Yesterday I was part of a lucky group of three that got to sit down for coffee with Noreen Flanagan, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Canada. The group-chat was set up by Ten Thousand Coffees, a website I am currently obsessed with. For an hour, myself and two talented photographers got to bounce questions off of one of the most successful women I’ve had the pleasure to meet.
Noreen Flanagan greeted us in a warm and friendly manner, she had a look in her eyes that resembled quiet excitement. She was genuinely pleased to spend time with us, she even brought cookies. The four of us sat down with tea and coffee, and chatted about the publishing industry from both a writer’s and a photographer’s standpoint. Noreen gave us honest and whimsical answers — she’s a storyteller in her own right. She told us the blunt facts, gave us several suggestions, and even made us laugh. Sitting there, I felt like I was catching up with a co-worker or discussing future projects with a mentor. I’ve listed some of her advice below, but what I took most from coffee with Noreen was: Creativity and passion are key to landing any job. No matter how you communicate with people (media, writing, photography), FIND YOUR VOICE and be yourself. Dare to be different. Don’t be afraid.
Tips from Noreen Flanagan
- Ensure a concise 360 degree pitch. Show that you understand how the story will work in the book, on the iPad, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.
- When you apply for a job that you really want, find a human to talk to. A lot of times the first round of HR is done by a computer, if you don’t fit all of the criteria no one will even see your resume.
- The six words of the subject of your email are the most important words you will ever write. Use these to get your potential editor’s attention and ensure that you’re contacting the right editor.
- When you go for an interview create a narrative about yourself, something your interviewer will remember, but don’t lie. Come prepared with loads of questions and practice interviews with family members or friends.
- Practice your phone manners, it really is a lost art.
- If you’re trying to be a freelance writer, get a full-time job. It doesn’t matter what it is, just pay the bills.
- Learn more about SEO, Google Analytics, and videography, they’re the way of the future.
Embrace the butterflies, what’s life without them?– Noreen Flanagan
A HUGE thank you to Noreen for taking time out of her day to let a few aspiring writers and photographers pick her brain! An even greater thank you to Grace from Ten Thousand Coffees for making it all possible. Your website is a true gift for young people with big dreams! Oh and thank you to the older gentleman who was leaving the public parking lot and gave me his parking ticket so that I didn’t have to purchase my own ❤ !