Thursday, 26 May 2011

How To Stand Out As An Intern - Zoe Foster

Zoe Foster featured the below post on her Tumblr site which you can find here -->

I felt the need to re-blog it as I believe that what she wrote is correct to a T.

Potential PMFA interns! Take note!
P.s if you're interested in interning with us email me, Natalia, at don't be scared! :o)

"Anonymous:  What makes a 'workie or intern really stand out (for all the right reasons, of course)? I mean, it's all good to be friendly and pleasant - but when every other workie is friendly and pleasant, doesn't that make you forgettable? Oh, how to to impress...

Dear Anon,
Excellent question and thank you for asking!
Friendly and pleasant is important but not as bringing in delicious pastries every day, or finishing people’s overdue novels.
Ha ha ha! I’m kidding. The last time I let an intern finish my book she accidentally won me the Nobel prize for literature - I won’t be letting that happen again!! (The pastries, however, are always welcomed.)
But seriously, these are my tips:
  • Be punctual and pleasant - this whole exercise is about you getting some insight and experience, but it’s also kind of a pitch from you on what you’d be like as an employee, too
  • Know who your contact is, and try not to bother anyone other than that person - they’ve been given the task of looking after you, everyone else has their jobs to do. I, for example, have to clean the turtle cage once a week.
  • Don’t rub yourself in tinned tuna before getting dressed in the morning
  • Be excited to be there - because if you’re not, why bother? Let someone else who wants to be there, be there, and you go intern at MTV which is where you actually want to be
  • Dress for the job you want (this does not mean buying a bunch of new outfits, just do what you can with what you have.) (Look I know it bites, but if you’re planning to get into a glossy dingin’ industry, you have to remember what that entails: looking the part, representing that magazine/website well. I wore head to toe Valley Girl when I interned but I SASSED THAT SHIT)
  • Try not to photocopy your bottom more than twice a day
  • Be prepared to do anything that needs doing, and offer your help when you’ve nothing to do (I find by email best, but that’s cause when I was in the office I was generally only in for a moment, and needed to write and concentrate in that time, not be interrupted by sweet girls hungry for tasks)
  • Know the place of work you’re going to, so that you already have a list of possible tasks you’d like to fulfil while you’re there - for example at PRIMPED, we always need celebrity beauty tips or exciting new How-Tos, so if you can offer to research a bunch of those, well, GREAT!
  • Put your phone on silent
  • Don’t chuck a sickie or take a day off unless you’re authentically death-doorsy, or you pre-warned you’d need that day off before starting the week. This sounds harsh, because it is. But also, with so many interns coming and going, you don’t want the reason you stand out to be because you skipped one of your days and let someone down
  • Don’t ride your skateboard inside
  • Be skilled. SORRY, but it must be SAID. Or in this case, WRITTEN. The interns I’ve eventually hired were all capable writers or had terrific, intuitive, organisational skills that were enough to get them in the door as editorial co-ordinators etc
  • Show initiative - you’ve got a blog, you tweet a lot, you’re an avid reader, you’ve interned at lots of places - we can always tell which girls are dead serious about getting a start in the biz, and which are doing it cause it sounded fun and ritzy, which is a word that simply doesn’t get used enough these days
  • Make your Uncle ‘Moneybags’ Leon buy the magazine/publishing house
  • Follow up once you’re done (quite soon after so you’re top of mind) and offer to come back whenever they can fit you in again. Then email again in two months time.
  • Don’t kiss too much ass. Do you like ass-kissers? Didn’t think so. Be yourself, have confidence in what you can contribute, but be eager to soak up all you can, because really, in the big scale of things, you don’t really know very much at all as an intern. I didn’t even know my 3 x tables! What a dummy.
  • Don’t tell the editor you have some “great ideas” and want to “workshop them with her/him” which sounds like a joke, but I have seen happen many times
  • Don’t Facebook all day. 
  • Have fun, you rascal! Interning is awesome because you get to pretend you work at a cool place but can’t get fired.
I hope that helps, Anon. 
I would also recommend changing your name to something more memorable. 
From your friend,

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