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.