ABBY ALDERMAN ’11
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a magazine editor. I read every magazine I could get my hands on, savoring the letters from the editor while imagining myself sitting behind the pristine desk in the impeccably decorated Manhattan office. Spurred on by dozens of chick-flicks that starred polished, intelligent and game-changing editors, I solidified my goal and went about making it happen.
What I should have learned from the movies is that things don’t always turn out exactly as you planned. And better yet, what actually happens is often times far better than what you had envisioned.
I currently work in the publishing industry, but I’ve found a role that has turned out to be far better suited for my strengths and interests, and incorporates many of the things I learned as a student at Trinity. I work in the corporate communications department of Hearst Corporation, the parent company of magazines such as Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar, where I am involved in everything from editing the daily newsletter that is distributed to 20,000 employees worldwide, to managing our social media outlets, writing press releases and planning/executing events.
Much of what I learned at Trinity helped me to develop the skills I needed to not only get hired, but to succeed in my career. The Tripod played a large part in my ability to conduct interviews efficiently and write compellingly, which is a large part of my role at Hearst. One of the best parts of my job is working on weekly feature stories for the newsletter, for which I’ve conducted Q&As with Hearst executives, including Cosmopolitan Editor in Chief Joanna Coles, Marie Claire Editor in Chief Ann Fulenwider and Mark Burnett, the producer of shows like Survivor and The Voice.
Having been involved with a sports team and a sorority during my time at Trinity, I gained experience with time management, dedication and hard work—attributes that my bosses were looking for when they hired me. And of course, all of the amazing professors I had the chance to work with during my four years taught me to not only think analytically, but to also think creatively.
During college, I held two editorial internships that gave me a stronger understanding of the industry and helped my resume stand out to future employers. As a senior at Trinity, I made plans to attend Columbia’s summer publishing course after graduation. It was at Columbia that I discovered my affinity for the publicity/communications side of publishing. The course, which I would highly recommend to anyone aiming to get into the magazine or book publishing world, brought in speakers from all facets of the industry and helped me to realize that while editorial was always the path I had envisioned, it was not the best fit for my personality, my interests or my strengths.
One great element of the Columbia Publishing Course is the role they play in helping their students find jobs. They put me in touch with many amazing people in the industry who provided me with advice, shared their experiences and confirmed that all the effort needed to crack into the publishing industry was worth it. For anyone looking for a career in publishing or media, I would suggest taking advantage of informational interviews as much as possible. Even if the company doesn’t have an opening at that time, if you really impress them, they will remember you when they need to fill a position.
It is extremely easy to get frustrated when first looking for a job, but perseverance is key. Though I had the help of Career Services at Trinity and the Columbia Publishing Course, it still took two months of active searching to land my job at Hearst. I’m very lucky that I found a job that I truly love and see myself staying with for some time, but it is also important to remember that your first job is not necessarily your only job. Many people I spoke with during my job search had career histories that were all over the map, not only in different roles, but in different industries. My career experience thus far has shown me that finding a job that is best suited for you can take time, but is absolutely worth the effort.