My Way: Ali Hall, editor of LOOK magazine

'Make sure your covering letter is interesting'

Ali Hall is the editor of LOOK, the weekly fashion magazine, and the former editor of Slimming and More magazines.

What did you want to be as a child?

Really weirdly, I always wanted to be a journalist. I only wavered twice. The first time was after my A-Levels when I was sick of studying and thought I might become a midwife. I went to a training session and there I watched a video of a woman giving birth and I thought: "There's no way I'm doing that!" Then I worked in a bank for two days and was told to do spreadsheets. I nearly killed myself.

Was your degree in English at the University of Liverpool worth it?

Oh God yeah. I always had my head in a book and wanted to do something I really enjoyed.

How did you get into journalism?

I went to all the local papers in Cheshire and said: "Can I work for you for nothing?" I got a job as a reporter because I was determined.

How did you work your way up?

I wanted to get to London, so I applied for the post of features assistant at Slimming magazine. I did that application like my life depended on it, by producing my own magazine.

How did you become editor?

I knew what was wrong with the magazine and I was passionate. I never thought I'd be an editor, just a writer. Weirdly, I don't now do what I set out to do.

Did you have a career plan?

All the time, because I knew I wanted to work for a mainstream magazine.

Do you consider yourself successful?

I do. I do something I love and I have a laugh everyday at work.

What's the best decision you've ever made?

Going to that bank for two days. I swayed from my dream and learnt I should follow it.

What are your interview tips?

If someone wants a job here, they have to know the magazine inside out and they have to be passionate. You'd be amazed but sometimes people haven't even read the last issue!

What are your CV tips?

I don't even get to the CV if the covering letter is boring. Recently a girl made her own jewellery and she and a friend did a mini photoshoot, using a very basic camera, and she made it look like a magazine. That was her covering letter.

Who are your heroes?

It's not some big famous media figure; it's the small people I've met along the way who really believed in me. And I'm from a generation where my mum said I could do whatever I want and I'm grateful for that.

How do I get to be where you are?

It doesn't matter if you've done a journalism course : it's whether you can write and you really want the job. Get work experience and realise you will have to work for free at some point.

What's the best perk of your job?

Everyday I get to talk about things that really interest me: celebrities, clothes, what's happening in the world ... and that's work!

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant

£18 - 23k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Executive / Assistant is n...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider to the fa...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Analyst - Global ERP Implementation - London

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'