Tips for the Hopeful Intern

My fellow interns and I at Bill’s Bar and Grill for a fun dinner.

Over the summer I was able to work as an editorial intern for Simon and Schuster. I interned in the Touchstone imprint, which publishes commercial fiction and nonfiction. I’ve gained an innumerable amount about the publishing industry and I will surely use all of this acquired knowledge in my junior year.

I took some notes about the job and internship application process and would like to share with whomever is out there. Some of this advice comes from the Intern Queen Party that I attended in the city. Other notes were given to me by the human resources department at Simon and Schuster.

A few bullets are specific to the publishing industry, but I don’t see why you can’t consider using it in other field searches.

Naturally, being a journalist, I’ve also included interesting quotes!


  • Have attitude and initiative; skills can be taught, but attitude is something you have to have!
  • Love the job and contribute ideas
  • Think of the bigger perspective.
  • Constantly consume media, even if you don’t do anything involving media. You’re still learning something.


“For the love of God, read through your résumé for mistakes.”

  • HR starts looking at résumés from bottom to top, so your story starts from the bottom.
  • Unless you are at an Ivy League school, put your education on the bottom, not the top.
  • No paragraphs. Use bullet points that talk about the key accomplishments, not just description of your job.
  • If you want to put an Objective, it has to be really, really good. Otherwise, leave it out
  • Cover letter is not dead! Be sure you show your personality through cover letters. Anecdotes are great. Explain why you love the particular field you’re applying for
  • Do not include references (it’s obvious that you will need them)
  • Put in your hobbies and interests. Many times when you send your résumé in digitally, HR puts it into a system and searches for key terms. For example, if they are looking for a Spanish-speaker, they would search “Spanish” under skills and hobbies.


Show up 5 minutes early. Any earlier makes you seem too eager. Of course, never show up late. NEVER.”

  • Phone Interviews: Make sure to smile. Look in the mirror and smile; people can hear the difference in your voice when you smile.
  • KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. Don’t ever say, “Any position is good for me. Thanks.” That’s not serious enough.
  • Questions for interviewer: Ask about the work culture, the typical routine, and maybe even ask about the background of the interviewer. How did she or he end up in this field? What is she or he working on?
  • Thank you notes. Try to email by the next day. If you’re doing it by mail, then try to do so within a week. You’ll be able to gauge whether your interviewer prefers paper over digital.


“Don’t be a weirdo and stalk them.”

  • Have contact with your employers at least once per semester.
  • Mention a recent relevant accomplishment you’ve made. Thank your employers.


“Girls, keep your tops on in your Facebook profile picture. Or at least put it on its privacy setting. Please.”

  • Keep track of your digital footprint.
  • Try including your LinkedIn account in your email signature.
  • Particularly for publishing: They are always looking for more diversity. Diversity in every sense. The less conformed you are, the better job candidate you are. Quirky, off beat people will offer fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.
  • Start your search early. There’s nothing wrong with that. For publishing, start search in March and apply April for new jobs.

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