A little known fact…

Editorial interns here actually are 60% (Jeevan’s statistic!) of the process for selection our successors. In other words, I was in charge of reading internship applications, contacting the applicants, arranging and conducting interviews (via Skype and phone), and finalizing the choice. I have received, and continue to receive, emails from intern hopefuls. Some sound quite qualified, and with others, it is obvious they didn’t spend much time researching BK or thinking about how they could be an asset to our company. Many just talk about their qualifications, and how much the internship will benefit them.

This is almost as stressful as turning down authors, because I was in these applicants’ anxious, desperate shoes just a few months ago. I know what it’s like to feel shy about “selling myself” and my skills. I was raised not to brag about my accomplishments and even downplay them, but that is detrimental when you are trying to get a job (or internship). I also had never written a cover letter before Winter Break; my letter to BK was my second. So I still consider myself new to all this. However, after reading so many cover letter/resume combos and discussing them with Jeevan, I think I’ve learned a few things.

Tip:
Spend some time researched the company you are applying for, and make sure to align your skills with what they are looking for. Make the connections in your cover letter! Also, there are ways to say you will be an asset without sounding pompous and full of yourself. We’re looking for confidence.

Tip:
Also, if I have to read another cover letter saying a version of “I’ve been in love with words and reading since practically before I was born” or “ever since I could read I’ve carried a book under my arm” (not exaggerating), I’m going to scream. Passion for literature, editing, words, writing, etc is very important to this job, but it does not go hand-in-hand with actual editing and writing skills. And there are so many creative, compelling ways to express passion without using the worn out trope of “ever since I was little.”

*end rant*

So, after this exciting process, I am pleased to announce the summer BK intern will be Jessica Osorio! She currently attends Pomona College, and in the past she was a tutor at 826 Valencia, the pirate shop/backroom writing workshop established by Dave Eggers (known for his first book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Simon & Schuster 2000). She is sharp, funny, and has a passion for writing and publishing backed up by experience. From my interactions with her, over Skype and during a brief lunch where she came into the office, I know I’ll be leaving my duties in good, and maybe even better, hands. I may only be here for a little over three months, but I already feel like this is my place, and I’ll admit I was a little hesitant about someone else coming in and “taking my place.” I don’t feel that hesitancy at all anymore with Jessica on board.

 

 

Week 1: The beginning of the Adventure!

This is the beginning of the Adventure, with a capital A. I’ve been anxiously anticipating having an internship, wondering what all it would throw at me, and if I’d measure up. So far, so good, though that’s not say there aren’t challenges.

As this is written in retrospect, it will be shorter, more of a recap of everything that happened the first week.

On Thursday (Jan 16th) I had my first introduction to unsolicited book proposals. Jeevan went through basic guidelines of More

“What area code is 415?”, or, How I Landed an Internship with Berrett-Koehler: Part 1

So.

It was a late Friday evening (two weeks ago, to be precise), and I was trying to get out the door to go shopping with my bestie Alex. An unused $90 gift card to Lush from Christmas was burning a hole in my pocket, and I wanted to get out of the Treehouse. But little things kept coming up, roomie emergencies, distracting conversations, etc. Then when I finally was grabbing a quick snack in the kitchen, my phone rang. An unidentified number. I usually let calls like that go to voicemail, but something told me I should ask, “What area code is 415?”

Jess immediately said, “San Francisco.” So I grabbed my phone, dashed up our crazy uneven staircase, almost tripping on the cats, hoping that by the time I reached the top the phone wouldn’t have stopped ringing. When I answered, it was Jeevan from Berrett-Koehler. He explained that because I’d sent my inquiry to the general email, it’d gotten lost and it’d just been forwarded to him.

Tip: If you are sending an editorial internship inquiry/application, send it directly to Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Executive Managing Editor, at jsiva@bkpub.com. (I spent two days trying to find the right person to send my letter to, and finally gave up)

After a bit of conversation with him and some questions, I realized he’d called me just based off the notes someone had sent him, so there were some awkward pauses. He asked what I was looking for, confirmed that I was available immediately, and other basic questions, then arranged to send me some more information on the internship and we’d reconnect on Monday to set up an interview.

I was ecstatic! Earlier that week More