Tag Archives: cover letter

Advice from the Careers Clinic

Advice from the Careers Clinic

Advice from the Careers Clinic

Last week two of our consultants, Alison and Karine attended the London Book Fair Careers Clinic, run by bookcareers.com.

For all of those who were unable to attend the book fair or the Careers Clinic we wanted to provide you with the information which was most requested by those that attended.

How to write a Good CV:

We have many blog posts on writing a good CV, which you can read here:

The main things to remember when writing a CV is to include all of your publishing experience and to keep it clean and simple.

You must also remember a Cover Letter. The main thing about a cover letter is that you tailor it to each job you apply for. Try not to over complicate things and keep it as concise as possible.

For more information on cover letters take a look at this blog post:

Work Experience

The most popular questions at the Careers Clinic were about work experience.

We don’t handle work experience or internships. But to gain an entry-level job in publishing you need to have at least 3 month’s work experience in publishing.

You can gain this experience through a work experience placement, internship or through temping.

For more information about temping take a look at this post written by our temp team’s administrator Michael:

Temping is a great way to gain paid work experience, and possibly gain a full-time job upon completion of your contract. If you’re looking for an entry-level role Alison Redfearn and Kellie Millar, our temps team consultants, are your best point of contact at Atwood Tate.

For more information about looking for work experience, internships and other ways to gain experience within publishing we suggest you look at our Work Experience and Entry-Level resources page:

We hope all of this helps you on your career search. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have about gaining experiencing, applying for roles or registering with us online.

To register with Atwood Tate you can upload your CV and preferences here, and we will get back to you with information as soon as possible: Registration page. 

You can also take a look at our publishing resources leaflet which we were handing out at the careers clinic: Publishing Resources Leaflet

If you want to know something in particular get in contact with us on any of our social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

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How to Use Blogging to Get into Publishing

How to use Blogging to get into Publishing

How to Use Blogging to Get into Publishing

How relevant is blogging to publishing? You’d be surprised. Blogging is not a hobby you should start specifically to enter publishing, but if you have one: mention it!

Blogging is a growing hobby, and a new career choice, in the 21st century. Having a blog gives people a platform to discuss what they want and voice their own opinions. But it also gives you the opportunity to work with others across multiple fields of industry. Not to mention develops skills in your own time which can help you in the long-run.

If you’re just starting out and are looking for an entry-level role within publishing, blogging is a great skill to have! So long as you have some work experience to back it up, blogging can tip the balance on whether or not you get an interview or even a job!

There are many different types of blogs, and all can help you gain many skills, from Coding, Design, Marketing, networking and more! But within the Publishing industry specifically book blogging is a very relevant skill!

Book blogging, or booktubing (video blogging), gives you the chance to voice your opinions about books and the latest book trends. A book blogger can write reviews, top ten lists, trend-reviews and more and each of these topics has some relevance to publishing. If you’re an established book blogger you may even work with publishers; taking part in blog tours, hosting giveaways and Q&As and attending book events.

Through communicating with publishers through these events, and voicing your own opinions, shows a potential employee that you understand the industry. You can see trends, converse with professionals and work to deadlines in a creative and independent manner.

This is relevant to all sectors, be it Trade or B2B, and all roles from IT, Editorial, Publicity and more!

It also shows an interest outside of work, which suggests to a future employer that you are a reliable candidate with a keen sense of the publishing industry.

Whether you’re a book blogger or not; blogging is skill to add to your CV!

Here some things you can highlight to show how blogging is useful to you:

  • Commitment: The longer you’ve been blogging the better. This shows commitment and creative thinking, and also proves that you can work well independently.
  • Networking: If you’ve worked with brands or publishers mention it on your CV. Not only does it prove your communicational skills, but also shows an understanding of the industries you mention. This is particularly good if the brands are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  • Social Media and SEO abilities: Have you got 1000 twitter followers because of your blog publicity? Mention it! Do you understand SEO? Mention it!
  • Coding: If you’ve altered your HTML yourself or have learnt about it then put that down as a skill. For more information about HTML and how to do it, look at our series of posts here!
  •  Design: Did you design your blog, or make your own graphics/headers? Have you got original artwork or worked with others to create artwork? Put it on your CV.

There are so many relevant and useful skills which can be a real pull to employers when looking at CV.

Make sure you have other work experience to back up your blog experiences, but also be sure to highlight the skills you have learnt through blogging! It could mean the difference between getting a job interview and getting a job when you’re first starting out!

Need any more tips about how to enter publishing? Take a look at our Work Experience & Entry-Level Resources!

For more advice, or if you have any questions, get in touch via any of our social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

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Creative CV Design: the do’s and don’ts.

Creative CV Design: the do's and don'ts

There is lots of advice out there on how to write a good CV for most roles in publishing, and one of the key things you are told is not to put images in and not to get too creative with your layout.

But what if you are designer and images and creative layout are what you do?

So here are some things to help when applying for book designer roles * (this will post mainly talk about roles in Trade book design, but the same hints/tips can be applicable for most sectors).

Before we get started:
Firstly, bear in mind that the CV, cover letter, and your portfolio, all need to work together. Let’s call this bundle “the application pack”. Whist most people will read a cover letter first, you cannot guarantee it won’t be the CV (or even the portfolio) that they start with. So make sure each part of your application pack gives the very best impression of you and your skills that they can.

Next, remember you are a designer. You profession is essentially about imparting information in a visually impactful way. The application pack are the first pieces of your work a potential employer will see. So make sure they are good!

One hiring manager I spoke to takes all the application packs submitted for a particular job, prints them out (in black and white) and spreads them over the meeting room table. All the team then walk around, picking up their favourites. The lesson to take from this? You have to be prepared for the application pack to be viewed in multiple ways – print, screen, colour, black and white… The way to go is A4 and portrait for the CV and cover letter. A4 and either portrait or landscape for the portfolio.

Creative CV Advice

Designers, a “creative CV” can be helpful. However, it can go horribly wrong if it is badly designed or illegible.

  1. Make sure the layout is clean and readable. It is quite common to have a one page CV as a designer, but if you need more room take the full two pages.
  2. Get some personality in there – don’t just use a stock template.
  3. At the same time, don’t go over the top. The CV has a fairly traditional format for a reason. If it doesn’t clearly show your past work experience, education, and relevant skills, then it isn’t doing its job.
  4. Put dates on your CV – dates of qualifications, education, and past employment.
  5. Include a link to your portfolio on the CV. Be prepared for the CV to get separated from the rest of the application pack and handed/emailed round the office. Make it easy for the person viewing just your CV to get to the relevant information about you.
  6. Detail what your responsibilities were in each role: if you were working on covers; did layout; worked with illustrated books, children’s or adults; if you were dealing with illustrators; if you were commissioning freelancers, managing staff, etc. It’s not all about your design skills, you also have other skills to show!
  7. If your CV is in PDF format (standard for designers) and you’ve put in a link to your portfolio, make sure that the link is clickable but also fully visible. Show the person viewing on a screen that you are aware of the possibilities of InDesign. Show the person viewing a print-out that you can design for multiple audiences.
  8. Lastly, (and to reiterate the first point) it needs to be readable! Showing your skills and your creativity is great, but most importantly we need to be able to see at a glance what your experience is. If it is too much of an effort to see what you’ve been up to, the recruiter/HR might give up quickly as they likely have a big pile of CVs to go through.

Portfolio Advice

As a designer, a portfolio is essential to show that you actually have the skills you said you have in the CV.

  1. We highly recommend you have a website version of your portfolio. You don’t have to pay for a personal domain, or for a very elaborate design – unless you want to! There are lots of free services out there – behance, Tumblr, WordPress, Deviantart to name just a few. At a minimum you need a place to display examples of your work. It also shows recruiters you have technical skills in digital software
  2. But you also need to have a curated PDF version of your portfolio ready to supply if asked for it (especially if the advert expressly wants this). This demonstrates your ability to select your work, and to present it in an orderly and beautifully designed way.
  3. Try to make sure this is a fairly small file size because quite a lot of companies limit the size of attachments that can be received. 4MB is a good guide size. It also shows you are capable of choosing the appropriate resolution and image size for your audience.
  4. Avoid dark backgrounds in your application pack – it is still very common to print out applications, and often only on a B&W printer. Dark backgrounds become unreadable really easily.
  5. TAILOR YOUR PORTFOLIO – applying for a print job? Make sure your book/magazine layouts are at the top. Web-design? Feature them first. And be aware of your audience – applying for a job at a children’s publisher? Don’t feature NSFW art!
  6. In the portfolio – both web and PDF – consider using headings (books, web design, product design, adverts) and providing a bit more description about each project (e.g., “I did the full layout for this book for a paying client” , or “This is a self-started cover design to practice” …)

Cover Letter Advice

We’ve talked about cover letters before on the blog and all of that advice still holds true for designer roles. Whilst your portfolio is your main selling tool for design jobs, don’t ignore the cover letter – especially in publishing, where words matter. Take the one A4 page to clearly demonstrate your suitable skills and why you want this particular job at this particular company (and don’t forget to include that link to your portfolio!)

Some general advice

(a.k.a what-not-to-dos from a recruiter who has looked at a lot of CVs from Designers of all levels in the last few months):

  1. Illustration is not book design. Whilst the two are related, and there is often overlap, the two are different skill sets. For example, your experience illustrating gift cards doesn’t necessarily mean you have what it takes to do interior layouts for text books. Know what you are applying for and what your relevant skills/experience are.
  2. And book design can be more than just cover design. You will often need to be able to do layouts, both text and visuals. If this is specified in the job description, make sure your portfolio (and CV) details any relevant experience you have.
  3. Don’t have printers/formatting marks on the edges of your CV/portfolio/cover letter. The first impression these give is that you cannot export a document from InDesign that is suitable for your audience.
  4. Don’t try and take over my screen with Full Screen mode in the PDF. It’s just rude. Most of us live with multiple windows open.
  5. Keep your website simple – see everything I’ve already said about making things easy and readable – (and please avoid Flash if you possibly can!)

And that is it from us. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please do add them in the comments.

If you have any questions we haven’t answered through our blog or website let us know through anyone of our social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Tip of the Day

When saving your CV and cover letter, don’t just call them “cv.doc” and “cover letter.doc”.

We receive lots and lots of CVs and cover letters (as you can imagine), and it can be hard to keep track. Make it easier on us (and you), by putting your name in the file name. For example, I would call it “Claire Louise Kemp CV.doc”

Any other handy tips? Why not share them in the comments below or on Twitter (@atwoodtate).

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The Perfect Cover Letter

The Perfect Cover Letter

You have decided it is time for a new job.
You have done your research, as Stephanie suggested, and have focused on a specific sector and type of job (which may, or may not be in editorial).
You have written a good cv.
You are ready to submit your application and wait to be asked to that all important interview. Right?

Um, no. You are missing one all important step – the cover letter. I have said it before, and I am sure I will say it again, but if you want a job in Publishing, a simple “I am applying for this job, see my CV, thank you” will not get you very far. Your cover letter and CV work together, and a well written cover letter helps you stand out from the pile of 100 other cover letters a manager has to read.

Now, by “stand out”, I do not mean pink paper, or flashing font, or jokes. (You’d be surprised at what I’ve seen…) I am looking for a letter that does the following:

  1. Clearly lays out how you have the skills I (the manager) need you to have
  2. Shows a little bit of who you are as a person
  3. Shows you have taken the time to read the application and made some effort to tailor your application

Some don’ts:

  1. Use a crazy font – just… don’t. If I can’t read it, if I have to fight font options in Word, that takes time and makes me grumpy. You won’t like me grumpy.
  2. Say “I am applying for X job at Y company” when you are really applying for B job at C company. You’d be surprised at how often this simple mistake is made and is a direct effect of using a generic letter. TAILOR IT PEOPLE!
  3. Go over one page – exactly as a CV shouldn’t be more than 2 pages, ideally a cover letter shouldn’t be more than 1. The purpose of the letter is to grab attention. Leave something to talk about at the interview!
  4. Get creative with punctuation, grammar, or spelling. We aren’t all editors, but we can all use spell check. And text-speak, slang, and abbreviations are a big no-no. Keep it professional.

So how do I actually write this thing? Tell me the formula!
Ah. That’s the tricky question. Cover letter writing is much more an art than a science. I know a good letter when I read it, the same way I know a bad one. All cover letters, however, tend to follow a similar pattern.

Paragraph 1: a positive, formal introduction. “I am writing to apply for the role of Publishing Assistant as advertised by Atwood Tate.
Paragraph 2: why should an employer be interested in hiring you? Outline why you are interested in the role and why the company attracts you. Use this to demonstrate your research and how the opportunity fits into your career plans.
Paragraph 3: summarise your strengths and how they might be an advantage to the company. Make sure you relate your skills to the competencies required in the job.
Paragraph 4 (if necessary): emphasise what you can do for the company, not vice versa. Outline a relevant career goal, for example if you are applying for Sales positions do not say that you are training to be an airline pilot.
Paragraph 5: thank the employer and say you look forward to hearing from them soon.

Keep these things in mind:

  • Don’t rewrite your CV – the cover letter should provide edited, juicy highlights from your CV. Distil the key themes into one place.
  • Use your own words not formal long-winded clichés. There are some statements that are used all the time such as ‘I have excellent interpersonal skills’ and we have read them so many times they no longer have meaning.
  • Answer the question “Why should I see you?”
  • Do your research on the company and into the role to which you are applying.
  • Try to avoid using ‘I’ too much. A page of I did this and I did that is not appealing – it says to the employer that you haven’t thought about them.
    Do not use abbreviations.
  • Check and then recheck your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Get someone else to read it through also.

My final tip (because I am forever getting it wrong!) – If you start with a name (e.g. “Dear Ms Smith”) you should end with “Yours sincerely”. If you start with “Dear Sir or Madam” you should end with “Yours faithfully”.

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