Working for a magazine in NYC – here’s what it’s like.
Working for a magazine is definitely on the list of New York City dream jobs. Whether it’s a news publication like TIME or a fashion magazine like Vogue or Elle, there’s a lot of hype surrounding this type of gig. And ever since The Devil Wears Prada came out, folks make a lot of assumptions about what it’s really like working for a magazine in NYC.
I have been the national marketing director for the world’s top bridal publication (one of my many “day jobs”), and it’s interesting to see what this seemingly glamorous occupation is really like. If you’re considering a career at a magazine – or if you simply want an inside glimpse – here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Internships are the easiest way in.
I’ve never worked as an intern, but it’s one of the easiest ways to get your foot in the door. Many publications have a smaller team than one might assume, so job positions are not always readily available.
It’s a prestige job – aka the pay probably isn’t great.
It’s fabulous if you land a job at Vogue, but don’t assume you’ll be buying designer labels anytime soon. And if you’re a writer, keep in mind that many of the writers you see in the most iconic publications are typing away for free. Even a fashion editor – not to be confused with an assistant fashion editor – is a position that can take years to achieve, and the average salary is around $56K.
The job title itself sounds pretty fancy though, right? Even I get a little giddy whenever my friends, from Hawaii to London, see a copy of my magazine on the newsstand and take a picture of my name printed in the masthead.
The business side may be your best bet.
The top-paying jobs at magazines are usually those in finance and accounting. Sales and marketing are also great areas, because they’re often commission positions with no earnings ceiling – so basically, you can potentially make six figures. Many magazines also allow their marketing and sales reps to work remotely from home like I do. Keep in mind, however, you’ll need to be incredibly self-motivated and work even harder when communicating with your team and corporate office.
Your brain needs to be a Rolodex.
Think about it. A magazine is a go-to medium for information in a certain field. So if you’re working for one, you need to be up-to-date on any related current events – and, even more importantly, you must know the who’s who in your industry. That usually means logging hours of unpaid, independent research.
When I first started out, I didn’t know a thing about the bridal world. But now, after copious amounts of reading and taking notes, I can name the top vendors in almost any state or country, their key clients, and signature aesthetics.
Not all editors-in-chief are like Miranda Priestly.
There may be some truth to how The Devil Wears Prada depicted the boss of a fashion magazine, but trust me – they’re not all like that. My editor-in-chief may look chic and luxurious, but she’s also hilarious and down-to-earth. Even when I worked for a designer in London, two of our clients were the editors of the UK and French editions of Vogue. And they were lovely.
The perks are real.
Even though a magazine job can be arduous and you won’t become a millionaire, there are fringe benefits that come with the territory (depending on your publication). My job perks have included VIP parties at places like the Rainbow Room, free concerts to scout new entertainment talent, overnight stays at luxury hotels, and bottles of champagne sent from my editor. I was even invited for a complimentary weeklong stay at a resort in Bali.
When I factor all of that in, I’d say the opportunities, connections, and experiences that come with working for a magazine make it a job worth having. Have you ever worked for a magazine in NYC?