How can I become a magazine editor?
Choosing A College
Photo by: Richard Kern

So you want to be an editor, huh? Well, here's what we can tell you: It's all about getting an internship! You can get a summer internship or an after-school internship during the school year (if you live near the place you want to work). If you're still in high school, go for one at a local newspaper or magazine so you can gain job experience without too much hassle. Your next step should be to investigate getting an internship at your absolute favorite magazine or newspaper. Now mind you, this might mean going away from home for a summer. Some magazines and newspapers have programs for high school students; others hire only college students.

During each school semester (summer, fall, and spring), hires hardworking college students who help us out! Our internships are for college-credit only, so find out if your university offers this. A few internships are paid, but some publications can only offer school credit. We say, if you can afford it, take the job - whether it pays or not! The experience you'll get will be priceless (lots of entry-level editorial assistants are hired because editors got to know and respect them as interns).

How do you get an internship? Well, first figure out what publication you personally enjoy and respect the most. Then call or email the magazine or paper and find out who hires the interns. If each department hires its own interns, find out the name of the head of the department where you'd most like to work (for example: fashion, beauty, features, entertainment). Write that person a letter saying when you'd like to intern and (this is important) WHY you'd like to intern. That's when you bring up all the great things about the magazine or paper. This isn't required information--it's just that we editors like to hire people who understand our message and who get the point of view of our publication. Mention specific columns and say why you'd be an asset to the publication. After you send your letter, be sure to follow up. Magazine editors get really busy sometimes and can be hard to reach. One call every two weeks is good.

In the meantime, write for your school and local newspaper if you can. Feel free to contribute ideas and suggestions to magazines (we do read them!). Most importantly: Read, read, read! Get to know the personalities of the different magazines out there.

Something you hard-core magazine enthusiasts might want to consider (if you're going to be a senior in high school) is applying to colleges in New York City. The great thing about going to school in Manhattan is that you're surrounded by almost every major magazine (from Cosmopolitan to Marie Claire to Esquire), so you're in internship central. Plus you'll be available for an in-person interview on short notice, which doesn't hurt. No matter where you live, publishing is a tough business to break into! But hey...we got here, right? You know the CosmoGirl philosophy: If you want it bad'll get it!!!

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