I just got back from New York City on Sunday and I’m already dying to go back. I went with an organization called Magazine Interest Group within the journalism college at OU. There were 17 of us – all girls – including our advisor and yes, we all managed to stick together (pretty impressive if you ask me).
We visited six different magazines in the city including Departures (my favorite), Real Simple, Brides, Lucky (second fav), Harpers Bazaar, and Sports Illustrated. We met with editors and other staff members to ask questions about the publication, advice on how to get into the industry, etc.
It was an absolutely incredible experience and I’m determined to live there for a least a year or two at some point in my life – hopefully sooner than later.
On to what I learned. Number 1: New York City does not know what queso is. If you’re expecting to find queso like what you order in Texas and Oklahoma, you will be very disappointed. Most places (even Mexican restaurants) don’t have it as a menu item and if they do, I must warn you – it’s going to be nacho cheese. Gross.
Number 2: Everyone says it’s expensive to live in NYC, but seriously, it’s cray. The former president of our group landed a job at Lucky up there and she lives in the East Village with three other girls. Her share alone is $1500. Wrap your mind around that. And that’s just living, you still have to consider all your other living expenses.
Number 3: They do NOT split checks in the city. I had to use my math skills (which are minimal for journalism majors) while in the city to figure out what everyone owed when we ate out in large groups. It’s not easy and took us about a good 15-30 minutes each time because you have to calculate tax, tip and then what everyone owed individually. It was a task so be prepared for that.
Number 4: Freelancing is popular. The publishing industry does not readily have job opening after job opening, but freelancing is an easier possibility. It gives you more freedom as well. For example, I thought if I do decide to move up to NYC post-grad, I could get a temporary job, an internship or a freelancing job and work in a restaurant kitchen during my off time to gain real-world experience in both the publishing and culinary industries.
Number 5: Walk and take the subway almost always. I’m pretty sure I lost weight on the trip because we walked so much (and we didn’t have time to eat a couple days). The subway may seem intimidating at first, but one of my friends and I were on our own on Saturday and we got the hang of it pretty easily. Cabs can add up unless you share them, which I absolutely advise. They can come in handy for nights out, though. I don’t think you’d want to take the subway at 3 a.m.
Number 6: Getting a job in publishing is all about who you know, not what you know (except maybe your experience). Networking is key. Stay on top of your social media and keep it professional. Try to be connected on all outlets, especially Twitter and LinkedIn. Your potential employer will stalk your social media.
Number 7: Know the industry. If you want to work at a fashion magazine, make sure you know all about the brand of the magazine and the current events within fashion. Know names and who works at that particular publication or company that you’re interested in. Show that interest and be able to have confidence when talking about the magazine.
Number 8: If you’re wanting to land a job in the city, be prepared to either fly up there if you get called back for an interview or permanently make the move into the city. It will give you an advantage if you are living there and can meet in person. Even if they offer a phone interview, meeting in person is so much better.
Number 9: See the city! I finally got to visit Chelsea Market and see Central Park and the Upper East Side. I was in heaven. It’s an incredible city and I would always make time for a little sightseeing, no matter how long you will or won’t be there.
Hopefully the next time I’m writing about NYC, I’ll be living there! Until then, xoxo, you know you love me (seemed appropriate).