Live from the Lilith Blog 1 of 2

December 28, 2017 by

How To Apply Successfully for an Internship at Lilith Magazine

Step one, and I really cannot stress this enough, is to screw up your courage, take the plunge, and hit send. Forget your fear about being exposed as a literary fraud; tell your imposter syndrome to shut up, already. (And if in thinking, Shut up, imposter syndrome, you make proper use of the apostrophizing comma, soothe yourself with the idea that you could soon be in really solid company.)

Coax up in yourself the kind of patience that is also a kind of impatience. You want to change the world, but through print and pixels, so this should come fairly naturally to you. Write your first email with pizzazz, with passion, with professionalism. Have a dynamic introduction, explain your immense qualifications, but with a little self-deprecating humor—we’re feminists, after all.

Step two is to double down on your homework. Read, watch, listen. This will usefully double as both education and distraction. Ask the smartest woman you know what book made her think differently about herself as a woman. Ask your college roommate for her best podcast recommendation. Follow the author of that article that blew your mind on Twitter. Ask your mom if she had an “aha” moment. Go to an actual, physical library, find the book that looks the most appealing, and raid its bibliography. Take your rabbi out to coffee to talk about feminism. Gear up.

Step three is to not, under any circumstances, freak out. Just because you haven’t heard anything for a while doesn’t imply rejection. Rejection is rejection… This is just a lack of acceptance. Send a follow-up email. Be cheerful and upbeat—just checking in on my application! After a week or two, send another, and helpfully offer a variety of ways that you might make yourself available. Be solicitous, but not smarmy. Hopeful, but not arrogant.

Step four is to panic madly. Doubt yourself. Beat yourself up brutally. Reread previous communiques incessantly. Get it out of your system. You will not feel better afterwards, but this is a necessary part of the process. Email again.

Step five is to cultivate curiosity and utility. While refreshing your email regularly, teach yourself a new skill. Can you change toner? Write code? How about bake cake? While we’re at it, how’s your balance and flexibility? Teach yourself some Hebrew. Test-drive some basic design software. Read a cookbook. Email again.

Some people find it useful to repeat step four at this point in the process.

Step six is to get your hopes up. Dream big. You might be feeling a little discouraged, so it’s important to remind yourself of the prize at stake here. Your personal writing, elevated. Contributing to the ongoing and much-needed work of creating a more just, more interesting, more thoughtful Jewish world. Taking part in the ongoing project of amplifying the voices of women. The frisson of finding the exact right word. Connections across a connected web of brilliant, accomplished women. Mentors who will push you and hug you and feed you and draw forth from you ideas you never thought you could have.

So screw up your courage, take the plunge, and hit send.

- Mel Weiss, Lilith intern 2005-2006. 


Lilith is hiring interns! Learn more about the position here