Amid another very busy week, I had my last intern meeting, this time with Assistant and Acting Managing Editors to discuss all things Resumes, Cover Letters, Interviews, and first impressions.  At least in magazine publishing, managing editors are the ones who do all of the hiring, so I took what they had to say pretty seriously.  They edited each of our resumes ahead of the meeting, and then gave us some very helpful advice and tips, which I will summarize below.

Resumes

  • Look at the job description for the position you’re applying for and try to incorporate some of the words they used in your resume
  • Keep consistent tense
  • Use active verbs
  • Tweak your resume for every job you apply for, tailoring it slightly to their specifications
  • Save as a pdf titled “First name Last name Resume”; a lot of times managing editors will just drag resumes to their desktop to read when they have time–you should make your file as easy for them as possible to identify

Cover Letters

  • Don’t repeat your  resume
  • Display excitement about the brand; do your homework and know what the brand is about
  • Save the same way as your resume (“First name Last name Cover Letter”)
  • If there is something listed in the job description that you don’t meet, mention in your letter that you look forward to the opportunity to become proficient in that area through the use of a particular skill/quality you already possess

Interviews

  • Don’t show up to an interview 20 minutes early; in a fast-paced work environment there are always meetings and most likely your interview was scheduled for a specific gap in their schedule.  You don’t want to be a nuisance; the managing editors at HGTV recommend you call security to come up to the office exactly 5 minutes prior
  • Bring 2 copies of your resume and cover lettter
  • Have writing samples or a portfolio printed or on an ipad ready to go in case they ask to see it
  • Always have a couple questions prepared
  • Research the company and the person who’s interviewing you beforehand; however if you do happen to learn some personal information about the interviewer’s past jobs, hobbies, etc, don’t explicitly bring that up
  • Get comfortable with the “tell me about yourself” question
  • After an interview, send an email that day, and a thank you note that week

General Advice

  • If you are following up via email after applying, do not ask for a response, timeline, or ask any questions.  However, you can mention that you applied a few weeks ago and are looking forward to possibility of on opportunity to interview with them, and you can attach an additional clip to
  • Stay in touch with people you worked with during your internship by just sending a drop in email every few months, maybe attaching any recent clips or projects you’ve been working on