The other week our Oxford-based consultants, Claire Louise Kemp and Lisa Smars, attended the Atwood Tate sponsored Oxford Publishing Society (OPuS) event Careers in 21st Century Publishing. OPuS invited four industry professionals to share their career stories and their top tips for getting into the publishing industry. What we learned was that there is no one career path you can take in publishing – and often what you thought you’d be doing is not where you actually end up!
David Spencer, Publisher Social Sciences at Elsevier
When starting university, David hadn’t really considered a career in publishing. He taught in Australia for a year, and completed a master’s of sociology in sport, before starting to apply for jobs. He landed his first job in publishing in the editorial department at Taylor & Francis. From there he advanced and got his own list responsibilities, and he recently joined Elsevier as Publisher.
Emily Brand, Managing Editor at Bodleian Library Publishing
After studying history at university Emily started working at Osprey Publishing as an Editor, stayed there for a couple of years before joining OUP as a Production Editor. Recently she started working at Bodleian Publishing as Managing Editor. Emily has been working as a freelance writer and historian alongside her full-time roles, and have published several books.
Robbie Cooke, Marketing and PR Manager at Rebellion
After finishing a Master’s in Publishing from Oxford Brookes, Robbie started his first job in publishing as Marketing Assistant at Taylor & Francis. Following on from that he worked at Boardworks, and Pearson Education before getting a job at Rebellion as a Marketing and PR Coordinator. Rebellion is primarily a games company, so not a traditional publisher as such, and when Robbie joined them, he was their first ever marketing person.
Emily Pigeon-Martin, Online Consultant at Lidl
Like Robbie, Emily also has a MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes, but so far her career has been very different. She started her publishing journey at Haymarket as Direct Marketing Executive, before working in marketing at News International and Sunday Times. After that she left more traditional publishing and joined the supermarket chain Lidl as Digital Marketing Manager.
Thing we learnt, important advice, and interesting facts:
- When you start applying for you first job in publishing, don’t be disheartened by job rejections – we all get them!
- When companies are recruiting new staff, it’s important to remember that they often look for candidates that can progress within the organisation.
- Show enthusiasm in job interviews.
- When you start your first job in publishing, remember to show initiative, manage your time properly, try your best to understand the day-to-day challenges of the people around you, get out of your comfort zone, and never stop learning.
- Don’t be afraid of maternity cover contracts – they can be a great way to gain valuable experience and to get a foot in the door of a company.
- A lot of the skills you’ll pick up are transferable.
- Networking is a key part of every job – so get good at it! (read our blog on the topic!)
- Believe in yourself.