Interning at Cosmo = Instant Success? I Don’t Think So

During my junior year of college, while studying abroad in Sydney, Australia, I landed an internship at Cosmopolitan magazine.

After six months of getting editors coffee, reorganizing the beauty closet, and transcribing celebrity interviews, I was convinced that I was destined to not only work for one of the top women’s magazines but that, the minute I once again stepped foot in the U.S., it would be an absolute piece of cake to land an internship at Cosmo or any major magazine.

It wasn’t. As soon as I got back in the spring, I sent my resume and cover letter to almost every editor at every major women’s fashion and lifestyle glossy. Some never even responded. Others emailed me back saying that my credentials were great but they had already selected their summer interns. Still, other editors did call and interview me and I was offered a few positions, but there were only for openings that were three days a week unpaid. In New York.

I don’t think so.

With no viable opportunities for me in New York, the magazine publishing capital of the U.S., I went back home to Chicago. Ironically, there I was offered a three-day-a-week unpaid internship as well, but since I was living at home my parents had no problem funding my social life for an entire three months.

I was an editorial intern at an obscure real estate magazine based out of a loft in Chicago’s trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood. The entire staff consisted of ten socially awkward, artistic types. My boss was a low talker. He spoke in a very meek, passive way as if he simply wasn’t capable of saying anything above whisper without mumbling.

Nothing about this internship was anything like my days at Cosmo. In a certain way the work was better, I got to actually write articles that were published. Yet the environment was so laid back and my coworkers were so off the beaten track that I felt uncomfortable, something I had never felt at Cosmo, despite being constantly surrounded by intelligent, flawlessly chic ladies.

I missed the somewhat corporate, always busy feel of working at a major publication. So, during the two days a week when I wasn’t working the real estate grind, I made it my mission to find a truly awesome internship for the following summer (after graduation) at a magazine in New York.

I did manage to land a highly coveted internship that next summer. At an advertising agency. In Chicago. Alright, so I missed the mark at landing at a magazine in New York, but I just couldn’t pass up the chance to work for a Super Bowl commercial producing powerhouse.

Other than not being a magazine and not in New York, the advertising agency provided me with the work environment that I had craved the summer before. I will admit that there were times when I caught myself reminiscing about the carefree days at the magazine where I never worked more than three days a week and never left after 5pm. Yet, all in all, I really liked it (except for the fact that my new boss at the agency was definitely not as nice or as easy to deal with as my old low talking boss at the magazine).

After my internship at the advertising agency in Chicago, I landed a job at another major advertising agency, which just so happens to be in New York. For now, I really enjoy what I do. Will I ever pursue a job a major magazine ever again? Who knows, but I will always treasure my memories of working at Cosmo.

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