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The Spare Room Project: Helen’s Experience Hosting Publishing Interns

What is the Spare Room Project and how does it work?

Let’s be honest, opportunities in the publishing industry are mainly in London and this can be a real obstacle for anyone looking to enter the industry from outside of the capital. This is where the Spare Room Project comes in.  In 2016, James Spackman (publisher and consultant) with the support of the Publishers Association, set up this project, which provides aspiring publishers with the opportunity to stay in the city for free and take up work experience placements.

So how does it work?  It’s simple really: interns are matched with hosts who are willing to offer their spare room for a week.  If you sign up to the Spare Room Project, you’ll be added to a mailing list and alerted when there are new lodgers to host.  There’s no immediate obligation to host and you only need reply when you see dates that will work for you.  I would urge anyone with a spare room to sign up and see whether you can help now or in the future.

Helen’s experience hosting interns

I’m excited to be hosting my third Spare Room Project intern in June.  Not being a Londoner by upbringing, I am sympathetic to the challenges facing anyone looking to enter the industry from outside of the publishing hubs of London, Oxford and Cambridge, so it’s been great to be involved in this scheme.  It’s not only good to be doing something practical to enable those without existing contacts to gain an insight into publishing and hopefully get a foot in the door, but it’s also been an enjoyable and enriching experience from my point of view.  We’ve had two quite different guests so far, one who was a huge fan of musical theatre and managed to get cheap tickets for shows most evenings, so we hardly saw her and our second guest, who quickly became part of the family and was a huge hit with (and incredibly tolerant of) my children.  Quite different experiences, but both were perfect lodgers and no problem at all to host.

You can find out more here https://thespareroomproject.co.uk/ or on their Twitter, @SpareRoomProj, and don’t just take my word for it, read some of the testimonials on the PA’s website and check out their FAQs https://www.publishers.org.uk/activities/inclusivity/spare-room-project/.

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Why you should apply for a job through Atwood Tate

There is an unfortunate misconception among some job-seekers that recruitment agencies don’t offer any additional value over applying directly to a company. An even worse myth is that applying through an agency will cost you money, either up front or off your future salary! This is absolutely not the case, so today I’d like to counter a few of these myths with the facts.

Our service is completely free to candidates

The way we make money is by charging our clients a percentage commission from the salary of any candidate we place with them. This does NOT come off the candidate’s salary. In fact, it just comes out of the client’s recruitment budget. Every vacancy will have a recruitment budget, whether the company is recruiting in house or outsourcing to an agency. There are costs involved with in house recruitment as well as agency recruitment, but these will not impact you as a candidate.

We can tell you more than a job ad

There’s only so much you can tell from a job ad, or even a detailed job description. We get briefed directly by the hiring manager so we understand exactly what the job entails and what the hiring manager is looking for. We can also help you prep for the interview and tell you what to expect.

We make sure you get feedback

There’s nothing worse than going to a job interview and getting rejected without a word of feedback. We make sure you get feedback after every interview, so you can improve your technique for next time. We’ll keep you updated at all stages of the recruitment process so you’re never left in the dark.

We can negotiate on your behalf

Sometimes the salary range is non-negotiable, but other times there is room for discussion on either the salary or the whole package. We are experienced negotiators and have great relationships with our clients, so are happy to handle this for you.

Register for our free job alerts

We offer a fast, free email job alert service which lets you know immediately when we have new jobs in which match your preferences. If you’re on our database, we’ll get in touch with you directly when we have a role in for you, so you can be the first to get your application in without having to spend all your time refreshing job sites.

 

We can help you find a new role, whether you’re looking for freelance work, a temporary contract or a permanent role – full or part time. Have a look at our current vacancies on our website and apply online, or email your CV to info@atwoodtate.co.uk so we can add you to our database!

 

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5 Great Reasons to Work in Academic Publishing

Today marks the end of Academic Book Week 2018 (#AcBookWeek), which is ‘a week-long celebration of the diversity, variety and influence of academic books aiming to open up a dialogue between the makers, providers and readers of academic books.’

Academic publishers produce and sell scholarly journals, books, eBooks, text books and reference works for researchers, students and academic libraries. We work with a lot of academic publishers on a variety of roles, from Editors to Marketing gurus to Production Controllers to Salespeople, in permanent, temporary and freelance positions. It’s an exciting and rewarding industry to be in, and here’s why:

  1. You work on cutting-edge research from top academics. The articles and books you publish will help teach new generations of students, and may even revolutionise the field. You could even publish work on sociology and politics which helps to shape public policy. If you’re looking for a rewarding career that makes a difference, academic publishing could be for you.
  2. Use your strong academic background in a related field. Your humanities or arts degree or postgraduate degree will be invaluable in an editorial role in academic publishing, so you can continue working on the subjects you love. (N.b. you do NOT need a PhD to work in academic publishing, but it is an advantage in some areas. A keen interest in the subject area is essential.)
  3. In a world of fake news and the devaluation of experts, be part of an industry which values intellectual rigour and research integrity through peer review processes.
  4. Be at the centre of exciting debates and advances in the industry. Join the debate on Open-Access or be at the forefront of technological advances in academic materials and e-learning. If you’re into tech and finding new ways of engaging digitally-savvy audiences, academic publishing is an exciting place to be.
  5. While it’s not all about the money, the salaries are often higher in academic publishing than in other sectors like trade.

So what’s your favourite thing about working in academic publishing?

For more information about what academic publishing is and how you can get into it, see our blog posts here and here.

To see our current academic vacancies, click here.

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How to Have a Successful London Book Fair

With less than a week to go until the start of the London Book Fair 2018, here’s a collection of our top tips so you have a fun and successful time. These suggestions are aimed at first-timers, whether you’re coming as a student, job-seeker, intern or first-jobber, but it’s good to keep them in mind no matter where you are in your career.

  • Wear flat shoes

    You might be tempted to wear heels, but trust me, you will regret this decision. The Olympia is huge, and you are likely to be on your feet all day. Dress code varies according to the sector you’re in, but you can’t go wrong with business casual. Your old gym trainers are probably a no-no, but a clean pair of flat shoes or boots will be fine.

  • Plan your time in advance

    You might have meetings booked or be required to be on your company’s stand at certain times. Check the list of seminars in the programme so you have a rough idea of the things you don’t want to miss. There’s so much on and it’s such a big venue that you’re bound to miss things otherwise.

  • Plan some chill-out time

    It will get exhausting walking around all day, so plan some time to yourself so you can sit down and have a cup of tea or some lunch. If you are nervous in crowds, plan somewhere you can go to escape for a while if you get overwhelmed. This is close to impossible in the venue itself, as the bathrooms and cafés are packed all day, so plan in advance somewhere you can go nearby. This is a tough event for anyone prone to anxiety in crowds, so be prepared and look out for friends and colleagues who might be struggling a bit.

  • Bring a portable phone charger

    It goes without saying – you don’t want your phone to die halfway through the day. Download the Book Fair app for a convenient map and timetable of the event, and stay up to date on Twitter by following the #LBF18 hashtag. Take photos! Take pictures of stands you like as a reminder to yourself, or share them on social media.

  • Come to the Careers Clinic on Thursday

    Remember to bring your CV if you’re coming to this event. Two of our consultants, Alison and Christina, will be at the clinic along with other publishing HR and recruitment professionals, ready to answer your questions and offer advice. This is the place to go if you are job-seeking. Other people around the fair and on stands are not there for recruitment purposes so it’s best not to go around handing out your CV outside of this event.

  • Remember to stay hydrated!

    Bring a bottle of water (and maybe a snack if you’re super organised). It’s very easy to get hot and dehydrated, and queues are long and prices high at the cafes.

We look forward to meeting you there! Keep in contact via our Twitter or come along to the Careers Clinic. Also see our previous blog post about What to Expect at the London Book Fair.

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Byte the Book | Buzz Words: How Can You Build a Community Around Your Content

Last night I attended Byte the Book’s event on marketing and building a community around your content, sponsored by Bookswarm. As Atwood Tate’s Social Media Coordinator, I found the talk from industry leaders and influencers really interesting.

We gathered in the chapel at the House of St Barnabas (a not-for-profit private members’ club working against homelessness), which was a beautiful if unconventional venue. The wine I’d bought not long before had to be quickly finished off as we couldn’t bring alcohol into the chapel. As I sat on a hard wooden pew, I drafted a tweet with an image of the chapel, which I immediately had to delete upon being told the crucifix hanging over the alter was in fact copyrighted.

the chapel and full audience waiting for the discussion to begin

The chapel sans crucifix

At any other panel talk, the audience being glued to their phones throughout would be considered rude. At a digital marketing discussion, it’s encouraged, with live updates from the #BytetheBook hashtag projected on to the screen behind the speakers.

Digital Marketing Tips from the Panellists

Lysanne Currie, a journalist and digital strategist, chaired the discussion. She began by asking Laura Lindsay, Director of Global Communications at Lonely Planet, about the community of travellers Lonely Planet has built online and offline. Lindsay recounts how Lonely Planet started its online community in the 1990s by sharing letters from their readers. They were one of the first brands on Twitter, and built their following by sharing content from their community of travellers, not just sharing marketing materials. Building an online community, she says, is no different to building a ‘real world’ community.

Children’s author Piers Torday notes the barriers to connecting directly with readers online when those readers are children, so he embeds himself in distinct communities of parents, librarians and teachers. These are the gatekeepers and the people who buy children’s books. He also discusses the differences between content on different platforms. Twitter, he says, is great for conversations. Instagram is best for curated storytelling.

Leena Normington, YouTuber and Social Media Producer at Vintage Books, advises the audience to choose what platform(s) work for you, and not worry about using every platform. She notes the different demographics engaging with different media – for example podcasts tend to have a slightly older and more male audience than YouTube videos. She also emphasises treating your online audience as real people, not only as viewers or subscribers.

The panellists agree that the key to a great social media presence is to be consistent and to be genuine. Have a schedule for uploading content and show who you are as a person, rather than just marketing your book. Try new things and experiment, see what works for you and it’s okay to stop if it’s not working.

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Is a Publishing MA right for me?

A Publishing MA can be a big boost to your CV, due to the technical and theoretical knowledge it can give you, as well as the practical work experience you will gain. It is by no means a prerequisite for a job in publishing, but it can help when you enter an over-saturated job market. However, it’s not for everyone and lots of people get into the industry via other means, such as internships and work experience. Before you apply, you should consider whether the course is right for you.

What universities offer a Publishing MA course?

Some universities which offer the course include:

Things to consider

Cost

Fees vary between universities, but are usually around £6,000-£10,000. You will also need to fund living expenses. UK postgraduate students can apply for a loan of up to £10,280 (https://www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan/what-youll-get), and there are various bursaries available. See the websites of individual courses for more information about the financial support they can offer.

You may want to work part-time during your MA; however, if your course includes full-time work experience placements as well as studying, then consider whether you will have time to work alongside it.

What does the course cover?

What sectors of the publishing industry does the course look at – trade? Academic? STM? And what job roles/departments will you learn about – editorial? Production? Marketing?

If you are not 100% sure which area you want to go into, a Publishing MA can be a great way of finding our more information about areas you may not have previously considered. Then you can make an informed decision about your future career path rather than going in blind.

Links to publishing houses

What publishing houses does the course have links with? Ask where previous students have done placements and consider whether these are the types of companies you want to work for. Work placements and contacts at top companies are one of the most valuable components of publishing courses.

Other things to think about

  • Are you the kind of person who likes working in an academic environment? Are you prepared for the exams and/or dissertation or would you rather gain your skills on the job?
  • Will this help you get a foot in the door or increase your future earning potential?
  • Have you already done some work experience in the publishing industry? This can help you make sure this is the right career for you – before you spend any money.

For more information about getting into publishing, please see our Work Experience and Entry-Level Resources page.

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5 Steps to Achieve Your Career Goals in 2018

The beginning of a new year is a good time to reassess where you are in your career and where you would like to be. This is the first stage of achieving your career goals. As we begin 2018, start making a plan of how to fulfil your ambitions and get the most out of your career.

1)   Assess where you currently are compared to where you want to be

Do you know what a typical career ladder in your field might look like? If not, it’s time to do some research. Ask colleagues, contacts, even Google. Or have a browse of Linked In at the people who are doing the job you want to be doing – and see the steps they took to get there. (You might want to check your Linked In privacy settings first if you don’t want them to know you’re looking at their profile!)

We also post infographics showing, for example, a career path for Production, on our Facebook page! Follow us to keep up to date.

2)   Decide on a timeline

It’s not a good idea to be looking for a new job or a promotion if you’ve only just started in a new role. Hiring Managers will be wary of someone who has switched jobs every six months. 2018 might not be the year you get that new, dream job, but that doesn’t mean you’re not moving forward and getting closer to achieving your goals.

Alternatively, it may be that the time is right and you’re ready to move on to new challenges. If that’s the case, get in touch! Register on our website, or if you are already registered, make sure we have your up-to-date CV. We’d be happy to help you in your search!

Speaking of…

3)   Update your CV

Make sure it’s up to date and looks its best. Ask for feedback from people you know. Also see our advice on our blog, like our recent post on the Do’s and Don’ts of CVs.

4)   Brush up on your skills

Are there skills you know would be useful in your career that you haven’t got around to learning? If training opportunities arise in your current job, take them! Or if not, there are great resources available online. Codeacademy is a great free resource to learn to code, including HTML and CSS. Alternatively, if you have the resources, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) offer a number of reputable online or classroom-based courses. Also see what’s coming up from:

5)   Follow through

It’s easy to start the year full of motivation, but it’s hard to follow this momentum through all year. Set yourself deadlines if you’re learning new skills, or print out your career resolutions and stick them above your desk at home so you can see it and be reminded of your goals.

Good luck! We wish you the best in achieving your career goals this year, and hope you’ll be in touch with us if you’re looking for a change so we can help.

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Tips for Video Interview Success

Video interviews are becoming increasingly popular. They may take two forms: they may be conducted via Skype or a similar platform, where you talk in real-time to an interviewer, or they may involve recording answers to pre-set questions without the presence of an interviewer. The former is similar to a face-to-face interview, although there are a few things you should watch out for. The latter may feel more unnatural if you haven’t done one before, but remember everyone is in the same boat and there is nothing to worry about!

Our Top Tips for Success in your Video Interview

  • Make sure you won’t be interrupted. Remember that video interview on the BBC that went viral when the interviewees children came bursting into the background? Interviewers will probably understand if something like that happens, but it’s likely to throw you off your game! Make sure your children, pets, roommates etc. are aware of what you’re doing and are kept out of the room. You don’t want your cat walking all over your keyboard in the middle of the interview!
  • Use a plain background – a plain wall is ideal. You don’t want the interviewer to be distracted by the stack of laundry in the background or your unusual taste in posters.
  • If it’s a Skype interview, make sure you check your webcam and microphone are working well before your scheduled interview time. Call a friend or family member to check, and to help calm your nerves.
  • If you have to record your answers, make sure you practice and listen to yourself back a couple of times. Without the presence of an interviewer, it’s easy to feel awkward and that can come across in the recording. Practising will help you feel more natural.
  • Dress smartly – as you would for a face-to-face interview – and not just on the top half. You’ll feel more in the interview ‘zone’ as well as coming across more professional.
  • Look at the camera, not yourself. This will give an appearance of eye contact, otherwise you’ll appear to be looking down.
  • Relax – you’ve got this!

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CV Tips – Do’s and Don’ts

Working in recruitment, we look at a LOT of CVs. One thing that can help or hinder a candidate is how they’ve laid out their CV – we try to look past the structure to the content, but this is made MUCH easier when the information is presented clearly and logically. It’s not about fancy designs (unless you are applying for design roles), but a well-structured CV demonstrates your written communication skills, which are essential in any publishing job.

Do

DO clearly set out the dates (month and year) you worked at any position.

e.g. November 2015 – October 2017        Atwood Publishing          Sales Assistant

DO use concrete figures and examples to back up your achievements. Statistics sound impressive!

DO use bullet points which list your responsibilities and accomplishments in each previous role.

DO include a brief ‘Profile’ at the top of your CV. This is optional, but can give you an opportunity to highlight your most relevant skills and experience for the job. It should be tailored to each role you apply for. Do NOT exceed a couple of sentences.

DO save your document as a Word or PDF document and name it something like ‘Jane Bloggs CV’.

DO specify the relevant IT programmes or programming languages you are competent in under your ‘Skills’ section – InDesign, Microsoft Office, WordPress, HTML etc. Also mention if you can speak any foreign languages.

DO maintain a professional style. You can include details of your interests to make it personal; however, a CV shouldn’t be in an informal or ‘chatty’ style.

DO list your education and employment in reverse chronological order. However, if your most relevant experience is not your most recent, you may want to do a separate ‘Relevant Experience’ section above your ‘Recent Employment’ section.

DO provide a link to your LinkedIn profile, and if it’s relevant (such as for publicity roles) your Twitter handle or blog URL.

Don’t

DON’T write long paragraphs. It makes the relevant information harder to find and a Hiring Manager might miss something important.

DON’T go over two sides of A4. You need to demonstrate you can prioritise relevant information.

DON’T include a picture, date of birth or details of your marital status.

DON’T write ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top. It’s a waste of space as the hiring manager already knows what they’re looking at, so just put your full name.

DON’T list all your GCSEs or O-Levels, as it takes up too much space. It’s fine to put ‘3 x A grades, 6 x B grades, 1 x C grade, including English and Maths at grade B.’

DON’T include details of every module you took for your degree, but only include something if it’s relevant for the role you want.

DON’T mention anything political or controversial.

Other Resources

See our suggested CV layout here! You can also find more resources on our advice page.

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SYP Panel Talk: “How to assert yourself in publishing”

SYP Panel Talk: “How to assert yourself in publishing”

On Tuesday night, I went to my first SYP event, which was a panel talk on “How to assert yourself in publishing”. On the panel were: Roly Allen (@roly_allen) a Publisher at Ilex, part of Hachette UK,  Bryony Woods (@BryonyWoods)  Literary Agent at Diamond Khan and Woods,  Ailah Ahmed (@ailahahmed), Commissioning Editor at Little, Brown, part of Hachette UK, and Pinelopi Pourpoutidou, Head of Foreign & Digital Sales at Michael O’Mara Publishing.

Discussion ranged from topics such as knowing when it is time to speak up in meetings, what confidence is, and whether maternity-leave affects career progression, and what can be done to change this. Here are 7 of the top tips to take away from the evening.

 

On Applications…

1. Keep your cover letters short and specific to the job

Cover letters do not need be very long. Half a side of A4 will suffice. Make it short and sharp and to the point. Outline your key skills and how they make you suitable for the requirements of the role. Investigate the company, know what they do. Say why you want to work for them and why they should want you to work for them.

2. Sell yourself in your interests.

The interests section in your CV is your chance to sell yourself, and gives the company an idea of you as a real person. Be honest, but also be professional. Do you play sports, play in a band, part of an activity/ interest club, been travelling? Make sure you share!

 

On Confidence…

3. Fake it till you make it

Few people can start in a role and have complete confidence right away. It is learnt over time as you acclimatise to the role. Being nervous as you start out is normal, but if you are not confident, you can just pretend you are. The panel suggested Amy Cuddy’s method of ‘Fake it Till You Make It”. Watch her TED Talk on it here: https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are

The panel also suggested Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg as a resource particularly for women with tips and advice on how to build confidence and how to be a successful leader in the workplace.

 4. Loudness isn’t confidence- knowing what you’re talking about is.

Don’t think that you will come across as confident just by talking louder and being brash and confrontational. Being quieter and more introverted doesn’t mean that you are less effective or less valuable. What is important is preparing your facts before you talk and share. An idea that you have investigated and can support with facts and realistic costings is much more useful than something unprepared, said loudly.

5. Form a support network, even if just an informal one.

One tip suggested, especially to benefit people from minorities with less representation in the industry, was to form a support network with people in the industry who have come from a similar background. Either in your company, or out wider out into the industry; find someone or a group of people who are at a similar stage to you, and people you feel you can confide in, and ask advice from, who you can meet up with once a month over a coffee.

6. Don’t be afraid of speaking up in meetings, but know when to stop.

If you have an idea that is relevant, share it. But if you are told it will not work, then know when to stop.

 

On Asking for More…

7. When to ask for a pay rise

The panel suggested that you should perhaps start thinking about asking for a pay rise after a year into a role. An employer should not think less of you for asking, and the worst that they can say is no. If they do reject your request, ask if you can review this decision in 3 to 6 months. They suggested that you should pick your time to ask also based on what the situation of both you and your company are. If the company is making cut backs, it might not be the correct time to ask. But if you have had a period of success (as opposed to just one success), then you should ask. Your request should make a case for your worth to the company, and why you deserve this rise.

 

This was a fascinating talk, and all the speakers were enthusiastic and entertaining. Thanks to the speakers and The SYP for hosting the event!

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