Introduction to Job Applications

Introduction to Job Applications

The Oxford division of the Society of Young Publishers invited us to give an introduction to job applications in publishing, as their last event before handing over to a new committee - and what a fun night it was!

Our Junior Consultant Alice gave a full presentation on the first steps to take when considering a career in publishing, and when putting together an application, with some key takeaways which are applicable to job hunters at any moment in their career. The event was in fact attended not just by entry level publishing hopefuls, but also by also people mid-career who are looking to take a horizontal step into publishing.

Alice spoke about the key places to keep in mind when looking for vacancies, including:

  • Job boards (not just LinkedIn or CV Library, but also looking at publishing-specific boards like the IPG or The Bookseller)
  • Recruitment agencies (specialist publishing recruiters like Inspired can be a great resource when you want to hear about all the jobs on the market, because they might be working on exclusive or confidential openings)
  • Publishing communities (organisations like the SYP, or BookMachine, which sometimes advertise publishing vacancies, but also organise amazing events and give some really great tips about applying for jobs in publishing)
  • Careers Services (if you’re a student, don’t forget to reach out to your school’s career department!)
  • Network (in-person or virtual events to grow your list of relationships in this industry, but also all the people you can reach out to via Twitter)

She also gave an overview of the different sectors within publishing (and how wonderfully varied this industry actually is!), and of different “products” publishers may specialise in, including books, audio, digital publishing, journals, magazines, professional publications, textbooks, exam material, partworks, games, stationary, and much more!

someone reading a cv

There were some key tips for both entry-level and middle-to-senior candidates on how to stand out when applying to publishing roles:

  1. Be open-minded about your options – Which does not mean you need to apply to all the jobs that are being advertised, but that you shouldn’t dismiss less-known publishing companies or “obscure” job titles right away. Research them, read the job description, get a better sense of that team structure and responsibilities, check the publishing catalogue and the company values and missions before deciding whether that role is not for you
  2. Tailor your application – Use that research to really tailor your cover letter to both company and specific role, and give relevant examples of skills and experiences that make you a perfect candidate for that post!
  3. Immerse yourself in the industry – Show curiosity and interest, and aim to always be expanding your knowledge of the industry and of all its components
  4. Be aware of your marketability and transferable skills – Don’t undermine the experience you have already simply because it might be in a different industry. Think about how the skills you already have which can be transferred into a publishing role, and about the advantages that additional experience gives you to be successful in a new role
  5. Research and prepare thoroughly – The process doesn’t end after submitting a cover letter, so keep up the good work and the research, and remember to prepare carefully ahead of an interview. If it’s your first interview (or first in a long time), reach out for guidance and check out our amazing library!

After a few more tips on putting together a show-stopping CV and Cover letter, the Q&A session started. There were some amazing and insightful questions from the audience, including:

Q: Is Twitter also important and relevant to other sectors of publishing, such as Academic and STM?

A: Absolutely, and there are some great sector-specific communities on Twitter, and social media trends to follow and engage with, such as #UniversityPressWeek or STM Publishing News

Q: Any tips for candidates whose native language is not English?

A: If applying for editorial jobs, make sure that you show them your English is proficient, but also remember that your native language and your different cultural perspective is an extra skill, and highlight that.

Q: What is the scope for working as a freelancer in publishing?

A: Freelancing is an incredible opportunity to know more publishers and work across different content, but keep in mind that with freelancing, employers are usually looking for someone who is immediately available and who already has experience doing the job in question.

We were so happy to have participated in this event, and we thank SYP Oxford for organising it and running it so well! Also, best of luck to the new committee, and we look forward to seeing what they have planned for this year!

If you are looking to kickstart or further your publishing career then do be sure to get in touch with our specialist team! We love meeting with all the brilliant publishing talent out there and supporting you with the next steps in your career! You can also explore all our latest vacancies and apply for roles today right here!

We always want to make sure we are producing and sharing the best content for our candidates and clients, so if there is a topic you would like us to share our expertise on within our library please get in touch with us by emailing and we'll be happy to help!




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