Top 5 Tips for Getting a Job in Publishing

Our Marketing Assistant, Jess, shares some tips on getting into the publishing industry after university.

It happens to the best of us. You’re enjoying student life, living on spaghetti hoops, cereal, and that questionable looking meat at the back of your fridge that you found for a suspiciously cheap price at the local supermarket. You’ve grown out of the ‘going to lectures in your pyjamas’ stage, but you still feel like a child playing at being a grown up, snuggled comfortably in the safety net that is higher education.

Then it hits you: you’re in your final year of uni. You need to start looking for a job.

Not to worry, my friend, we’ve all been there, and if you think the publishing industry is for you then you’re in luck: here are my Top 5 Tips for Getting a Job in Publishing. From one ex-student to another!

Work Experience

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by the amount of people who are interested in publishing and yet never do any sort of placement, even if it’s just for a few days. The truth is you’re not going to know if publishing’s for you unless you give it a try; the last thing you want is to apply for a job you think you’ll love, only to discover too late that you’ve never hated anything more.

Plus most placements will give you the opportunity to find out which area of publishing you’re the most interested in – you might go into a placement expecting to like Publicity and finding yourself enjoying Marketing more, and once you know that you have a better idea of which vacancies you should be keeping an eye out for!

And perhaps most importantly, work experience gives you the chance to network. You’ll never leave a placement without a few new contacts under your belt, and with any luck one of those contacts could eventually become your employer.

If you’re thinking ‘but I can’t afford to do unpaid work in London’ then you needn’t worry. Our office is based in Bridgend and there are plenty of independent publishers all over the UK, so have a snoop around – you never know what you might find just around the corner!

Get Involved

Do you have your own blog? Do you review the books you read? Have you written for your uni magazine? Are you involved in any societies?

Don’t worry, the answer to all those questions doesn’t have to be a resounding yes. The point I’m trying to make is make sure you get involved in things outside your lectures and use them to build up your CV. Who knows, the fact that you were the Vice President of the Belly Dancing Society might just single you out from the other applicants.

Basically, if you’re interested in being an editor, for example, it certainly wouldn’t hurt if you’d already done some editing for your local newspaper!

Be Realistic

I know from experience that those are the two words no student ever wants to hear, not when your friends and family are telling you that you can do anything. The truth is you can’t expect to go straight into a high-flying job, so don’t be put off if the only vacancies you can find are positions as Editorial Assistants or Marketing Assistants – we all have to start somewhere! Just get your foot in the door, and then you can work your way up to your dream job.

And if we’re being honest, isn’t that way more satisfying than getting everything handed to you on a plate?

Be Open-Minded

So you want to be an Editor, but the only vacancies you can find are in Publicity. Apply anyway! If you’ve done your fair share of work experience there won’t be anything about a different department that’s too alien or intimidating for you, and there’s always the chance that you’ll be able to move between departments. Alternately, you may find yourself enjoying the job you have more than the one you initially wanted!

Keep Trying

And lastly, getting a job in publishing can be hard. We all know that in this climate it’s not unheard of for more than a hundred people to be vying for one job. If you don’t get the job you wanted first time around it doesn’t mean you never will, just keep gaining work experience and keep applying. You’ll get there!

Good luck!


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