Tips for internship seekers

Member Blog Post l

The Journalism and Women Symposium has a robust listserv where members can ask questions and provide advice. A recent question posed to the group was recommendations for those applying for internships. If you are interested in reading more on this topic, apply for a JAWS membership for access to the listserv.

Linda Kramer Jenning, adjunct professor at Georgetown University and former Washington Editor for Glamour magazine

When I used to hire interns, here are some things that made a difference:

  • Familiarity with what we do. I wanted to see that candidates had taken a deep look at the magazine and not just skimmed a copy or the site before showing up. Be prepared to mention examples of the kind of features that you liked (and cite examples from all the outlet’s platforms).
  • Come with ideas.
  • Come dressed for the job. Not overly formal and not overly casual. This also shows that you have a sense of the outlet’s DNA.
  • Show enthusiasm. Not gushing, but research-based enthusiasm for the kind of work you’d be involved in.
  • Show flexibility in terms of work schedule. You might be expected to work evenings, weekends and odd hours.
  • At the same time, be up front about your academic obligations. It’s okay to say you can’t work during exam week.
  • Be direct about your skill set and how those skills are a match for the organization’s needs. Don’t over sell yourself.
  • You’re a journalist. Come prepared to ask questions. Interviews are a two-way street.

Sarah G., an adjunct instructor in Arizona

  • Don’t address the interviewer by their first name, until they invite you to.
  • Wear shoes you can walk in. I’ve seen far too many young women teetering on top of super-high platform heels that they clearly aren’t comfortable in. It makes me question their judgment — we’re not at the club, and reporters need to be mobile. Maybe that sounds snarky, but wear shoes you can walk in. If you can get around easily in super high heels, more power to you. But otherwise it looks like you’re playing dress up.
  • Guys, make sure your shoes are clean, not stinky sneakers, and that you button your shirt right.
  • TURN YOUR PHONE OFF. Enough said. And if you don’t, and you get a call, don’t answer it. Yeah. That happens.
  • Also, be aware that employers often do drug tests and background checks for driving records before hiring or filling an internship position.