrong. The career services office was an entire floor in a building on campus, and by far the most beautiful offices I’d ever seen. They have walk-in resume reviews, conduct mock-interviews, have all kinds of seminars, and the counselors were awesome. They even showed me tons of places to find listing just for publishing internships. When I went in with a resume, the counselor then had me email her back and forth with resume edits until she gave me the go-ahead.
3. Draft up your cover letters and resume—and then apply to every internship possible
Back in… February? I started thinking about applying to internships. I have a family friend at Penguin, so I sent one application to them. But despite the family friend’s good word, I didn’t hear any words from Penguin. So then I sent out maybe… two more? that I found out about from my University Career Services website. And again, I heard nothing.
So one afternoon I just sat down and Googled “publishing internships” and came across bookjobs.com. There are a tooon of internships listed on there (again, mostly in NYC). So I went down the entire list and clicked on every single one and wrote down which ones would “fit”, based on their location, duration, when the deadline was, etc. When I was done I had a list of 16 internships—and I sent my cover letter and resume to all of them.
A little side-tip on that: since you usually paste your cover letter into the body of an email and attach your resume, I highlighted the parts of each that I would have to change for each application I sent (the company’s name and address, the skill sets they specifically asked for, etc). Then, right before I sent the email, I turned everything back to black.
And believe it or not… I applied to all 16 in one (long) afternoon.
That makes 19 internships total that I applied to. These days, that’s just what you have to do. Since I transferred to Carolina and because I’m doing Honors Fiction, I’m doing an extra year, so all my high school friends graduated from college this May, and even they—degrees in hand—are applying to internships. So you have to remember that you have competition not only from other students (and unless you’re in an Ivy, there will always be students from better schools), but from people who have a degree, or might even already have experience in the publishing field.
4. If your Tumblr is semi-popular and writing/book-related, put it on your resume
In the last minute I decided to put Yeah Write! on my resume, since a lot of the internship listings asked for help with blogs or web-related stuff. I included that I was the “founder and creator” (those are buzz words for resumes), a brief blurb describing the blog, and my approximate follower-count.
As it turned out, both of the internships I ended up “landing” (at Publishing Trendsetter and Figment) wanted me because they were interested in my blog. Go figure.
But I believe that our generation’s saving grace in this economy is that we understand social media and the blogosphere. Even the most connected industry vets can barely figure out how to block pop-ups, let alone create a Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/blog presence. But social media integration is essential to businesses now—and since we’ve been playing around with Facebook etc. since they’re beginnings (I first got a Facebook when I was 16), it’s like a first language to us (the technical term for this is “digital native”). So make sure to play up the fact that, for you, working with social media ain’t no thang.
5. Put everything on your resume
People will tell you different things about this, but I’m a big proponent of putting a lot of stuff on your resume, even if it’s not directly related to publishing. I included details like that I did study abroad in Germany and speak German (hey! turns out German is a great language to speak in the publishing world, since the Frankfurt Book Fair is the biggest in the world!), that I babysit and cater (showing that I’m responsible and know how to work/think on my feet), and that I’m in UNC’s Ski & Snowboard Club (hey, if the person reading is a skiier, they might like me a little better).
Plus, if you’re trying to get an internship, obviously you’re not going to have enough experience in that field to fill a resume.
If you want to see what my resume looked like, you can view it here.
*These are tips for people who are in college or older. But if you’re in high school and want a head start, I’d recommend emailing your local newspaper—or, even better, magazine—to see if they need summer help. At the end of my senior year in high school, we were given the oppurtunity to have the last month off if we did an internship. I emailed our local magazine downtown and they took me on, even though they’d already lined up 2 other kids (at the time I was about to leave for journalism school). But that kind of publishing experience is good too, and some of the skills I learned there (namely, SEO optimization) were beneficial when I was applying to resumes this spring.
A final note: these tips worked for me. I was offered 5 interviews, but after going to 2 and being offered both internships, I decided to turn down the other interviews (I’d really liked what I’d already seen at non-publisher internships, and my remaining interview offers were at small publishing houses). I’m working at one internship 3 days a week and doing “freelance” work remotely for another. Both are awesome!
- infallibleherondale likes this
- goddess-bitch likes this
- ghostyouths likes this
- petite-amon likes this
- all-things-shiny likes this
- tasteoffiction likes this
- justbearly likes this
- paperdogface likes this
- new-serendipity likes this
- bleedingpen likes this
- chandelierbing likes this
- symphony-of-reverie likes this
- driednib reblogged this from yeahwriters
- scribble-here likes this
- theycallmegas likes this
- raeminnie likes this
- missemilyfaye likes this
- ludicrousxlogic likes this
- hrapacz likes this
- tumblincm reblogged this from yeahwriters
- tumblincm likes this
- onethingtoknow likes this
- shout-out-love likes this
- livelifeincolor likes this
- howareyougoing likes this
- theblessingofobscurity likes this
- thejiaseries likes this
- smallcupoftea likes this
- rysanthe likes this
- thinmint1291 reblogged this from cristinabelladiva
- cristinabelladiva reblogged this from yeahwriters
- cristinabelladiva likes this
- kingpercyus likes this
- harperbooks likes this
- thebookmunkie reblogged this from lettersfromafutureeditor
- lettersfromafutureeditor reblogged this from yeahwriters
- heavyheartedlove likes this
- sansastarkbowthefuckdown likes this
- flomino likes this
- mischfmnged reblogged this from yeahwriters
- livelaughloveforever10 reblogged this from yeahwriters
- dreamingfor-days likes this
- katelovesliterature likes this
- stitchingatthecircuitboard likes this
- martins-brolly likes this
- finding-ai likes this
- lua-nova likes this
- matthewtowles likes this