Saturday, 29 July 2017

How to land a job in beauty journalism

I have to admit, I'm one of those smug people that loves their job. I'm actually excited to go into work every day (yup, even Mondays), and although I might need a little trip to Costa to give me a kick of energy before I start, I can firmly say that I enjoy what I do.

And that's why I'm on this career path. I don't want to go into work everyday dreading what's around the corner, or come home stressed AF just so that I can put food on the table. I work in beauty journalism because I love it and it makes me happy. I know it's not that easy for everyone, and I'm very lucky to live in a country where careers like journalism are accessible, but if you can find a job that brings you joy then I urge you to stick with it - it might not be the most lucrative but you never know where it may lead.

Now, I like to think that I'm a generous person, so I'm going to give you a few tips on how to land that beauty journalism job before you can say BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector. There are plenty of jobs in the journalism industry, so don't let anyone tell you that you won't make it - because you might! Before I graduated, some guy asked me what I wanted to be, and I said 'an Editor at a magazine'. He said, 'so does everyone'. That's stayed with me for the past few years, because he was implying that I was just like everyone else, so why should I have that job? Well, it's because I'm determined - and if you're determined, then you can definitely land your dream beauty journalism job. Which leads me to my first tip:

Be determined

It's unlikely that you'll just 'fall into' beauty journalism. In fact, you'll probably have to put in a lot of work before you even start applying for jobs. How do you get prepped? Think about starting a beauty blog; try writing about your favourite beauty products so that you build confidence in giving your opinions. Read a shit tonne of magazines and websites; Allure and Stylist are popular titles which cover a broad range of topics but have dedicated beauty tabs, whilst Professional Beauty is good for strengthening your industry insider knowledge and staying ahead of consumers. In this industry, knowledge is key.

You'll probably be asked at your interview, 'What's your favourite beauty brand?' or, 'Which brands do you think are up and coming right now?', which is why you need to constantly research the market. Look at social media for hints, and keep an eye on advertising campaigns in magazines, and on websites, TV and billboards.


Journalism isn't for everyone. I know some people who've interned at magazines, before getting a job in a field such as PR (they interlink, by the way, and many journalists often find themselves doing a little bit of PR over the course of their careers and vice versa), or something completely different. Interning is a good way to find out if this is the job for you, to see if you can put up with the work load, process and people. 

I interned for six months before I started in journalism. Unfortunately, it was unpaid, but it led to a job at the end of the term, which grew into a career.

When you're interning, make sure you're doing work that you would be doing if it were a full-time, permanent role. You're not there to get coffee or neaten up the beauty cupboard (ESPECIALLY IF IT'S UNPAID - but that's a whole different post). You're there to learn about the world of beauty journalism. If you feel like you're not learning anything, ask to shadow someone, or move to a different department.

Tip: Try not to intern somewhere like Vogue; it's nothing like the rest of the magazine world.

Work on your digital skills

SEO and social media are your two best friends. Get to know them, because they will be essential for your career. The publishing world is moving rapidly into digital media, and it's very unlikely that smaller print magazines will stick around for much longer (I've already worked at two which have since closed down). Learning these two skills will put you ahead of the game, and make you stand out from other journalists.

You can easily find tutorials for both these skills on YouTube, so get watching. When you're looking for tutorials on SEO, it's all about keywords. In terms of social media, just having a Twitter account isn't going to cut it. You need to know about analytics, engagement, demographics, niche hashtags, and lots, lots more.

Take a course

It's not essential, but having 'Course in Digital Writing' on your CV will definitely make you stand out from the crowd. I took a course in Features Writing whilst at my current job; I learned a lot about how to keep a reader engaged, and I can keep it on my CV. Try the Press Association - they have so many courses available for all areas of journalism. Some may be expensive, but it's up to you how much you want to invest in your career.

Be friendly AF

Being mean will get you nowhere in this industry. People remember you for being friendly, loyal and dependable. If a PR from, say, Dior Beauty met you and found out that you're rude, it causes a bad relationship between not just you and the PR, but the PR and the magazine, and also you and A LOT of other PRs. People talk, and you don't want them to be saying bad things about you, so be nice. 

However, try not to be fake. People can detect fakeness from a mile away. Basically if you're a rude, mean, grumpy person, prone to being fake just to get a leg up in your career, this industry isn't for you.

Which brings me to my last point...

It's 80% 'who you know'

Sure, you can probably get by with doing your research, nailing interviews and having a great work ethic, but in my opinion that can only get you so far. If you don't get into the world and meet people, you might find that it's harder to progress - because everyone knows someone, and that someone could be looking for a beauty journalist at a very well-known magazine.

For all you introverts screaming inside - it's not that hard. I'm very much an introverted person. When I first started out in journalism, meeting lots of new people really took it out of me and I'd have to take time out afterwards because my anxiety was so high. It takes me a while to come out of my shell, and I find it hard to 'let my hair down' around people I don't know. I'll never be the charming, charismatic girl that people instantly warm to. I know that. But it doesn't stop me from being nice, making quiet conversation, and hopefully leaving a good impression. 

Don't know anyone yet? Join groups on Facebook, participate in hashtags on Twitter, find forums, follow people, comment on people's blogs. The internet is a huge contact book - USE IT.

Tip: If you meet someone you like at a press event, party or conference, whip out your phone and ask for their Twitter/Instagram handle, then follow them then and there. It's the modern day exchanging of business cards, except unlike ten years ago, where your business card would most likely end up at the bottom of their desk draw, your follow will end up at the top of their notifications list and they'll hopefully follow you back. If you're really organised, put them in a Twitter list of journalists, then you'll know to regularly check the list and interact with people to keep your name fresh in their minds.




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