Maryn Liles is an IU alum who currently works in the magazine industry in New York City. She was kind enough to speak with Ed at Indiana and spill some of her best tips for breaking into the biz.
Year graduated from IU
: December 2010
Major in college: Legal Studies in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Current job title: Associate Editor at Parents
Ed: You didn’t plan on going into the magazine industry while you were in college. What made you want to take the leap into the biz?
ML: I’ve always loved editing. I think of it as a puzzle that you can inject your own style and personality into as you tweak it until it reads just right. As I was finishing my public affairs degree, I realized that I would miss the sense of fulfillment I got from whipping a story into shape—something I had been doing regularly throughout college as a writing tutor at IU’s Writing Tutorial Services. So despite my lack of an educational background in the field, I took the plunge and applied to dozens of magazine internship programs in New York City.
Ed: What career path did you take after moving to NYC that led you to your current gig?
ML: Right after graduation, I was lucky enough to land a gig as a fashion intern at Town & Country for the spring of 2011. A month later, I joined SHAPE as their special features intern and split my time between the two mags. My mentor at SHAPE, Claire Connors, connected me with Chandra Turner, founder of Ed2010 and Executive Editor at Parents. I interviewed for a temp job as an Editorial Assistant, which turned into a full-time position two months later. Now, two years later, I’ve been promoted to my current position as an Associate Editor at Parents.
Ed: What’s the best piece of advice about the job/internship search that you’ve ever been given?
ML: Be where the opportunities are. I hate to say it, because moving is such a big financial commitment, but you’ll up your chances of landing a full-time job by staying close to where the action is. For me, this meant moving to New York City. Get an internship and try to stay involved. It might take longer than you’d like to land that first full-time, but something will pop up eventually.
Ed: What are a few of your favorite things about your job, and about the magazine industry?
ML: I love how magazines are evolving in today’s digital age to be multi-platform brands that are available in print, on the web, on tablet and more. They’re even making waves in the social media scene. One of my favorite parts of my job is exploring the many ways a story can become a part of our reader’s conversation—in real time. I find it especially exciting to give give a story “legs” beyond the page by promoting a story on Pinterest or proposing bonus tablet-exclusive content.
Ed: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with you fellow Hoosiers who are thinking about working in the magazine industry?
ML: Seek out a job as a writing peer tutor with IU’s Writing Tutorial Services program. I use the skills I learned through this program every single day in my job. It’s a great way to develop your editorial eye while earning some extra cash on the side. That’s a win-win in my book!