Entry Level 101 Skype w/ Chandra Turner Recap

Kelsey Roadruck, contributing writer for Ed at Indiana, recapped the meeting we had last Tuesday evening with founder and president of Ed2010, Chandra Turner.

Although it’s a humbling thought to imagine yourself landing your dream job straight out college, it’s a tad – just a tad – unrealistic. Edsters hyperbolic visions were brought down to an attainable level this week as they Skyped with IU Journalism alumna and founder of Ed2010, Chandra Turner. Turner tuned us all into what entry-level editor positions are really like, and how whippersnappers can get there.

“We all wanted to be editors by 2010,” so Ed2010 was born, folks. Straight off the graduation stage, Turner fled the Midwest and headed to New York where she began interning for “American Baby” as part of the ASME program. Her fellow ASME interns were just shy of age from Turner, so when they returned to school in the fall, Turner remained their core contact that was still based in NYC. After graduation in ‘98, the ASME clan reunited with a six-pack and departed once more with a buzz and a website – Ed2010.

Finding Internships and Jobs:

“90% of internships are posted by individual magazines rather than bigger programs, so that means you need to go out and look for them,” Turner said. Here’s the process Turner recommended:

  1. First, search for listings with “of course, Ed2010,” Turner said matter-of-factly and rightfully so.
  2. Next, filter your search for the internship or job that best suits your experience. If your resume is still hungry for its first bite of intern experience, then go for an unpaid position. Because of its obvious monetary differences, unpaid internships are much less competitive than those writing or editing for some kind of exchange other than in resume enhancements. Note: Programs, like ASME and Time Inc., offer internships and jobs as well.
  3. Then, apply in the fall for a spring start date to easily transition from Hoosier to employee right after graduation.

Tailoring Resumes and Cover Letters:

“I want to hire fans of my magazine and people who get my magazine,” Turner said. The tickets to our dream job or the trash bin; resumes and cover letters are essential and how to go about implementing them into your career search is “kind of a million dollar question, right?” Here are some do’s and don’ts as advised by Turner:

  • Do: Participate in the biannual Ed2010 resume workshop.
  • Don’t: Address your email to an editor with a vague “Dear Hiring Manager” introduction.
  • Do: Use names. See comment above.
  • Don’t: Talk about yourself. “It’s not about you,” Turner said. “It’s about who you’re talking to.”
  • Do: Research a magazine’s media kit. Then, interpret and rephrase the magazine’s mission statement “with authenticity of why you want to be part of that.”
  • Don’t: Drag out your cover letter. Utilizing an email’s body is sufficient. “I want to see the end of it [cover letter] when I open my email,” Turner said.

Connecting with an Interviewer:

“It very much is like a date, you know?” Turner laughed. Just like any other conversation, Turner highlighted adjusting appropriately to social cues and finding common ground as the essential elements of any interview. “Have some fun little anecdotes that you tell and retell about yourself and your experience,” Turner added after exemplifying the infamously monotonous, “So, do you consider yourself an organized person?” question. Responding to these standard interview inquiries with a story could make anyone stand apart from the rest of their competition.

Acing Edit Tests:

“You take my edit test class, and it’s only $13.99,” Turner lightheartedly advertised. (But seriously, Ed2010 has a ton of resources you all should be taking advantage of). As Turner explained, edit tests obviously make or break your applicability for an editor position and they come in an assortment of formats. Whether it’s a blog sample or a pitching process, Turner found some commonalities of any and all edit tests. “It’s writing; it’s editing; it’s being very careful; it’s being very organized,” Turner emphasized.

Finding Entry Level Positions as a Recent Grad:

“It’s always easier to find a job when you’re already in the industry,” Turner said as she advised seniors to graduate with an intern position ready for the summer. As an intern, a grad can still be gaining experience as they look for their first job, which will probably be a temp or freelance editorial assistant position. Turner described a temp or freelance EA as a new position available to graduates that will essentially provide the same experience as a full-time EA without benefits. Like moving up from unpaid to paid internships, this is simply another rung to climb after graduation.

Currently the Executive Editor at “Parents” magazine, Turner hasn’t stopped doing great things in the journalism industry. She’s a strong believer that all interns should be paid, and she’s making considerable efforts to influence others on the debate. More than 15 whippersnappers were pleased to have the opportunity to pick Turner’s brain. Our Skype call was unfortunately cut short due to typical Indiana weather, but we look forward to chatting with Turner again.