How to Get an Internship at TIME

Hello, my name is Zachary Cohen, and I am thrilled to begin working at TIME Magazine on Tuesday. It’s been a bit of a scramble to get everything in order, but I’m excited to get started. But before I tell you much more about my internship, I should tell you everything that’s happened before and what I learned from just the preparation.

I first heard about the opportunity from my cousin, Dan Schnur, who knew the Washington Bureau Chief, Michael Duffy, from Dan’s time working in politics. Dan had been trying to get me in touch with his friends in journalism, and Duffy had mentioned he had a spot open in the Washington Bureau. After discussions with my parents, I scheduled an interview, confirmed I had the position, found a room to sublet from a friend, and started preparing for what I’m hoping will be an amazing summer.

However, I was not given the internship as a favor. I got the opportunity to work at TIME because of the interview. So the first lesson I learned in this process: connections are great, and they’ll get you the interview. But that interview will make or break you. So when you go into that interview, arrive early, bring all of the necessary materials, including your resume, even if you’ve sent it to them already (journalist students, bring your clips!).

Finding housing in DC can be a little difficult, but not if you know who to talk to. My first step was to talk to all of my friends, and I just asked them if they knew of any sublets. It’s a great way to get temporary housing, and there are more listings than you could ever need in DC of students leaving over the summer. They don’t want to pay rent in a place they’re not using for a few months, so they need people like me who are going to need some temporary housing. I definitely recommend subletting from a friend. Very easy, and there’s more trust than what you get with somebody you might find on Craigslist or a student listserv.

A quick word about e-mails. It’s a tough judgment call to use your personalized e-mail rather than your student e-mail when talking to your potential employer. Sometimes it helps to establish that you are from your school with an alum or somebody who knows they are expecting a message from a student. In those cases, you should use your school e-mail to help particularly busy people separate your email from the rest of their chock-full inbox. However, if you have an e-mail address that isn’t utterly embarrassing, it may be better to use that. Students have to fight a lot of stereotypes of being inexperienced, immature, or unprofessional. Therefore, a non-school e-mail emotes independence, and it’s better than constantly reminding employers that you’re “only” a student.

(Side-note to American University students in particular: AU’s e-mails, I find, get sweeped into spam folders a lot, probably because they look a little robotic. For example. Mine is zc0209a@american.edu, which bears little resemblance to my actual name. However, zach.cohen@verizon.net seems a lot more comprehensible.)

That being said, no matter what you do in your internship or job, you have to be as professional as possible. Double check every email for every word choice, and never send an e-mail without checking for grammatical errors. Be cordial and respectful, and don’t guess about anything. Know what you’re talking about and leave nothing to chance. But at the same time, stand up for yourself if you’re being disrespected. An internship shouldn’t be an exercise in slave labor.

I am planning on creating an International Journalism major at AU, and working at TIME Magazine is like a dream come true. I’m so excited to get started!

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