How to Land An Editorial Internship?
Surprisingly, it has little to do with writing & editing
Last night, I reflected on my past experience as an editorial intern. I had a realization that I got really lucky landing that internship because I wasn’t “qualified” for it at all.
Was it truly luck?
Was it the fact that I was online at the right place at the right time?
After I took some time to reflect, I’ve come up with four “methods” that helped me land an editorial internship.
Spoiler Alert: It has nothing to do with writing and editing, but it has a lot to do with me or you in this case since you’re the one who’s searching for an internship.
Be the Student
Learning is important things when you’re an intern. The point of an internship is to be the student in the field. It’s your time to gain valuable work experiences so you can implement it in your future career.
So, my first advice is express your eagerness to learn and to grow as a writer.
Embody Your Inner Salesperson
When I was in college, I learned in an interview course that a resume isn’t enough to get someone an internship and a job.
In fact, your resume is just enough to get your foot-in-the-door.
If you want to land an internship, you have to be your own salesperson. You have to learn how to talk about yourself and sell yourself to the right people who think you’re worth the investment.
So, my second advice is get to know yourself before the interview.
Most likely, the whole interview will be about you and why you think you’re the best fit for the role. So, make sure you know your strengths and weaknesses before you do the interview.
- Pro Tip: I recommend listing at least 3–5 things that makes you the best candidate for the position. So when the interview comes around, you’ll have a few things to talk about yourself.
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade right?
When I landed my editorial internship, I had four passable writing samples and no work experience in the industry. In fact, I didn’t know much about structure, style, and what it meant to be a writer.
All I knew was I wanted to be a writer and I would do anything for that career. So, I submitted what I had from a contributing position, wrote my cover letter, took a chance, and hoped for the best.
So that leads me to my third advice which is to take some risk. Even if you think you’re not qualified for the position, I say you should apply for it anyway.
As cheesy as this may sound, you’ll never know what kind of outcome you will get if you don’t take a chance. So, if an editorial internship sparks your interest, just shoot for the stars and apply for it!
Stand Out From the Crowd
I was a communication major who had little to no experience in writing. However, I didn’t see that as a bad thing. I used that to my advantage and ran with it during the interview.
After one internship and a few part-time jobs, I realized that being qualified to do a job was simply not enough to get the job. There had to be something valuable and unique about me that made me stand out from the other candidates.
And that goes back to what I said about being “worth the investment.” If someone doesn’t think you’re worth the investment, you won’t get the job.
So, my fourth advice is, don’t downplay your unique qualities; rather, explain why your uniqueness makes you the writer or editor that you are today.
Overall, landing an editorial internship isn’t as easy as people think it is. It’s way more than just knowing how to write and edit stories. There are external factors that can make or break your chances of getting the internship.
Of course, if you have a knack for writing and editing, that’s already a huge advantage on your end. However, you have to look at the external factors outside of writing.
What else can you bring to the table that other candidates can’t bring?