Emma Kumer is a sophomore in Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.
Describe your summer internship.
This summer I was fortunate enough to work for Taste of Home Magazine, America’s #1 Cooking Magazine and an affiliate of Trusted Media Brands, Inc. (although you might know them as the Reader’s Digest Association!). My official title was “Digital Editorial Intern,” so I worked mainly for the website staff on Tasteofhome.com. In a typical day, I researched and wrote roughly two food-related articles, prepared past content for social media, and curated small graphics for stories using Illustrator. Oh, and how could I forget? We also had two optional taste-testings each day!
How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?
I actually stumbled on this job on Indeed.com. Working at a magazine has been my dream since I published Emma’s Word in elementary school, so knowing there was an open slot only 20 minutes from my house seemed ideal.
What did you enjoy most about the experience?
This was the first time in my life when I received immediate anonymous feedback on my writing. At first, it was depressing to read the hateful comments and see the glaring Facebook dislikes on my stories from people who didn’t even know me. Soon, though, I realized that for every furious commenter were probably a few quiet admirers who looked at my stories and learned something new about the food industry. A few times I even received gifts from companies who wanted me to review their products. Putting your work on a public platform is scary, but there are unexpected benefits.
What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?
When you run out of things to do, don’t ask for more work. Find it yourself. I think I annoyed my bosses in the first couple weeks when I constantly asked for more article assignments. Eventually, I learned that they really appreciated when I suggested my own ideas instead of waiting for them to come up with some. This worked in our favor when I wrote and published a piece about Teavana closing before our biggest competitor, Delish.com!
Oh, and when you work at a food magazine? Eat a big breakfast because every single thing you write about will make you hungry!
What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?
Don’t let the job requirements scare you if you think you have the necessary skills for a job. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or your major is not exactly what they asked for—no job is going to be perfect. Taste of Home was looking for an intern who was at least a junior in college. At the time when I applied, I was a freshman. If you can fill out 80 percent of the application’s requirements, you can prove that you’re worth that missing 20 percent.