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Magazine Journalism is fiercely competitive, with thousands of applicants all over the country wanting to follow in their favourite personality’s footsteps. So just how do you make your resume stand out?

Laura Hills, Deputy Editor of Who’s Jack magazine, talks to Resume Surgeon about her career to date and mentions the importance of sending a thank-you note after a job interview.

Why Did You Want To Work in Journalism?

In all honesty it was because English was the only thing I thought I was good at at school. Originally I wanted to become a Vet and then I realised that included taking science A Levels and I soon changed my mind. Journalism was the only thing that made any sense to me. I was always reading magazines and newspapers and I knew I was reasonably good at writing so I decided to go for it.

Did You Always Want to Work in Magazine Journalism?

I originally wanted to work in radio. The first work experience I ever did was at Capital FM just before I started University and I loved it so much that radio became my focus. I didn’t change my mind until my last year at University when I decided to broaden my horizons and did some work experience at a few women’s magazines. I loved it so much and found the whole environment so exciting that I decided that was what I wanted to do.

Your University Course was Multimedia Journalism – Would You Recommend That to People Wanting to Get into this Industry?

I would definitely recommend it if you don’t feel that you’re quite ready after leaving school to jump straight into the real world. The course definitely helped me grow up, it helped me realise what I wanted to do and it gave me the confidence to go out and do it. I’m not sure I would have been as confident or successful if I’d tried to do it straight from school or college at the age of 18. Having said that, I don’t believe I’ve ever got a job just because I studied Journalism at University. It’s always boiled down to my experience and for that reason I wouldn’t say it was necessary to get a degree before giving Journalism a shot.

How Did You Get Your First Job in the Industry?

Straight from University I got a 3 month internship at Marie Claire magazine. During my time there I became quite friendly with one of the writers who tipped me off that Glamour were looking for a Features Assistant. The job wasn’t being advertised and they were trying to fill it internally but she gave me the contact number of someone at the magazine to ask them about it anyway. I gave them a call, they asked me to send over my resume and covering letter and a week later I had a job interview. I had to have two, rather scary, interviews and then I got the job. One of the reasons I got it was because I bothered to email them afterwards to say thank you for seeing me and to reiterate how much I wanted the job… apparently I was the only one that did it & it made me stand out.

As Deputy Editor of Who’s Jack, What Does Your Daily Job Involve?

Really a bit of everything. As well as writing for our website daily I also organise and carry out interviews and photo shoots with people from the worlds of music, fashion, art and film. On top of that I commission features to our freelancers as well as editing all copy that comes in so it’s suitable for the magazine. The Editor and I watch over all advertising, making sure the magazine and website are making money. We also have meetings with PRs to work out projects we can work on together, deal with reader questions, keep our social media sites up to date and generally come up with ideas about how to drive the brand forward.

What’s the Best Thing About the Job?

The people I get to meet. I’ve always loved meeting new people and since starting my job I’ve interviewed and hung out with lots of people including Tinie Tempah, The Maccabees, Chris O’Dowd and Michael Fassbender. You can’t beat that for a day’s work really!

What’s the Worst Part of the Job?

It might sound odd but the emotional attachment. Because Who’s Jack is so close to me it’s impossible to leave work at the door. Any spare time I get at weekends and evenings are spent working and thinking about what we can do next. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a bad thing and if I didn’t believe in the brand so much I might be able to switch off a bit but it is a 24/7 job.

If you Could Give Someone One Tip to Break into Journalism What Would it Be?

No task is too small. As an Intern, even when I wasn’t being paid and spent half my day photocopying, running errands and making tea, I never once complained and I never once thought I was above it. Sadly those jobs are a ‘rite of passage’, everyone had to do them at some point and it’s important to remember that. If you have a bad attitude towards doing tasks like that it’ll become very obvious to those around you and you won’t get the most of your experience and, more to the point, you won’t learn anything or make any friends that could potentially help you get your first proper job.

Where Should People Look for Jobs?

Gorkana is probably the best for job listings but for first jobs Gumtree can hold some great opportunities too. As well as job sites I don’t think people should underestimate how much you can gain from contacting your favourite publications, newspapers, radio stations etc yourself. It shows initiative and you never know what they might have coming up that you’ll be privy to before anyone else.


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