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Work experience in Publishing – Is this the best way to break into publishing?


Common Symptom #1: Work Experience

  • Work experience. Are those two words causing you dread? It’s a natural reaction if they do.

For anyone renting privately in London, working for free simply isn’t viable. But don’t despair. There are publishers offering paid internships from £200-300 per week, depending on sector. It’s not for the faint of heart but it is worth it, if you really want it.

And therein lies part of the problem – a lot of people really want it. The market is saturated, which has in part devalued any and all graduates trying hard to break into the industry. You’re a fearsome young go-getter, dedicated, driven and you love books more than anyone else in the world – except the next person!

When you have no experience to refer to, you’re not exactly starting from a position of strength. So, work experience in publishing becomes the avenue through which you not only separate yourself from the pack but make the necessary contacts. While we all might like to think that our CV speaks for itself, the fact is that people remember a face, a conversation, an attitude, more than the most articulate and knowledgeable covering letter ever put to paper.

A publishing internship, or even a few weeks’ work experience in a publishing environment, puts you in the building. Here, at Atwood Tate, we call it FID – foot in door. And it’s a good place to start, particularly when it comes to temping.

On the temps and freelance desk, the turnaround is sometimes so quick an intern is exactly what we need, someone who has some experience but is not necessarily a seasoned pro, or doesn’t have a 4-week notice to give, and is looking to prove themselves. These are often jobs which are not long-term but might last the duration of, say, a project or acting as an additional resource during a busy period. Experienced candidates are not much interested in jumping ship for a few months but junior candidates can use this as a springboard to the rest of their publishing career.

A lot of publishing houses offer publishing internships and work experience. Many of them advertise them directly on their Careers page. Sites like Indeed and the Publishers Association also advertise them, as well as on company Twitter pages, the Society of Young Publishers and blogs such as Publishing Interns.

It’s important to do a little research and know what sector you’d like to work in. And when you’ve gotten your foot in the door, let us know – we just might be able to help you open it the rest of the way!

For more advice about entering publishing follow us on twitter at @AtwoodTate and Instagram for daily pieces of advice, or like us on Facebook and LinkedIn for all of our latest job postings, including Temporary and Freelance!


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Temping, On the Runway Towards Paid Employment

I would like to give hope to those interns out there slogging their guts out and working for free. You are developing the skills for the new publishing age and are the new stars of the industry. This is where a great temps recruiter can help you with that next step and getting paid. As a temp, you are not yet in a stable role, but this time you can actually afford a round at the bar!

As an intern you are on your own. Thrown in at the deep end, no one to hold your hand.  Well, a recruiter, acts as your agent. They keep in contact with their talent and develop a partnership. They do a lot of work on your behalf, also informing you about new jobs as they arise.

When you are temping, there is a lot of trust involved. Clients provide a set of criteria and instructions to follow. It is up to a recruiter to meet that criteria. When a recruiter gives you advice such as amending your CV or writing a cover letter, that recruiter is trying their best to help you get a job and also meet the client’s demands. Publishing is a very competitive industry for you and for them. It may take that little bit of extra work but once when you are on your way to getting your first pay packet how happy will you be?

Once when you are in a temporary job, you need to make sure that your line manager is happy but so is your recruiter. It sounds like a lot of pressure, I know. But when the client feeds back to the recruiter with glowing reports about your work, guess who the recruiter calls again?  It is also very important to get your timesheet signed by your line manager and back to the recruiter every week. This document helps you get paid. It is easy to forget in the beginning, and your recruiter will remind you to get it submitted on time, but as a temp, it is your responsibility to remember. A good recruiter doesn’t just throw you in at the deep end, they email and call to see how you are getting on, and answer any questions you may have.

The relationship you have with your recruiter does not have to stop with one assignment.  Ok, so you may get another internship or work for someone else.  When the time comes, you will call your recruiter again because they showed they cared about you, made sure you had all the knowledge necessary and helped you with interview tips to land that all important paid role.

But remember too. You also helped that recruiter by being the star that you are, proving yourself and doing a great job.  When the time comes and you have the power to use an agency to recruit staff, your recruiter wants you to remember them fondly too.

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