Q+A with Maryn Liles, Associate Editor at Parents Magazine

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.
Spring 2013Year 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.

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Emily Farra’s Top 7 Magazine Job Tips

Farra1512-2Emily Farra graduated from Indiana University in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Art History. She promptly moved to New York City to search for her dream magazine job. She started out interning in the fashion closet of Marie Claire, where she stayed for three weeks until Style.com contacted her about an opening for their Editorial Coordinator position. She has been at the Condé Nast fashion website ever since.

Here are Emily’s 7 Tips for Getting Started in Magazines:

1. Think outside the box.
Whether you’re looking for an internship or your first job, this industry can be a tough one to read (pun intended). You never know when your favorite newspaper or magazine is going to publish a job/internship posting, and even worse, they may not post anything at all. That’s because plenty of people are reaching out on their own. I applied to nearly 20 internships between January and March of my junior year, but I didn’t find most of them on Ed2010, Media Bistro, etc. I just figured out who to get in contact with at my favorite titles (it’s easier than you think – all of the major publishers have the same e-mail formats) and asked if they were looking for interns. They almost always were.

2. It isn’t about your resume.
Well, not entirely. This probably isn’t what you want to hear. Your experiences are definitely important – you need to have published work to get your first internship, then the next internship, then a job, etc. – but joining an editorial team is about more than what you’ve done on paper. Your interviewer wants to see what kind of person you are; can they tell you are hard-working? Passionate? Would you get along with the rest of the team? It’s extremely team-oriented and they want to see the real you. Focusing too much on your resume and not enough on your qualities (i.e. creativity, time management, working well under pressure, etc.) will make you seem one-dimensional. Be 3D.

3. Stay in touch.
To be honest, I couldn’t stand when people told me they key to success was “staying in touch” with former bosses, colleagues, etc. What does that even mean? I didn’t want to bug the editors, and I didn’t even know what to say. Basically, you want to keep it short and sweet – they probably don’t have time to weave through a long and contrived message. A few things you could write to a former boss: You loved a particular article they recently published; you’re definitely moving to [fill in the blank] and would love if they kept you in mind for openings; etc. In an intern seminar, a human resources director once told us “Don’t sent an e-mail saying, like, ‘Happy Halloween.'” You know the drill. Continue reading