Ivy Jacobson has been in the media industry since her undergraduate days and years later, she has a skill that I am sure many envy: she can order a car service for a celebrity in New York City and have it at the door in five minutes flat. Of course, she has many other valuable skills, but the current associate editor for TheKnot.com really believes that no matter the job or the responsibility, every challenge is a learning opportunity.
After growing up in Tampa, Florida, graduating from Florida State University and moving to Manhattan for graduate school at Pace University, Jacobson landed her first job as the executive assistant to the editor in chief of Plum Hamptons magazine. And with that job, she hired interns, including myself. Over the years, we’ve lost touch, but I never stopped looking up to her as she helped me get my first internship at a magazine in New York City.
Since the summer we worked together, Jacobson has gone on to achieve a successful career in the world of digital publishing. In an e-mail interview, I asked Jacobson a few pertinent questions and for advice that may help those looking to break into the industry themselves. Here’s what this successful editor had to say about her experience, her career, advice for others and the future.
Careers often start with internships during undergrad, like my own. Where did you intern during your time at FSU and Pace?
Ivy Jacobson: I worked at the school newspaper and a bridal boutique, and interned at a museum and Rowland Publishing (all in Tallahassee). During grad school, I interned at Foundry Literary + Media and Macmillan Publishers.
You say you went to graduate school. Where did you go and what did you study?
IJ: I went to Pace University in New York City from 2010 to 2012, and got my M.S. in Publishing.
Your first job was the executive assistant to the editor in chief of Plum Hamptons magazine. How did you get it?
IJ: I was part-timing and freelancing at various places during my last year of grad school and I got to the point where I was ready to channel all my efforts in to one job. I saw the position on Ed2010.com, and after two interviews and an edit test that wasn’t for the weak of heart, I got the job!
What do you do now?
IJ: I’m an Associate Editor at The Knot (owned by XO Group). I love my job, and my coworkers are awesome! I oversee all news (celebrity and viral) for TheKnot.com, write and edit features and trend pieces, interview wedding industry experts, syndicate our content and lots more. No two days are alike — we’re in the thick of Bridal Fashion Week now and it’s so much fun to write about all the latest wedding dress trends.
How did you get to where you are now in your career? Did you face any challenges or set backs? How did you overcome them?
IJ: I firmly believe that every job offers you a wonderful education, even if it’s not where you envision yourself long term. Besides writing and editing, I’ve also learned how to order a car service for a celebrity and get it there in five minutes flat, how to organize large events, how to deal with different kinds of people and how to be a better communicator. Every challenge is a learning opportunity.
What advice do you have for those looking to one day be in your shoes?
IJ: Be persistent and resilient. Send hand-written thank you notes to your interviewers. Network. Do thorough research on publications you want to work for. Follow them all on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. If you’re just starting out in the industry and you’re only getting coffee and taking phone calls, make sure each cup of coffee is perfection and take the time to hone your administrative skills. You’ll be trusted with larger tasks in no time. And have a good handshake! (People won’t ever forget you.)
Do you have a personal mantra or philosophy that you stand by to keep yourself motivated?
IJ: Whenever I find myself in a creative rut, I always think of a poignant part of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s keynote speech he gave at a college graduation a few years ago. He said:
“Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means that you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference. Yes lets you stand out in a crowd, be the optimist, see the glass full, be the one everyone comes to. Yes is what keeps us all young. Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”
What is your dream job?
IJ: I’d like to one day be a features director at a digital lifestyle website.
What do you think is a top skill to harness early in one’s career in media and journalism?
IJ: Early in your media career, I think it’s very important to have a strong sense of urgency. Whether it’s anticipating something and being two steps ahead of your boss, or quickly writing a story on a topic that you know is about to go viral. It’s all about having snappy, spot-on judgment in the digital age.
As someone with experience, what’s one more piece of advice you have for professionals?
IJ: No matter what, there’s always time to be kind. Publishing is a small industry and you always get back what you give.
— Hilarey Wojtowicz