A little while back I wrote a post on working in publishing, and when I did I asked if you'd all be interested in reading about my experience working in magazines. You guys said yes, so here it is - I really, really want this one to be useful, so I'm going to try and veer away from the things you've all heard before (i.e. intern everywhere, be prepared to work for free, work late, dress the part etc.) and give the most practical, usable advice I can for people wanting to sustain a career in print magazines. I tip my hat to you - it isn't easy! - but my time working for Good Housekeeping and Ahlan! magazines have been some of the most rewarding in my career. Stick with it!

It isn't who you know, it's how you treat them People will remember if you lend them a lipstick when they're rushing off to an event. They'll remember when you complimented them on a perfume or genuinely took time to listen to them, even if it was only a ten minute conversation in the tea room. Talk about your life outside of work, share experiences, let people see who you really are and what you care about. This isn't to redundantly say 'be a nice guy', but if you look upon everyone as an opportunity... It shows. Those aren't the guys you root for. If you look upon everyone as a friend? Things change. Positivity begets positivity, or at least, that's how I've always worked.

Mentor material One of the best things during my time at Good Housekeeping was the editor I was lucky enough to work under. She literally took me into a meeting room one day and said the words: 'I had an amazing mentor at the beginning of my career and, if it's alright with you, I'd like to be that for you. I want to give you some pages in the magazine...' I can't imagine if we had never had that conversation. She was actually the reason I started to blog - she knew, back in 2012, that print had an expiry date. She told me to build up a digital portfolio as soon as I could and, here I am still building on it, three years later. Everybody needs a little direction when they first start out - don't do what I did and wait for that level of generosity. If you think you spark well with someone and they're in a position you aspire to - ask the question over coffee sometime. More often than not? They'll be humbled and helpful. Even if they don't have time, I'm sure 9 times out of 10 they'll point you in a useful direction.

... And build a portfolio If you want to write? Do it now. Don't wait for someone to ask you to write, or to ask you to pitch. Start now. Open up Word, write about anything that comes into your head - what you ate for dinner, your favourite TV show, the last thing someone text you. Discipline yourself into writing as often as possible, and then it won't feel so overwhelming if the opportunity comes to do so at work. Blog, if you can. I promise at my interviews since I started blogging here, my blog has always come up, and all of my managers have said that they visited and read my blog. It makes an impression. It can speak volumes as to your dedication to what you want to do. And if it is what you want to do? It's just another day you get to write/photograph/design something beautiful.

Enjoy your team Do you want to know a secret? I didn't give a flying fudge about beauty before working at Good Housekeeping. Then, I started dressing sets and shooting beauty products, I saw the beauty cupboard, and something just clicked. I started asking the girls for tips here and there and BAM! Floodgates opened! One tiny question about mascara became a twenty minute long discussion - and I loved it. It was so great being able to bounce ideas around, even if it wasn't for a feature - some of those deskside chats are my best memories.

Everyone is an expert ... And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way! If you get the opportunity, work a day on a go-see and scout locations. Work with your picture editor in InDesign. Sub-edit alongside one of your colleagues. A magazine works as a beautifully well-oiled machine - ever watched 'How It's Made'? Once you understand how all the pieces come together, you'll have a better working relationship with everyone in your team, I guarantee it.

Deadline is everything Print week is hell. Everyone works late, everyone is stressed, everyone needs everything yesterday and there's very little you can do apart from shoulder it. Get used to the processes quickly, find out from the calmest member of the team how you can best support the chain and then knuckle down. It's only a week. And usually it ends in drinks.

Little things mean a lot For every issue we would have to convert American recipe measurements to English ones, which seems straight forward apart from when you work out '1 cup flour' is a certain weight in grams, but '1 cup sugar'? An entirely different one. It stressed everyone out every issue, so I got a converter up on my screen and took every page with a conversion on it. I sat for around an hour converting every damn cup, meticulously checking my findings, and then handed it back, done. This became my job for pretty much every issue I was there. Did it rock my world? Of course not. But when one of my colleagues told me: 'You're a lifesaver. Here's a bag full of Lush products' - I mean. The little stuff matters.

There's a difference between stating an intention, and being a brat What I'm saying is there's a subtle line between 'I want pages in this magazine' and 'I've always thought I would love to contribute copy to a magazine, so that is my ultimate goal, but I'm eager to help out any way I can'. That line is called tact, and you have to navigate it. Find the natural moments in conversation to suggest ways you can help - remember, no one is going to gift you anything unless you can prove you're going to add value. Short of 'keep your head down and muck in', I don't know how else to phrase this one!

I really really hope this was a useful one guys - I so didn't want to go for the cliches and tell you guys things you've already seen 5000 times on a Cosmo feature. If you have any questions or specific things you want answering, you can always comment or tweet me and I'll get back to you directly. Please don't hesitate! Or you can drop me a mail at theguiltygirlblog@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you.

8 comments

  1. Such a great post, and not just limited to the publishing world too! I especially like the 'everyone is a friend' point - I hadn't thought of it like that before but it really makes sense! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

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    1. Thanks so much Chloe! I'm so glad it was useful. T xx

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  2. This list of advice is refreshing, I hate hearing about the standard ones that are obvious and I think this is valuable advice in any job. I now also feel like I'm making my way (slowly but surely) to getting on the career path I'm still in the process of putting together a portfolio. I will get there in the end. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Keep going Natasha, being persistent and hard-working is half the battle :) I'm so glad it was helpful. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! T xx

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  3. First time in your blog and I’m impressed! Everything is so beautiful! I think that you do a great job! I know that blog requires much time, but keep doing it!

    Diana Cloudlet

    http://www.dianacloudlet.com/
    http://www.dianacloudlet.com/ru/

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    1. Thanks Diana, that means a lot! Thanks for taking the time to comment. T xx

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  4. This was a really lovely post; your personality shines through. Thanks for putting together such a thoughtful article (and MORE please LOL!).

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    1. Thank you so much Bella - I will keep writing it if you keep reading!! :) Your comments mean the world, thank you again. T xx

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