Day 249: A Beginner’s Guide to Interning…

Hello, hello, hello!

It has been far too long since we last spoke. All sorts of wonderful things have happened. I have graduated and am now contemplating changing my title to The Clever Asparagus BA (Hons) – I joke!

Since leaving university, my days have consisted of commuting to London each day in an attempt to become the next Anna Wintour… it hasn’t quite happened yet, but I’m working on it.


My intentions were to give you a weekly update of the work experience and internships that I have been doing. However, having just completed internship no.3, I have far too much to relay and the last thing I want to do is bore you.

Somewhere along the line, I signed a confidentiality agreement, so legally I can’t divulge all the juicy gossip anyway. Hmm… am I working for magazines or MI5?

A Beginner’s Guide to Nando’s was quite a success, so I have compiled A Beginner’s Guide to Interning, with ten top tips. Some of this may seem really obvious, but it’s shocking the simple mistakes you hear about. Even if you aren’t looking to intern, this guide applies to many jobs…

1) You will probably be asked to make tea. Deal with it. If you aren’t asked, offer anyway. This is your opportunity to communicate with the whole team. It’s amazing how much a cup of Earl Grey can brighten someone’s day.

2) If you are affectionately known as the ‘coffee b*tch’, be the best darn ‘coffee b*tch’ the company have ever had. Take on the persona of Father Ted’s Mrs. Doyle – consider using an Irish accent if it helps.

3) Sent on errands that involve money? Always get a receipt – granted this might not be so easy if you’ve been sent out for illicit substances.                                           Disclaimer: I have only ever been asked to buy food, cigarettes and lattes!

4) If you don’t have a brilliant memory, write everything down. A request might not seem important at the time, but you may be taken up on it later on. It’s more efficient to look back at your notes than to continually pester your employers.

5) So, you didn’t write something down. You’re not quite sure what to do. Do ask. Asking is better than getting it completely wrong.

6) Keep it professional. Of course you should engage with the people around you. However, never give too many details about your personal life. You’re not on the payroll yet – your boss doesn’t need to hear about your sexual history or drunken antics – regardless of how hilarious you think your tales are.

7) This is the most obvious, the one you hear all the time: Be punctual!! Of course there will be days when your train is late. However, being late every day translates as unreliable. Unreliable equals unemployable.

8) Explore! If you’re in a beautiful city, like London, make the most of your breaks and take a look around. Just remember to come back on time.

9) Consider taking a packed lunch. As an intern, your pay will be low – that’s if you’re getting paid at all. Lunching at Pret every day starts to add up.

10) Stick it out and enjoy it. Interning is such a great opportunity to figure out what you want to do. Even if you hate your placement, don’t quit. The contacts you meet and the references you walk away with will come in really handy one day.

The Silly Asparagus is not claiming to be an expert, but following these tips should prevent you from making any major mistakes.

Some of you reading this will completely disagree with the internship system. But it’s unlikely to change anytime soon, so make the best of it. A majority of journalists will have been an intern at some point in their career. For every job you refuse to do, there are plenty of others willing to snap up the opportunity.

If you have any questions regarding interning at all, please leave me a comment below or drop me an email at: thesillyasparagus@live.co.uk. I’ll do my best to help.

On Wednesday, I begin a very exciting internship with cosmopolitan.co.uk. I cannot wait to get started. Wish me luck!

Talk to you soon.

Remember to send me your questions and I will feature them on here.

With Love,

The Silly Asparagus. x

#ELLEintern2012

Hello lovelies.

Firstly, sorry to those of you who follow my blog for veggie-related business. For at least the next week or so, my blog is likely to be dedicated to the ELLE intern competition.

My original post can be found here, please take a look:

https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/elle-internship-2012/

I do my best to avoid clichés, but to intern for a magazine as prestigious as ELLE would be an opportunity of a lifetime. Who knows what it could lead to in the future. When friends came for tea when I was younger, I would often sit them at the table with my felt-tip pens and make them contribute to my ‘magazines’ — pages and pages of white A4 paper, folded in half, full of my own garish designs. I soon realised from my badly drawn models that I was not going to be the next Karl Lagerfeld. Fortunately, I appeared to have better capabilities with words. I am one of those extremely annoying people who like to correct poor spellings made by others. If there is a typo in a newspaper, I enjoy hunting it down and pointing it out. That alone should make me Editor material!

I guess that’s enough of my life story for one day. I hope you like my application — I feel I have made perfect choices (read my application to find out what I mean: http://www.elleuk.com/internship-2012/celebrity-editor/(offset)/20). Please vote, it takes less than a minute and you don’t need to provide an email address or anything.

I am extremely grateful for the support so far, but please keep going!

Thank-You.

With love and kindest regards,

The Silly Asparagus.

ELLE Internship 2012

Hello darling.

I hope you have had a regal Jubilee weekend. I spent mine at a Coldplay concert and eating too much chocolate, at Cadbury’s World (I’ll blog about both soon). The focus of today’s post is ELLE magazine.

ELLE has recently begun their ‘Edited by the Interns’ project. ELLE want interns to be at the helm of their October issue and are offering ten positions: The Editor, News Editor (online), Fashion Photographer, Beauty Editor, Celebrity Editor, Art Editor, Features Editor, Make-Up Artist, Hair Stylist, Fashion Editor.

The second I saw this competition, I wanted to get involved. This is such a great opportunity. I have applied for the position of Celebrity Editor, as I feel my experience as a Casting Assistant has acquired me with skills that are perfect for the role. There is still time to apply for further positions, but I am more than happy with my choice.

If you know me, you will already know how much being an intern at ELLE would mean to me. From Lorraine Candy to Anne-Marie Curtis, to Stacey Duguid (please bring back ‘I Am Mademoiselle’) and Alice Wignall, the ELLE team is full of women (and men) I admire and who inspire me. I have been buying the magazine since I was 16 and I know it inside out.

As far as I am aware, voting is not based on the social media popularity of an application. However, receiving support can’t be a bad thing. Voting doesn’t seem to be working properly at the moment, but please keep trying. Here is my application (look for Collette Naden):

http://www.elleuk.com/internship-2012/celebrity-editor/(offset)/20

If you have Facebook, please like it. If you have Twitter then hit that Tweet button. Google+ it, send it to others. Thanks.

The task is to pick three cover star options for the October issue. I did not opt for my favourite celebrities, but women who suit ELLE and who would be relevant to the October issue. If I want to get competitive, I feel my application already stands out against some of the others. Some candidates have chosen cover stars who have already appeared, only a few issues ago. I also took into consideration who has recently starred in ELLE’s rival magazines. ELLE are leaders in what they do, they do not need or want to reproduce what their competitors have done.

There has been some negative response to the competition. Some people simply hear the word ‘intern’ and turn into the Incredible Hulk, getting irate about pay and worker’s rights. If you are not prepared to start at the bottom, I do not think you belong at the top. In fashion, interning is part of the industry. I understand that it is difficult to work for little or no money, but if you want in then you have to find a way. ELLE do pay their interns, but even if they didn’t, I would still find a way to support myself so that I would be able to do such a valuable internship.

I am lucky, because I am yet to have a bad experience as an intern. I have heard some horror stories, but so far I am unscathed. The ‘dreaded’ coffee run is not a bad experience. They enable you to talk to the team and you are providing them with the fuel they need to work. It is not just interns who get the drinks. I was once offered coffee from Kate Phelan, a woman I also admire. For those of you not interested in fashion, Kate Phelan is the Creative Director at Topshop, having previously been Fashion Director at British Vogue. Kate Phelan is an extremely influential woman. Even though she was surrounded by interns, Kate got the coffee. If she is happy to do it, so am I. If you don’t think you need to intern, that’s fine — it’s just less competition for me.

I have gone on enough today. Please do support my application. In a future post, I will write a Celebrity Special on vegetarian stars.

Keep your carrots crossed and wish me luck!

Thanks.

Best Wishes,

The Silly Asparagus