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!
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