We know many of you come here just for the wedding goodness, and we love that! Feel free to skip right over this post if that’s you :)
However, we also know that others of you come because you love what we do, and maybe even hope that you could do something similar one day. I know, I’ve been there! We have a group of magazine journalism students from UNC visiting our offices today, and we thought it would be great time to share some of our best job tips with a wider audience than we can invite into our space. We hope this helps a bit! Feel free to leave questions or additional tips in the comments!
1. Know the company to which you’re applying. Be over prepared. Depending on the company you’re interested in working for, this can be harder, or easier! Here at SW (and at most wedding businesses), we make it quite easy for you. You can find out all our names, you can see some of our likes and dislikes, you can read our FAQ section, and you can get to know us, our company, and what we believe in every day through our blog posts, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.
The more you know about a company, the more aware you’ll be of what they need, and the more ready you’ll be to show them what an asset you could be. For example, before my first interview with Southern Weddings, I went through V1 line by line marking up the entire copy with thoughts, ideas, things I loved, and things I hoped to help improve. Overkill? Possibly, but I wanted to be ready for anything!
In this same vein, if you’re lucky enough to get an interview at whatever company you’re interested in, ALWAYS have questions ready for the interviewer! It shows that you’re interested in the opportunity, and that you’ve thought critically about the company and what they do. This is often the make or break portion of an interview for me!
From our last visit to a CAFME (Carolina Association of Future Magazine Editors) meeting!
2. Know the industry inside and out. SW is a small company, and there’s not as much time to get a new employee up to speed as there might be at a larger company. We have the luxury of choosing from many talented candidates, and odds are, 9 times out of 10 we’ll go for the one that truly LOVES weddings simply can’t get enough of them. The type of person who thinks about and talks about weddings even after the work day is done. If you’re interested in a job in the wedding industry, I’d suggest becoming familiar with all of the major magazines, and reading a number of wedding blogs and developing an opinion on all of it. A personal perspective is something we definitely look for at SW!
Soaking things up from the outside is awesome, but hands-on experience is by far the best thing you can do for your resume and job prospects. Take on as many meaningful internships as you possibly can, and learn everything you possibly can from them! Make as many contacts as you can, too, and don’t leave them behind once your internship is over. You’ll never know who you might meet, or who might be hiring (or who knows someone who is hiring) down the road.
3. Remember that details MATTER. Spell our names correctly. Spell everything correctly. Punctuate your sentences correctly. If you’re not taking the time to spell check an email as important as this one, why would I assume you’d spell check any other email as an employee? Most importantly, be sure to use “wedding words” correctly, like stationery v. stationary and aisle v. isle. Yikes!
4. Be aware that we look at everything. You may have only sent us your resume and a cover letter, but if we’re seriously considering you for a position, we will evaluate everything we can get our hands on: Twitter account, Pinterest profile, personal blog, etc. These extensions can be an asset to you (your Pinterest boards can show us what great style you have, your personal blog can show us your writing skills and grasp of current trends), or they can cross you right off our list (yucky language or unprofessional posts on Twitter, a blog that reflects a lack of familiarity with the wedding world).
Nicole and me in the office last week!
5. Keep in mind that the traditional rules don’t always apply. This is where it gets tricky, and where I think there’s a very fine line to getting it right. For a company like SW, which does not have a corporate environment and is a very personal brand, we like to see who you are in your application, because who you are determines, in part, who we as a company will be. When we issue our call for interns, we invite you to be conversational and creative in your application. Don’t, however, fall into the trap of thinking we’re looking to hire a new best friend… which leads to my next point:
6. Be careful if you’re a superfan. I can’t tell you the number of emails I get from gals who LOVE, LOVE, L-O-V-E Southern Weddings, or weddings in general. Obviously, I understand! I was (and still am!) one of you! The truth is, though, I’ll be able to tell very quickly if you’re really a superfan, or if you’re just saying you are because you want the job, but really you’re telling that to every publication :) One easy way for me to tell? Whether or not your name is already familiar to me when your resume lands in my inbox. True superfans have been commenting on the blog and interacting with us via social media for months, if not years! So if you really are a superfan, awesome! If you’re a fan, but maybe not a superfan, that’s okay, too! There are many other assets we look for in potential employees, and we’d always prefer you be honest about who you are and what you bring to the table.
Of course, authentic face time is always helpful, which superfans thrive on! We actually met Kristin for the first time at last year’s gingerbread barn event (which we’re repeating this year, FYI look for details soon!), and though there were MANY other reasons that contributed to her eventual hire, us having met and loved her in person did give her a leg up!
7. Get really good at emailing. Finally, if there’s one tip I could pass on not only for the job search but for life after the job search, it would be to get really good at emailing. My job is 90% emailing. Though the SW ladies all have widely varying skill sets, I would say one thing that unites us is our ability to craft a good email: personal and friendly while still being professional, tuned to our audience and our relationship with the addressee, and striking the right tone through grammar, word choice, and the perfect sprinkling of exclamation points (something Marissa is still working on – ha!). Emails MATTER, especially when they are the way you communicate with 95% of your relationships. It pays to get good at them!
We so hope this was helpful! Keep in mind this is simply our perspective, and that the “rules” vary widely from company to company and industry to industry! If you have additional questions or tips, feel free to leave them in the comments. Because I know someone will ask, yes, we do gladly offer internships to current college students: generally 1-2 interns in the spring and fall, and one intern in the summer. If you’re looking for other opportunities, I would highly recommend FindaWeddingJob.com, a job board geared specifically to the wedding industry.
Wow! I cannot tell you how many times I have looked at your site and thought to myself, “Man, I would really love to know how to get started in the wedding world.” Thank you so much for your kind words of wisdom. It is much appreciated! :) Looking forward to ordering my first magazine from y’all someday soon. Have a great day!
I am so very glad to hear that, Kelsey!!
It was so great getting to know more about SW today! Thanks so much for the tips and it was great to see y’all again!
Thank you so much for all of this wonderful advice, Emily! I’m a magazine journalism major graduating in May, so I know I’ll refer to this post often in my upcoming job search!
What an excellent post, lots of great things said very well. Per your usual, Em! xo
I think it’s comical that you say every detail matters, when you can’t even number the article properly.
Ha! Thank you for pointing that out, Kathryn! Good thing we’re already hired :)
Great tips, Em! What a helpful post and must-read for people looking into landing a wedding industry gig :)
Thank you so much for this article! I’ve read a lot of different advice on breaking into the wedding industry, but I loved that you included how important it is to be able to write a good email – most don’t know how. I also liked that you touched on getting to know the personality and culture of the company which I can often overlook. Great article!
This is insightful! Thanks much for taking the time to put this together. Now I’m going to get my stationery and write a letter… LOL got you there. Thanks again!
Thank you for these wonderful tips and for the job board resource. As a college student who is extremely excited and preparing to enter the wedding industry, these were some very helpful hints! I really appreciate it! Also, to Marissa – I have trouble limiting my exclamation points as well. :) Thanks for the great advice, y’all!
Over a year later, this post is still extremely helpful. I am a senior in college and am eager to obtain a career in this industry that I love so much. I love your tips and can’t wait to put them to use as I continue to apply for dream jobs this semester. Thank you! :)
I’ve read this article countless times over the past two years of college and always find myself coming back for a refresher when I need a little motivation. Thanks so much for the advice and for always inspiring me to dream big dreams about a career in the wedding industry!
I loved this post so much. Being a college student who is about to graduate next December, it’s always great to read from current professionals in the wedding business how they made it. Thank you! Also I was wondering, when does SW start looking for intern for the spring?
Hi Chelsea! We generally start looking for our spring intern in November!
I just wanted to say that I really appreciated this post. I am finishing up my college degree and have begun the (often dreaded) job hunt. I have wanted to work in the wedding industry for as long as I can remember and its nice to have a professional’s point of view rather than jumping in blindly and hoping for the best. I would love to be able to get involved with Southern Weddings, but is there a source for wedding related job listings as well in case you are not currently hiring? Again, thank you for the insight!
Hi! I just wanted to let you know that FindaWeddingJob.com isn’t a website anymore (I think) because when I tried to click on it, the website wasn’t there. Just thought I would let you know since I am sure there are dozens of other girls out there, like me, who really want to work in the wedding industry, but can’t figure out the best place to look.
Thanks for this blog post though, it was incredibly helpful and I hope that one day I can start a career in weddings that brings me as much joy as yours has brought you!
I am in the process of applying for your summer internship. I was wondering if you had any tips on what to submit for the writing sample if we do not have a blog. Are you expecting it to be wedding related? Is it okay if I am not a journalism or English major?
Hi Julianna! The writing sample doesn’t have to be wedding-related, and you don’t have to be an English/journalism major–we just want to get a feel for your writing abilities :) Feel free to send in a favorite essay or paper, or anything you’ve written that you feel demonstrates your writing voice!
Thank you for the advice!
I love this post! I think this is helpful information for any job applicant!
I absolutely love this post! It was so helpful, especially for a superfan like me who has always dreamed to work for you all! I am a graphic design major at the University of Florida and have been obsessed with you all for years! Hope to apply to the summer internship this year and hopefully apply to get a job with Southern Weddings in the future!
Thanks for all the recommendations! They’re so helpful! I’m so disappointed I didn’t know about SW when I was a UNC undergrad.
I loved this post!! I’m extremely interested in a job in the wedding magazine industry (and just started looking into future intrenships, etc.), so this post helped a lot. Thank you for the tips :)