An internship experiencePosted: September 29, 2011
As we say goodbye to Jocelyn Weale, gradireland’s editorial intern, she reflects on what she has learned from her placement.
In publishing – as in many other competitive sectors – getting that foot in the door feels a bit like finding a golden ticket. Collecting relevant experience is the only way to build up a career. Having recently returned from a year out in Berlin teaching English to hyperactive young children, I was unsure of what to expect from my first formal editorial experience. The classroom and the office are worlds apart, and that alone was going to take some getting used to.
As it turns out, during my time here at gradireland I’ve had the opportunity not just to learn and develop industry skills, but also a fantastic chance to observe the whirring cogs of a publishing house on a daily basis. Looking back on my first day, there was a heck of a lot to take in; I was surrounded by professionals with years of publishing experience, and it really drove home the fact that I was at the bottom of the ladder with a long way to go. But over the past few weeks I’ve come to realise that that isn’t quite true. By undertaking an internship you are still making progress.
My experience has been about a lot more than mastering industry jargon: I have gained an understanding of the role each person performs in a publishing team, and better still seen how group dynamics play out in the professional environment. Each day I’ve learned something new: whether that be how to mark up copy for designers, how to commission articles, or how a website works behind the scenes. The key is to be willing to learn and not be afraid to ask questions or even take the initiative to make suggestions. After all, everyone has to start somewhere.
Internships also provide the opportunity to network: I’ve found it extremely useful to listen to colleagues’ stories of how they got ahead in publishing, and I’ll definitely be putting their tips into practice when applying for jobs. Times are difficult economically speaking, but it doesn’t mean the opportunities aren’t out there. I aim to be proactive in gathering any relevant experience and translate everything I’ve learned at gradireland into my CV and applications. After two months I’m by no means a high-flying editor, but thanks to my time spent in editorial the next step is a little less hazy.