What was your career journey to becoming Company's editor?
I started out like so many others doing work experience on a magazine that's no longer with us called TV Hits. I then moved over to sister title Inside Soap magazine and never left! I made myself so invaluable that when a job came up they just gave it to me. After that I just worked really hard and applied for more senior jobs along the way.
What does your job entail?
My job is amazing but these days it does involve a lot of business planning - I am curator of the Company brand really across all its different platforms ie Company.co.uk, our print version and also our digital version (for example we have an exclusive cover on our Apple Newsstand
version different to the print one!) I am constantly having to come up with ideas for new things Company could be involved in like events. We even had our own Company tent this year at festivals!
If you could do a different job within a magazine what would it be and why?
If I could do any other job on the mag it would be Beauty Director. They get the best overseas trips, the best gifts and loads of gorgeous beauty goodies - whats not to love?!
How do you go about getting a place interning at a magazine? What advice would you give to someone wanting to intern?
The key to getting an internship is to stand out in a good way. Make us remember you in your email application. Then if you get your internship, be amazing! Love what you are doing and we'll love having you.
What are your views on blogging? How relevant is it to the magazine world and how much would you value a personal blog as a part of someone's CV?
I love good blogs. But a bad blog can be more damaging than anything. I expect all prospective journalists to have a blog these days and I do look at lots of them sent to me.
Is a journalism degree valued/needed to get into this industry?
Years ago I would have said you dont need a journalism degree. I dont have one and neither do most of my friends and contemporaries. However.... these days media degrees are great. I do a lot of work with the PPA on accrediting the good ones so I visit several campuses a year and I am always so impressed with how and what students are taught. I really wish I had the chance to do all that stuff. It also gives you some great contacts into the industry and that is invaluable.
What do you look for in a CV/Cover letter to make an applicant stand out from the rest?
To stand out in your cover letter you really need to know and love the brand. I want to know why specifically you want to work at Company over and above any other magazine. I expect you to know the content and be able to articulate it. Bear in mind you can always do this - its easier on a mag like Company because you probably do read it but you can do this on any mag - so if you know Caged and Aviary Birds are hiring make sure you get hold of some back issues and learn what they do about birds and make yourself an expert! You LOVE birds!!!
Come across as keen and intelligent. Journalism is after all a research job so if you can't research your application then you're not going to be much use to us! The internet is a wonderful thing - I once interview a girl for an internship who knew loads of things about me as she followed me on twitter. It was presented not in a creepy stalkerish way but in a professional 'oh yes you and Louise Court who edits Cosmo often chat about blah blah blah on Twitter' type of thing!
Internships seem to be the way into magazine work, but what advice would you give for someone who can't afford to do an unpaid internship (nowhere to stay in major cities etc.)?
This is a tough one as I do totally appreciate that its tough getting internships and lots are in London. However, I'm from Newcastle and I did it - here's how. I worked every summer from the age of 18 in some media outlet locally, radio, TV, local papers, hospital radio etc. There are loads of local glossy mags that will be looking to hire and local retail businesses who publish in house mags or need people to write press releases etc.
Once you've got a job there it is a foot on the ladder and then you could in theory be then applying for London jobs at least one rung up. For what its worth when I started I shared a house with no heating or hot water with five other people and ate nothing but soup for about two years. There is no big money in journalism so you really have to want to do it. Its not going to make you rich but you will have a brilliantly interesting career.
How do you commission features and who can write them? Do you have many freelance writers or is it mainly staff writers? What do you think is the best way to get into freelancing?
Freelancing is really really tough if you are coming at it cold. A lot of the writers we commission are people we already know who have worked on other mags and then gone freelance. BUT we are always looking for new brilliant writers but we would need to see the entire feature if we don't know you before we even begin to consider it. You need to contact the Features Editor with your idea and an idea of how you will deliver the feature. If it involves case studies let us know you already have them ready, etc.
How long are your internships and what do you look for in candidates?
We ask interns to do a month so they can really get a sense of how the mag works and do something great while they are here. We take fashion interns and features interns and have three in total at any one time. We look for passion and enthusiasm
when we are hiring and someone who is going to really get a lot out of her time here. Apply to the features assistant or editorial assistant as they usually run work experience. I get sent a lot and because I dont have that much time a lot go overlooked, though if its a truly brilliant email or makes me laught I do forward on.
I'm at university, I've got a blog and have also interned and written for lots of companies, but how do I secure a job at a place like Company?
You're doing all the right things - I've been recommending exactly what you're doing. I know its frustrating when you do all the right things and still get nowhere fast but there is no magic formula. If you are still at Uni then get your degree and keep doing what you are doing then start contacting mags etc nearer the end. Use all that great experience and contacts you have to get your foot in the door and then make the most of it. I did in fact employ someone I met at our Blogger Awards about six weeks after who kept in touch with me and I loved her enthusiasm for Company and wanting to work here so when our job of online assistant came up I contacted her. So it DOES work.
Is there anything you would say is a definite no-no when applying for jobs/internships in magazines?
So here are my top five no nos....
1) Not finding out my name. Dear sir/madam does not cut it nor does Dear XXXXX I love Heat Magazine.....
2) Droning on about yourself for hours. You think you'd be ideal for Company because when you were twelve you achieved grade 3 swim badges etc I want snappy, funny, and why you want to work on Company
3) Please don't point out all the mistakes I've made or spelling errors in Company. Sadly we are all humans there hasn't been a computer that picks up all possible errors and sometimes we get stuff wrong. Its v irritating when someone points these out!
4) Not all mags will want the same tone - I love funny and a bit clever
but if you're applying to New Statesman they may not!
5) Don't tweet me to ask for work experience! I cannot decide in 140 characters if you are good enough and technically I have nothing to do with work experience anyway its the features assistant you should tweet!
- Come to our Company Fashion Forum on 14th November 2012 to hear even more advice on getting ahead in the fashion industry!