Student Scores Internship with Seventeen Magazine

Posted: March 24, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryann Doyle

Senior graphic design major Allison Coates demonstrates that hard work and determination during a job search pay off. Last summer, Coates landed a highly competitive Seventeen magazine internship, and she did it by e-mailing her portfolio and résumé to every Seventeen employee working in the art department, hoping her work would catch an eye. Luckily, it caught them all.

Coates worked as an art intern in the photo and art department of Seventeen Magazine in New York City. The photo and art department is responsible for everything visual that goes on the cover and into the body of the magazine: layout, colors, fonts, images, photos, illustrations and designs.

Allison Coates at Seventeen Magazine
Allison Coates at Seventeen magazine’s offices in New York City.
Photo courtesy of Allison Coates

“I was sent to different locations to scout for photo shoots and even got to go on a few editorial shoots,” says Coates. “The whole process is this big operation, and it was really cool to see how everything comes together with the photographers, stylist and models.”

While on editorial shoots, most of her time was spent observing. Coates says that Seventeen interns were mostly responsible for things that could be fixed easily if not done right. “It was mostly about getting different experiences and learning from them,” explains Coates.

To land her internship with Seventeen, Coates was diligent and did a little detective work.

First, she went online and researched potential internships with multiple magazines. While researching Seventeen Magazine, she discovered that it was owned by the Hearst Corporation. She then figured out how the company structures its employees’ e-mail addresses.

Next, she went online to the Seventeen Magazine masthead and got the names of every person working in the art and photo department. She e-mailed each one her résumé and portfolio, which contained projects she had done when she worked as an intern for a fashion designer in New York the year before.

“It’s kind of funny, because everyone I e-mailed forwarded my résumé and portfolio to the same person, Creative Director Jess Musumeci. So Jess ended up with about 30 of the same e-mails in her inbox, all with my résumé and portfolio attached,” explains Coates.

“It is a little embarrassing, but it ended up working to my benefit because everyone in the department liked my work, and having the support of the art department helped me get the internship position.”

Coates moved to Manhattan after being chosen for the position. She says, “The whole process was a little terrifying.” She lived in a small section of a living room in the East Village with two other graphic designers who were attending Parsons School of Design. The internship was unpaid, so Coates had to provide for her own housing, food, transportation and essentials.

Her favorite part of the internship was learning directly from Musumeci.

“She is carefree and cool, but still professional. All the TV shows and movies make people like her out to be totally stressed and mean, but she isn’t that way at all. On my last day, she called me into her office and we talked for about an hour about my experience at Seventeen, and she told me to use her as a reference when finding a job after I graduate.”

While Coates is unsure about what she will do after she graduates in May, she is looking forward to the summer and hoping her experience at Seventeen will help her get a job in the future.

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