Category Archives: Advice

Interview, CV, Job Seeking Advice.

How to Convey the Value of Your Transferable and Soft Skills to Prospective Employers!

What are soft skills? Soft skills are defined as character traits or interpersonal aptitudes that effect the ability to work and interact with others in a work environment. We most often learn soft skills at school, in the classroom, directly or indirectly.  They are not always “people skills” but are abilities relating to emotional intelligence and can be useful for all industries and job types.

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Team Work
  • Problem-Solving
  • Work Ethic
  • Adaptability
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Time Management
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail

Hard skills unlike soft skills are more job specific skills that are usually acquired through education or training. They are based solely on technical knowledge. Hard and soft skills complement each other in the workplace: hard skills reflect whether you would be suitable for the job and the technical skills it requires, whereas soft skills are unique and personal as they reflect the way you deal with situations specific to a work environment or the role for which you are applying.

“94% of recruiters believe that soft skills outweigh experience… 75% of recruiting professionals have cut an interview short because a candidate didn’t demonstrate the soft skills needed for the position they had applied for.”–Forbes

Soft skills distinguish you from other employees as they are unique to your individual personality. They also tend to highlight your leadership skills and this is what employers most often look at. There are many ways that you can show off your soft skills to your employer, generally this is usually over face-to-face interviews. Using examples is a brilliant way to show off your soft skills as you can demonstrate how valuable your skills really are and how these have aided you in many difficult work situations. For example, it is particularly important that when asked questions about difficult work situations you cleverly answer with how it got solved or what you would do differently next time rather than just stating the final result.

Here are some examples of common soft skills and their DOs and DONTs:

Team Work & Collaboration

  • Avoid ‘I’s’ and use more ‘We’s’.
  • Make sure to mention team accomplishments as well as personal ones, how you contributed to team effort.

Perseverance & Dedication

  • Show confidence in why you made certain decisions.
  • Emphasise your passion and dedication to work, as it is a reflection of your work ethic.
  • Give examples that reflect your perseverance to accomplish anything, both work problems and personal work goals.

Time Management & Organisation

  • Time management is a clear representation of how efficiently you work.
  • It reflects an organised candidate, who shows how passionate and seriously they want the role!
  • If you have good time management skills, it reduces the likelihood of stress within the workplace.

Problem Solving

Describe how you solved a problem step by step e.g. “First I spoke to my manager and then…”

Soft Skills in Publishing

Now that you know all about soft skills, which of these will be the most important when you are applying and interviewing for a role in publishing?

Effective communication and emotional intelligence are important in the world of publishing. It is important to understand the mood, tone and the values of those around us. Fair and consistent communication is essential; being able to asses and attend to emotional needs is integral to gaining understanding.

Openness and honest are also very important. For those just starting a career in publishing it is imperative to be open to the entire experience being a learning process. Being honest in saying ‘I need help’/’I’m not good at that’ shows your interviewer/employer that you do struggle but are willing to learn and grow within those personal struggles.

Finally, learning with agility is another key soft skill in publishing; everything is a trial and error both in life and in the world of work. It is okay to fail in work tasks as long as you’re learning quickly. Persevering demonstrates your potential and growth in character. Always strive for better and work proactively within your job. You may find that in publishing certain traditions are kept, but all businesses look ahead, so having employees who are equally forward thinking helps the industry to grow! For more information on transferable soft skills click here!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Company News, Industry Voices

Why you should go for a sales role in publishing!

Our editorial roles receive a huge amount of interest, however our sales roles not as much. This made us stop and think, why not?

Many graduates come to us and ask our advice on how to launch their editorial career in publishing, which is great! But… editorial is not the only option available to you!

In this blog, we want to discuss why sales roles are also great and can even aid your future editorial career.

First things first, you want to work in publishing because you love books, right? Sales roles are the perfect way to express your passion! Why? Because you get to talk about books all day long!

It is your job to get the books out there! You go through lists, samples and catalogues deciding which bookstores need which books. What better way to spend your working day, than browsing the latest titles and most likely even receiving a copy for your own personal collection!

Sales roles are very social roles – you will work with a range of people from editors and writers to designers, buyers and journalists. This means you receive a comprehensive understanding of the industry.

A sales role will also give you knowledge of the market and trends; this will aid your knowledge if you wish to work in a commissioning editorial role for example.

Another advantage of sales roles is that they enable you to develop transferable skills. One of these being communication, a skill desired in every role.

In a sales role, you can find yourself working for many different publishers and selling to many different types of customers, this will enable you to develop key relationship building skills.

A sales role does not necessarily mean endless cold calling and this definitely is not the case in publishing. You are more likely to meet customers face to face in a more consultative sales approach. You may find yourself selling to bookshops, retailers, universities, or even software to libraries and hospitals.

This kind of sales approach means you get to have interesting conversations, develop strong relationships and take a break from being in the office!

You are also likely to be invited to events! A new store opening for example.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Company News, Industry Voices

Summer Reads!


A seemingly perfect crime, what can go wrong? A couple honeymooning in paradise find something in the water. Deciding to keep it a secret, they think they are the only ones who know about the discovery. They soon find out that their actions have deadly consequences and someone else knows their secret. A good thriller and the perfect summer book that hooks you in right from the very first page.

At the heart of this gripping read are a trio of brothers, a disappearance and a lack of suspects. Set in the Australian outback, this atmospheric thriller is not one to be missed this summer.

`One of the year’s most unmissable debuts’. Queenie’s life seems to be spiralling out of control, a family that don’t understand her, a boss that doesn’t seem to notice her and a man she can’t get over. Queenie is a character you will be rooting for from the first page.

A story of love and war. The Biafran War is told from the perspective of three characters whose lives are interwoven in ways they would not have imagined. This novel is great if you love to immerse yourself in historical fiction with compelling and intelligent characters.

Non-fiction that stirs the desire to make change. Mainly aimed at black women but plenty to take away for everyone. A read that will make you challenge your assumptions and think about `space’ in different contexts and ways.

May not be the typical relaxing holiday reading but worth it! Set post world war ll, a woman with financial inheritance attempts to build economic prosperity in a small community in Australia where her romantic interest lives.

Some more summer reading tips:

http://ow.ly/AS2z30pcRlBh

http://ow.ly/M3hp30pcRnR

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Atwood Tate Book Club

Publishing Interview Tips!

You have reached the interview stage, great news! Now you have to face the dreaded interview. Don’t worry, we have some interview dos and don’ts for you to master your publishing interview, and maybe even enjoy it!

Do

  • Use the job description and person specification to hone in on the skills and competencies they are looking for
  • Practice an interview situation with your friends or family
  • Greet the interviewer with a firm (but not bone breaking!) handshake
  • Take copies of your cv, covering letter and relevant documents with you
  • Dress well; publishing is a creative industry and you can express yourself with your dress whilst looking smart
  • Leave plenty of time to get to your interview; being late will make you feel stressed prior to the interview
  • Keep eye contact, wait for your turn to speak and listen carefully to the questions you are being asked
  • Answer the question and express yourself clearly (practice will help with this)
  • Be honest
  • Ask questions! An interview is also your opportunity to see if the company will be a good fit for you as well as you for them, so prepare some well researched questions in advance
  • Be confident in your skills and abilities, have examples ready which demonstrate your experience in relation to the job requirements
  • Show your enthusiasm! You can also follow up after the interview to thank them for their time

Don’t

  • Dress too casually
  • Complain about your previous role or employer! You want your interview to be a positive experience
  • Lie about your skills or abilities, lies can be detected! You also don’t want to be in a difficult situation if you find yourself unable to do the job
  • Be too hard on yourself if you do not answer a question quite right, instead remain positive and move onto the next. You won’t be judged for making a mistake on one question
  • Bring up salary, holidays and benefits unless your interviewer does
  • Be blunt or too simple in your answers with just a `yes’ or `no’, you are expected to explain where possible, without rambling
  • Talk over your interviewer or finish their sentences for them

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Company News, Industry Voices

Social Media and Job Searching

All of us are on one form of social media or the other, right? The same goes for publishing companies. By following publishing brands on social media, you can stay up to date with what is new. For example, what is the latest book they published? Are they involved in any debates or discussion? When it comes to an interview situation this knowledge will be useful in informing your answers and in building a rapport with your interviewer.

We all check our social media regularly, but we do not check an advertising website or company website as regularly. We as a recruitment agency also post all our jobs on social media; you may come across our social media post before you check a job board.  Therefore, you can be on the ball and send your application in as soon as you can. This is especially true of work experience and internship opportunities, which are often posted on social media first.

Publishing events (which can sometimes be hard to find) are also advertised on social media. Recruitment agencies such as ourselves, along with companies such as SYP and The Bookseller share all publishing events. You can find an events calendar on our website here: https://blog.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/events/

To develop a career in publishing it is also important to showcase yourself online. For example, you want to break into editorial; do you run a blog or a podcast? Do you write book reviews? This kind of activity will support your applications.

Debates and discussions that occur on social media are also an advantage to your job search. For example, we hold online Q&A sessions twice a month on different job roles and sectors in publishing. You can ask us anything from what skills you need for a certain role to how to transfer your skills to another sector.

If you are worried about protecting your privacy online there are small things, you can do. There are tools such as Instagram direct where you can choose who can see your latest posts. You can also choose to make a post private. On twitter you can have your tweets as `public’ or `private’. On Facebook you can also limit who sees your posts and control your timeline. This means you can be active on social media to a following of your choosing and give evidence of your work or skills if required.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Industry Voices

How to be Productive: 6 tips to maximise productivity in high-frequency publishing

Last week we went to the PPA event 6 Pro Tips to Maximise Productivity for high frequency publishers. A lot of information and advice was given and we learned a lot! Here we have summarised the big takeaways for you.

6 pro-tips:   

  1. Break tasks down into smaller chunks of work
  2. Time-Boxing
  3. Removing Repetition
  4. Automation in all areas of pure process
  5. Talk about email habits and practices
  6. Leave work on time

Here we dig a little deeper into these tips by summarising what the main speakers had to say and discuss the relationship between technological and cultural productivity.

Simon Weare – PCS Development Officer

                   Estimate all the things little and often

Simon defined productive as the most relevant and valuable thing that you should be doing right now. `Best resource we have is our mind and our time.’

Simon is an advocate of technological productivity. He says we need to use a module/software that embraces change and allows for organisational visibility. There should be no hidden activity, all effort and work should be demonstrated and shown. The system should manage productivity in a way that is visible to everyone; everyone should be able to see what each other is working on and what stage it is at.

Within this system there should be mechanisms to evaluate priorities, frameworks and estimates to assist in understanding the activity and review these frequently.

Resistance to change is a productivity killer and can slow down the progress of your team. To be productive we have to adapt to change and manage it. To do this we have to allow and allocate for the scope to change, this means you won’t disappoint by not delivering but will adapt when the deadline changes or progresses.

Simon says: `if you aren’t measuring it, you aren’t managing it’.

Rich Mansell – PCS Solutions Manager

Rich is also an advocate of technological productivity. Rich says we live in a time critical environment and we need to think productive in terms of software.

We need to reduce the number of systems in place and instead have just one that can distribute content to all places. Including software that sends content out to the web.

We need to think in terms of how software can aid and store content. Most companies have a large amount of folders, we need to remove this inefficiency so that we can locate content more quickly without manual intervention.

This will improve staff morale by reducing clicks and tasks. Templates will also help in removing this repetition of work.

4 key areas when choosing any system are: partnership approach, analyse the current workflow, design the bespoke workflow and learn from past experiences.

Hayley Watts – Productivity Ninja

Hayley is an advocate of cultural productivity. When are you the most focused? When do you procrastinate? Hayley says we need to manage our attention energy and pinpoint our most productive hours in our working day and do the most important things then. Right activity, right time.

Making lists is one of Hayley’s tips; they help in knowing what to do when your energy and focus is at a lower level. It helps to also have a done list to keep track but don’t dwell on what you have not done. Instead focus on what is going to make the most impact and put your energy into that.

Another one of Hayley’s tips is to make your emails work for you. Which emails do you want to be copied into? Communicate your preferences of what will work for you to your team.

It is important to protect your productivity levels. We are more likely to make mistakes when stressed, tired, multitasking or overloading. This will result in decision fatigue. Rather than carrying on it is more beneficial to take a break and come back with a clear head. In your break do activities that increase your energy levels; go for a run, do some reading, or socialise. Find what works for you.

It is important to communicate your own deadlines `I’ll be free at 1, I have to do this task at the moment’. This will protect your hours without impacting your team.

Be calm, ruthless, weapon savy and human not superhero – Hayley’s definition of a productivity ninja.

There is a marriage between technology and culture; simplifying is the key. We need to manage our focus and energy whilst being able to digest content and integrate systems. Dealing with change by being flexible and open is also key to being productive. It is important to recognise that not all employees are going to be open to change but by working and going on a journey together change is positive.

Think Productive – Getting your inbox back to zero course

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Industry News & Events, Industry Voices

Flexible working: Does it work for employee and employer?

We had a fantastic response to our blog competition and we do aim to answer all of your brilliant questions!

The team decided that ‘Flexible working: Does it work for employee and employer?’ should be the first question we address as it’s very much a hot topic and the question of flexible working is often raised by our candidates when considering a role.

We have researched this topic by asking our clients their company’s stance on flexible working, what policies they have or what is in their pipeline for the future.

Types of flexible working you might consider:

  • Part-time
  • Term-time
  • Job-sharing
  • Flexitime
  • Compressed hours
  • Working from home on a regular basis

Our clients have noticed a shift from flexible working being more focused on hours e.g. flexible starts and finishes to now moving onto location.

Does it work for employee?

We all dread that rush hour commute and we all wish we could have been home for that boiler repair, right? The opportunity to avoid commuting (even once a month!) and make that all important appointment is a huge stress reliever.

Flexible working and the trust that comes with it from our employers gives employees a positive feeling and a sense of autonomy, encouraging a positive attitude towards their work.

An office atmosphere is great! However, if a member of staff has a lot on and needs to focus, this atmosphere can sometimes be a distraction. Allowing an employee the option of working from home can be beneficial as they can work without distractions.

Some employees don’t enjoy working from home, instead they miss that social interaction and that is fair enough!

It goes without saying that for employees with children or family commitments, flexible working is extremely beneficial.

Does it work for employer?

Our clients recognise that allowing employees to work from home, is a trust exercise and employees have reacted positively to this. In particular millennials are expecting a more flexible work environment and companies need to respond to a changing workforce.

For expanding or small companies, flexible working is also a positive because it allows for a better working environment in terms of space. Small offices can be quite cramped and stuffy, by employees taking it in turn with their flexible working allows for a much more comfortable working environment in the office.

A concern our clients acknowledged was centred on creativity. People often work best when they can bounce off each other and discuss ideas and their concerns in person. So there is a need for people to be present for meetings and to maintain communication between teams.

However, with most people having access to good wifi, it’s possible to have meetings from remote locations using Skype / Google hangout etc – once everyone gets the hang of it this works fine!

Does it work for employee and employer? YES!

The response from our clients was overall positive and flexible working has become part of company consciousness and improving working standards.

For some clients their flexible working policies are already in place with employees working one day a week from home (with successful completion of probation period in mind) for others the policies have started with some improvements to go.

If flexible working does not have a negative effect on the working standards then why not!

Further Reading:

https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/flexible-working/factsheet (You can register and get full details)

https://www.rec.uk.com/news-and-policy/policy-and-campaigns/ongoing-campaigns?a=154804

https://www.publishers.org.uk/activities/inclusivity/inclusivity-action-plan/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/16/flexible-work-parents-child-free-control

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Company News, Industry News & Events, Industry Voices

Marketing in book publishing

BytetheBook hosted a particularly good event called ‘How Do you Market Authors and their Books?’

Introduced by Justine Solomons and chaired by Hermione Ireland (Marketing Director at Little Brown Book Group @hermioneireland) the evening covered a really good range of questions for both authors and those working in marketing in publishing.

They had a range of experts including Julia Silk (Literary Agent at Kingsford and Campbell @juliasreading), Truda Spruyt (Director of PR agency Colman Getty @TrudaSpruyt) and Kit Caless (Author and Publisher at Influx Press @KitCaless) to ensure we heard all sides of the story!

Take aways

  • It’s important to market yourself (or your author) not just your product. You need to creative and authentic.
  • It’s vital to be resilient (perhaps more in publicity) where you get lots of no’s before you get yes’s.
  • There was a split on the importance of social media with Kit saying it depends if the author is confident to do. Similarly events can work well if the author is behind it and has connections.
  • Partnerships also work well if the author has a strong back story and connections.
  • Everyone agreed it’s vital to get a marketing plan together at a very early stage – 3-6 months ahead of publication date and you either need time to do marketing yourself or money to pay someone to do it for you!
  • Publishers should put together a detailed marketing plan for you with a budget that generally reflects the size of the advance.
  • For self-published authors, be creative (Kit sends 2-300 advance copies with a hand-written note out to all the indie booksellers which generates strong advance orders).
  • Metadata is vital to get right. There are various codes and key words that can be used and manipulated to gain visibility. In big publishers there are tech people doing this but you can put your book in several niche sub categories to reach a wider audience. You might be number 1 in a niche!
  • Facebook advertising can be used effectively especially for genre publishing. And try Facebook Live which is free.
  • Authors should think about their readers/audience as the book will need to go through a long selling chain if published by a publisher (Agent – Editor – Sales – Marketing etc) and they’ll all be asking – who will be interested in buying this book?

Thanks to the panel and Justine, founder of @BytetheBook and look forward to the next event!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Company News, Industry News & Events, Industry Voices

Cover Letter Dos and Don’ts

You have found the job of your dreams, researched the role and the company and perfected your CV. Wait, and you still have to write your cover letter, right? Yes you do!

Do not underestimate the importance of the cover letter, it works simultaneously with your CV to reflect and highlight the skills you have outlined.

A well written cover letter will help you to stand out and increase your chances of the recruitment manager remembering you.

We know how daunting application writing can be, so we are sharing our top dos and don’ts.

Do:

  • Research the role and the company before you start writing
  • Have a clear structure; use paragraphs and an easy to read font
  • Have an opening sentence with a positive tone that also signals that you are applying for this specific role `I am writing to apply for….’
  • Highlight why you are interested in the role, and what is attractive about the company
  • Let them know why they should interview you by summarising your strengths and skills that make you the best candidate to do that job
  • Your skills and strengths should be tailored to the requirements and objectives set out in the job description
  • Emphasise what you can do for the company, you can outline a career goal that meets with the company’s objectives or expand on the key skills in your CV
  • Thank the employer for their time and that you look forward to hearing from them
  • If you start with `Dear name’ you should end with `yours sincerely’ and if you start with `Dear Sir/Madam’ you should end with `yours faithfully’.
  • Check your spelling and grammar not once, but twice or three times  

Don’t:

  • Send a generic, untailored cover letter
  • Write more than one page. The aim of a cover letter is to summarise concisely why you are applying for the role, why you are the right candidate for the job and why you want to join the organisation
  • Use creative fonts, colours, abbreviations
  • Include unnecessary personal information or skills/qualifications not specific to the job
  • Include your salary preferences or requirements unless asked by the employer
  • Generalise or be too casual in tone. Instead be specific in how you have excelled in previous roles
  • Write without having researched the company and what your role involves
  • Send your cover letter without checking you have addressed it to the right company and contact

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Company News

10 Dos and Don’ts of CV Writing

Are you putting off writing or editing your CV? One of the most commonly asked questions we get is about the format of CV’s. To help you along with your CV writing process we have written a summary of our top 10 dos and don’ts of CV writing!

Dos:

  • Keep your CV at two pages max (we know it is hard!). You need to demonstrate you can prioritise relevant information with the content you provide
  • Introduce yourself in a personal statement at the top of the page, including your skills and what you are looking for in a few sentences
  • Include your contact details and a link to your LinkedIn profile
  • Save your CV in a word doc or PDF in the format `full name and CV’  
  • Set out the dates of your employment, the company and your position clearly with accurate spacing
  • You can include a brief description of the company you worked for, followed by bullet points to present your achievements, using figures and stats where necessary (use power words!)
  • The education and employment sections should be in reverse chronological order. You can include a `relevant experience’ section
  • Have a skills section highlighting any IT and language speaking skills. You can also include any courses/training, driving skills or leadership skills that are relevant
  • Choose a professional font, one that is easily read and looks good when printed or scanned
  • Important: Be meticulous in your spelling and grammar!

Don’ts:

  • Avoid long, chunky looking paragraphs (white space is your friend!)
  • List all of your GCSEs/O-Levels or every module from your degree, just those related to the job you are applying for
  • Experiment with size (making the text bigger to fill the space/smaller to fit) or wacky colours and fonts
  • DOB, picture and marital status are not necessary
  • Use acronyms, technical terms or clichés (instead demonstrate clichés such as `hard worker’ in your experience and achievements)
  • Use personal pronouns
  • Include irrelevant skills and work experience (not including them will not decrease your chance of getting the job!)
  • Explain why you left every single position. You can cover this at interview, but also in your covering letter.  If you are not currently in employment and want to explain why, put a brief note in your covering letter.  If you are applying through an agency, be transparent with them and they can help you to explain.  If you have done a series of fixed term contracts, putting “fixed term contract” next to the job title will signal that this is why you haven’t stayed longer in the role
  • Submit your CV with unprofessional email addresses or names
  • Lie! With a simple search a lie can be found out and this won’t go down well with your interviewer

Extra Tip: Don’t leave gaps.  Account for any gap years/sabbaticals or times out of work, but briefly and without it becoming distracting.  If you omit something, it will raise more questions than a brief sentence accounting for the gap.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Advice, Company News