Friday, 8 January 2010

3 Things That DIDN'T Help Me Get a Job in Publishing

If you're thinking about cracking the publishing industry, let me share with you a few of my own discoveries. I've been working for a large publishing house for nearly three months now. I recently had an appraisal with the two editors I work for - it went pretty darn well. We looked back at what I had achieved so far, and set some goals for this year. It made me think about how I landed my job in the first place and, on reflection, what I didn't need to get the job. This included:

1. An MA in Publishing
Fairly controversial for me to say this. Many of the other editorial assistants have an MA in Publishing. I have a BA in English Literature, and I'm sure that I wouldn't have got the job without my degree, but it seemed that there were more important things for my employers to consider than whether or not I had a Masters degree. I suspect it was the work experience that comes with some MAs that was considered most valuable.

2. A Copy-Editing Qualification from The Publishing Training Centre (Book House)
When I graduated, I thought it would be best if I had some kind of qualification to do with publishing in order to land a job in the industry. I couldn't afford an MA (which was my first thought) so I searched around for cheaper, long-distance learning courses. I enrolled on a copy-editing course for roughly half a grand. That was about seven months ago. I still haven't completed Unit 2. During my appraisal, my bosses had even forgotten that I was enrolled on this course! They said I probably didn't need it, unless I specifically wanted to become a copy-editor - and bore myself to death, they added! Oh well. I still find the ins and outs of language and layout interesting. I will keep going with the course. I've always liked the idea of being a freelancer, so it may be a good thing to have in the future.

3. The Bookseller Jobs Bulletin
Or any well-known jobs site. For this simple reason: they are TOO well-known. Only the biggest publishers can afford to advertise with places like this, and they get hundreds - if not thousands - of people applying to one job. I applied to several jobs from sites like this and didn't hear back from any of them, not even just to say they had received my CV. Much better to look on the websites of smaller publishing companies or, better yet, find out something through word of mouth/networking!

See my post '5 Things That Helped Me Get a Job in Publishing' for further information on the things that did help me.


  1. I'm pretty sure my career path will only continue in office administration within the healthcare field, but if I decide to branch out and quit on a whim so I can try to get into publishing, I'll know what I don't need :o)

    So far though, I keep seeing "networking" coming up for just about every job type in the publishing industry, especially trying to become published.

  2. Fascinating insights, Sophie!
    Glad it's going well.

  3. Very true! It's similar in Italy but with Marketing. So many people I know are studying "Marketing" at university or looking to do a Masters in "Marketing" when in actual fact most employers just want an intelligent person with a good set of basic skills who is willing to learn.

    Wise words Ms Playle!

  4. Ok now I read that first sentence's not THAT similar...

  5. I know what you mean, Steph. There's too much focus on education, and not enough on experience and skills - which is what you really need to get most jobs.


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