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How to Get into Publishing

Last week The London Book Fair hosted the event `How to get into Publishing?’. The Olympia Room was full of eager graduates, awaiting advice and tips of how to kick start their career in publishing. Here we have created a summary of what was said.

The panel:

Carl Smith https://uk.linkedin.com/in/carl-smith-8a2a3411b

Shalini Bhatt https://www.linkedin.com/in/shalini-bhatt

Katherine Reeve https://uk.linkedin.com/in/katharinereeve

Maria Vassilopoulos https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-vassilopoulos-51572320

The panel began by offering a background of themselves, what was their first role and how did the skills in this role set them apart during interviews?

  1. One of the roles was working in a bookshop as a Christmas temp. The skills developed within this role; customer service, bookselling, industry knowledge contributed to success in an interview, especially when asked `what is your favourite book?’.
  2. A hospitality background and the transferable skills developed here; customer service, working on multiple projects, confidence and working with lots of different people are skills relatable to roles within publishing.
  3. If you have not studied an English or History degree, don’t worry, for one of the panel a visual arts degree stood them out from the crowd.

Interview tip: Build a rapport with your interviewer, something you have in common can help you shine in an interview.

What are the geographical challenges and how can they be overcome?

We have to admit that most publishing roles are based in either London or Oxford. However, the big publishers are not the only ones out there. You can gain experience through working in bookshops or working for charities or library suppliers for example.

Editorial roles are not the only choice. Take a look at HR, finance, marketing and production roles also.

The Spare Room Project offers free accommodation in London whilst taking up work placements. Read our blog on the Spare Room Project here: http://ow.ly/86Ck30o88C0 More good news; internships are more often than not paid.

Interview tip: Make sure you are prepared. Research your interviewer and the company on social media, look for a talking point. What are they currently advertising/working on?

In job specs how much of the criteria do I need to meet before I apply?

You don’t have to meet all of the essential and desirable skills, but you need to meet the main essentials and demonstrate them in your CV and cover letter. 

If you feel excited by an advertisement, if you know you can do that job then go for it! There is no harm in applying.

However, be realistic and ask yourself will you feel comfortable answering questions relating to the criteria in an interview situation?

Interview tip: Go in with questions, be curious and passionate.

What are the dos and don’t’ s of CVs and cover letters?

Do’s

Introduce yourself in a personal statement at the top of your CV, your skills and what you are looking for.

Always read the job spec, pick out the key skills and buzz words and demonstrate you have them in your CV and cover letter.

Be meticulous in your spelling and grammar

Prioritise information and layout, show them you can do this in your cover letter and CV. Keep your CV at max 2 pages.

Don’ts

Overdesign your CV. Instead keep it simple, not too hard on the eyes or text heavy.

Send your CV in the correct format if requested.

Make your personal statement too generic, focus on particular skills.

Don’t list all of your previous jobs, but the most important and relatable ones which demonstrate the skills they are looking for.

Interview tip: Represent yourself in the best possible way, but be yourself! Always ask when you will hear from them of the outcome of your interview.

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