Cosmopolitan UK’s editor-in-chief has given Kingston graduates advice in a talk at the University this week.
Cerys Traylor and Harriet Osborne
Award-winning editor Louise Court told Kingston University students during a talk that women in particular must be more assertive when showing potential employers what they are capable of.
She said: “Women are the worst for having imposter syndrome. They wait until they think that they are good enough for the job. They have to get over that. Men tend to go for a job because they think ‘yay look at me’, it often leaves women two years behind men in the job market.”
Louise has been editor of Cosmopolitan since 2006 and won the Editors’ Editor of the Year at the British Society of Magazine Editors awards (BSME) in November 2012.
“How the hell do you choose from these people?”
Louise also supported the ‘Are your generation angry?’ campaign in 2011 which gave a voice to young people who took an active approach against unemployment.
“My heart bleeds when I open my email and see the amount of people asking for work experience and internships,” she said. “How the hell do you choose from these people who all have degrees?
“When you come out of university, it will be tough to get a break. You always need to be thinking about what you can show that can make you look different.”
During the Q&A session Louise agreed that unpaid internships were “totally wrong” and “exploit” people who are willing to do anything to get their foot in the door.
Louise began her career in local newspapers and swiftly moved on to positions including showbiz reporter at the Daily Express, Woman’s Own and Best magazine before taking over at Cosmopolitan.
From nobody to high flyer
She said: “One of my first work experiences ended when the editor pulled me aside and said, ‘Sorry, we only take high flyers.’ That was an appalling thing to say to someone of just 19, just terrible. It made me feel totally, totally rubbish.
“But when I had an audience with the Queen, when I sat in Number 10 with three different Prime Ministers, when you’ve got huge celebrities saying ‘thanks Cosmo’, I do think, you did me a favour mate!”
Louise explained that understanding the difference between being confident and being arrogant is crucial for success in any type of profession.
She said: “If I could go back to when I was 22, I would tell myself to be more confident but there is a huge balance in being confident in your skills and being a diva.
“Sometimes you’ll make an excellent decision, and sometimes you’ll make a mistake, we all do, just don’t hide behind them. Have the balls to go, ‘I’m sorry, that was me’, have confidence in yourself.”