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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

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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

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Sales and Customer Service

I joined Atwood Tate in February 2018 and specialise in recruiting for Sales, Production, Production Editorial, Rights, Contracts, Project Management, Design, Distribution & Operations roles.  In this blog, I will be explaining jobs in Sales and Customer Service sectors within publishing.

Sales

What is a sales role in publishing?

Sales roles are diverse – from Sales Assistant, Sales Executive, Sales Representation roles which bring in new business to an Account Manager role looking after a designated group of client/company products, i.e an Account Manager for children titles in the US market for an international leading trade book publisher.  For sales roles, it is also usually divided into a specific list of titles and accounts: normal accounts (bookshops/direct customers) and special sales (supermarkets/retail stores/ wholesalers). 

What does a sales role involve?

Your job is to understand the front list titles, prepare new titles presentation, build and maintain relationships with customers/clients, represent your publisher and persuade your target audience to sell your titles or products.

What skills do you need to succeed in a sales role?

Communication and presentation skills. You need to be results and target driven and have a good head for numbers. Excellent negotiating skills are a must.  You will also need to keep up with latest market trends, observe the market, feed it back to your publisher and make strategic plans to keep the business going. 

Is there good progression in sales?

Sales roles are very diverse so they are always full of opportunity and progression.  You can make a lateral move or you move upwards and onwards.  The contacts and relationships you will build up throughout the years will also become one of you biggest assets when you look for a new opportunity – so make sure you stay in touch with everybody!

Customer Service

What is a customer service role?

Customer service is fundamentally a role to support the operations of a sales department.  You will update metadata on the company database, websites or other online platforms.  You will also handle queries from booksellers/clients/direct customers, issue invoice and follow up on the finances.  Other responsibilities may include logistics management, stock queries, and resolving problems.

What skills do you need in a customer service role?

As for the nature of the role, you will be a tech-savvy person.  Preparing sales materials for your colleagues, updating the database and processing orders will be your main duties so a good eye for detail, good communications skills and a high ability to solve problems will be essential.  

How do you progress in a sales/customer service role?

You can start as a Sales Coordinator and then move towards managing accounts and eventually overseeing a sales operations team.  Keep up with the latest technology and software, be an expert in what you do.  If you eventually wanted to have a fresh challenge, you could look into operations or project management roles.

If you have any questions about Sales or Customer Services roles in publishing, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Clare Chan, Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant

Tel:        0203 574 4428 Email: clarechan@atwoodtate.co.uk

Specialist areas: Sales, Production, Production Editorial, Rights, Contracts, Project Management, Design, Distribution & Operations roles.

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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.

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Inclusivity and Diversity in Publishing

Building inclusivity is a top priority in the UK, and we in the publishing industry must also work to establish best practice in the recruitment process in order to bring in diverse voices and varied experience.  Coming from a different cultural background myself and having worked in publishing and recruitment, I have built up a passion for this topic, and I am very keen on making an impact within the publishing industry.

As a team at Atwood Tate, we have had Equality and Inclusion training and I recently attended the Building Inclusivity in Publishing conference put on by The Publishers Association and The London Book Fair.  The conference gathered different panels of representatives from the publishing industry, who spoke about what they have done/are doing to encourage and educate publishing companies to build a more inclusive work environment. 

On International Women’s Day, I spent an afternoon attending a forum on Inclusivity and Diversity, hosted by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation. This forum gathered recruitment professionals from different industries and explored how a better understanding of intersectionality can support a more inclusive recruitment process and deliver a truly diverse candidate sheet.

During the conference, Mark Gales from Young Women’s Trust explained how recruiters and HR professionals can support young women, as studies show that 53% of young women feel worried and uncertain about the future.  By signing up as a volunteer with the YWT, recruiters and HR professionals can offer coaching and tailored job application feedback for young women to build up employability and their confidence.  After using the coaching service, 92% of attendees felt more confident in presenting their CV and felt they had a better understanding of what employers are looking for.  Even more encouraging was that 55% of young women got a new job/work experience.

On offering support to disadvantaged people who are trying to get into employment, Gemma Hope from Shaw Trust explained that we can help candidates by organising a non-panel-setting interview, or even offering candidates a work trial to assess ability, as some candidates might find a traditional interview process distressing.  In the financial sector in particular, some recruitment processes require no CV submissions and a solely question-based application form, from which gender, education background and age are excluded, has replaced the traditional CV and cover letter format: a solely skills-based assessment.

In the publishing industry, we are trying different recruitment approaches and we are still searching for a way to establish best practice across the whole industry.  In academic publishing, we have started to see publishers encourage salary transparency during the recruitment process.  In trade book publishing, we have seen experimentation with AI recruitment.  We, as a recruitment agency have also started to offer transparency to our clients by outlining the diversity of our search. We ensure publishers are aware that we open up their vacancies to a wider pool of candidates than they may reach through traditional advertising or networking routes.  We hope to see publishing continue to blossom and grow through achieving meaningful diversity. 

Written by Clare Chan, Senior Publishing Recruitment Consultant.

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London Book Fair 2019

With less than two weeks to go until the 2019 London Book Fair, preparation is well under way! Not booked your ticket yet? You can here: https://www.londonbookfair.co.uk/

We are excited to again be part of one of the biggest events of the year, offering up CV advice and our expert knowledge of the publishing industry at The Careers Clinic (you will need to be registered to attend the London Book Fair to participate but they have a limited number of free London Book Fair tickets).

Would you like to meet us at the fair or after at our office near Bond Street station? Give our administrator a call on 0203 574 4420 to book an appointment!

NB: We’re running an Evening CV / Get registered Surgery event on Wednesday 6th March and you can book an appointment for anytime up until 7pm!

We are feeling extra excited because for the first time there will be a live podcast stage! With a line-up that includes Ian McEwan and Daisy Buchanan, the podcasts will be happening over the three days at The Fireside Chat Stage. You can find the podcasts events here: https://publishingperspectives.com/2019/02/london-book-fair-announces-inaugural-podcast-lineup-smartphones-pew-research/ Make sure to check it out!

Are you a first timer?

  • Plan your travel! (There are direct bus routes and Kensington Olympia has its own railway station)
  • Check out the lists of exhibitors and plan who you want to visit
  • Bring a big bag! (You may want to pick up leaflets and information)
  • There will be lots of free seminars, make sure to attend one
  • Take a notepad and pen – exhibitor stands and what they are promoting will give you industry insight that you can use in an interview
  • Network as much as you can
  • Follow up on all connections made
  • Most importantly – visit our consultants at The Careers Clinic

Are you a regular attendee? (Authors, agents, publishers)

We don’t need to tell you what to do!

But make sure you are stocked up on business cards and have planned the exhibitors you are most interested in and the seminars you want to attend!

Three of our fabulous consultants will be at The Careers Clinic!

Meet Clare Chan – Clare works on Production, non-tech Project Management, Design, Operations, Sales, Rights & International Sales in London and the Home Counties  https://www.linkedin.com/in/clare-chan-6437b068/

Meet Kellie Millar – Kellie is the manager of our temps and freelancers desk and also recruits for all Administration, HR and Finance roles https://uk.linkedin.com/in/kelliemillar

Meet Faye Jones – Faye works on Editorial (B2B & Professional), Sales, Marketing and Rights in Oxford and all areas outside London and the Home Counties https://www.linkedin.com/in/faye-jones-a94344147/

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Girls can do Anything

The panel:  Abiola Bello (Author and co-founder of Hashtag Press), Hannah Sheppard (Literary Agent, DHH Literary Agency), Charlie Morris (Senior Publicity and Marketing Executive, Stripes Books), Gillian McAllister (Sunday Times Bestselling Author)

On Wednesday, our administrators Kathryn and Anna went to the evening event Girls can do Anything, Write? The first panel discussion in a new series hosted at The Library in Covent Garden as part of the London’s Big Read 2019, inspiring an eagerly listening audience with suggestions for success in a publishing career.

Are women’s voices heard enough in the publishing industry?

The industry is predominantly populated by women so why are women rarely the ones in charge of those important decisions? After acknowledging that there are exceptions to this within the big six trade publishers, the big takeaways were:

  1. Male voices are often given more weight – women are making the hiring and firing decisions but men are rising through the ranks at faster speed.
  2. Men and women brand themselves differently – men are often more confident and actively seek a response, whilst women couch themselves with a much more passive approach. This confidence, particularly in authors trickles all the way down to the retail selling of a book.
  3. The glass ceiling has not yet been smashed – more conversations need to be had in the sharing of maternity leave for example.

On a positive note, women reign supreme in crime fiction at the moment and their voices are being heard in publicity roles across publishing.

Lesson: Be confident and share support, whatever stage you have reached in your career

(Don’t be afraid to ask AND offer!)

How can more BAME women be heard in publishing?

Publishing houses are making more of a conscious effort in their recruitment processes however, diversity reports show that there is more work to be done.

  1. There are not many BAME submissions and more books need to be published with BAME characters
  2. There is a twitter “mob mentality” around individual voices, however the existing writing community is under pressure to avoid writing diverse characters. So how do we get diverse books to young readers, with characters reflecting themselves, to encourage them become authors?
  3. It is possible that we need to start from the bottom, and address potential unconscious bias within schools and promote books outside of the educational canon.

Some Advice…

Are you an aspiring writer? Here are some useful tips:

  • FINISH THE BOOK! You can edit later, it is much easier to work on a finished manuscript.
  • Find something that triggers inspiration for you. A particular genre of films?
  • When reading, read analytically. (This is relevant to a career in publishing on the other side of the desk too!)
  • When writing, your characters should drive the plot – what do they really want? It is their goal that should lead the story.
  • It is important to network; attend events, blog, join in conversations, subscribe to industry news outlets like The Bookseller and BookBrunch. (This is relevant to a career in publishing on the other side of the desk too!)
  • TIP: Try to write 20 minutes a day and take a day off.

Do you want to get into publishing? Here are some useful tips:

  • Read a lot, especially what is being promoted, bestsellers and what is being reviewed. It is important to have knowledge of what works and the industry itself.
  • HAVE OPINIONS! When applying for a job, look for a connection between yourself and the role you are applying for.
  • Read the job advert closely, understand exactly what they are looking for and demonstrate that you have those skills.
  • Look at the companies’ social media and website and see what they value.
  • TIP: Recognise the business person within yourself and be a boss in your field!

With contributions from Anna Slevin.

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Industry Spotlight: Temping

What is temping?

Publishers contact us to book temps when they need an extra pair of hands to help them meet a deadline or when they are extra busy. These roles are also urgent with almost immediate starts. Our clients also need temps to cover sick leave or to cover whilst a new permanent team member is being recruited.  They may even consider the temp! Temp roles can range from 2 days up to 6 months and can be extended further and even lead to a permanent role.  

Temping with Atwood Tate

The Temps/Freelancers team cover roles across the entire publishing industry including trade and educational, Academic, Science as well as professional and B2B, digital and print.  They also cover administration, finance, HR, marketing, and sales.

The team are:

Kellie Millar (Temps/Freelancers Manager) kelliemillar@atwoodtate.co.uk

Novia Kingshott (Senior Recruitment Consultant) NoviaKingshott@atwoodtate.co.uk

Anna Slevin (Temps/Freelancers Administrator) annaslevin@atwoodtate.co.uk

Anna is a former Atwood Tate temp herself and had a few admin placements in Accounts Payable and Publications Teams. As she can testify temps are paid weekly on Fridays and receive holiday pay which goes into a “pot” they draw from when they go on annual leave. Temps can be paid by hour or have a day rate depending on the job.

Our clients aren’t all publishers but have a busy publishing team. These also include a royal academic society, a charity or even a standards or ratings publisher. A lot of the time when temping, skills are readily transferrable and employers are more flexible regarding your work background. Marketing roles are particularly easy to transfer across or specialist knowledge such as science or law can be very useful in editorial for those specialist subject publishers.

How will temping benefit me and is an extension guaranteed?

Sometimes temps cover a role more senior or more junior than they would typically expect. This could be in a different area to one they have worked in before or one they do because they love what the publisher works on and the job. Temping is great for exploring the industry and various companies.

Temp roles will often say “extensions possible” this is because roles can be extended for more days and weeks or a contract on the publisher’s payroll could be offered. There are no guarantees but it does happen and you are more than welcome to apply for internal vacancies while working for that publisher which may not be available to the general public.

Candidates do come to Atwood Tate specifically wanting temp or freelance work but quite often they are looking for a permanent job but don’t yet have the required experience so the Temps team can help to get that ‘foot in the door’. Once a candidate has a bit more experience in publishing, the Permanent Team can help look for a permanent role in publishing. Kellie and Novia can help you to build up that in-house experience.

What is the recruitment process for temping?

A role comes in. We tell you about it / You express interest. We put you forward. If the client chooses your CV you can start working immediately or there may be a telephone interview or even a face to face interview. Interviews are less formal and shorter with temp roles.  

As a Temp: work hard + submit timesheets + be paid on Fridays = WORK IN PUBLISHING!!!

(You also learn a lot no matter how well you know the role and get to work with some really lovely people.)

With contributions from Anna Slevin

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Industry Spotlight: STM Publishing

Welcome to Atwood Tate’s industry spotlight series, where we go behind the scenes of each of our recruitment desks to give you the scoop on working with Atwood Tate. This week Clare returns, focusing on roles in STM publishingSTM word cloud

 

What does ‘STM’ means in publishing?

STM publishing refers to scholarly, Scientific, Technical, Medical and professional publishers.  In Atwood Tate, we work with a wide range of publishers from academic and scientific publishers, learned societies, open-access publishers and professional bodies to reach out to publishing professionals.  The content is often journals or books based, for journals, there are open-access journals and subscription journals.

What will be the academic requirement?

The majority of roles we work on require a scientific degree.  It is not often that a Master’s or PhD is required but for senior editorial positions, especially working on a particular scientific subject, it is likely that a specific academic background will be needed. However, for roles that are more operational or with a strategic focus, companies might be more flexible on educational background.  Some candidates have, for example, an English degree who now work in a managerial STM publishing role so never say never!

What roles do we work on within STM publishing?

We work on roles from junior to senior level.  From Editorial or Publication Assistant, to middleweight Production Editor or Commissioning Editor; senior level Managing Editor or Publishing Operations Manager and so on.  STM publishing is a big area and it is full of potential to transfer your expertise.

Is there good progression in STM Publishing?

STM publishing is fast growing and blooming quickly so there will definitely be good progression.  Through working with different portfolio of journals and academia, you will grow your network and gain a wider knowledge of STM publishing.  Currently, a lot of STM publishers are expanding and restructuring so there are definitely opportunities to grow your career in the field.

If you are looking for a job in STM Publishing, get in touch with Clare at clarechan@atwoodtate.co.uk.

Atwood Tate is a member of ALPSP (The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers).

Keep an eye out for ScholarlySocial @ScholarlySocial which has networking meetings.

 

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SYP Alumni Event: How do you make a difference to your company when you are not the company’s decision makers?

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