The publishing industry today has taken the shape and strength of an avalanche. A career in this industry not only offers a great opportunity to the creative side of you, it also offers you the challenge you are looking for your career growth. An industry that is witnessing constant change, thanks to the rapidly changing technology in the publishing sector, the field now has to offer a lot of roles that were inconceivable merely a decade ago. These exciting roles are best suited for people who can adapt to change and learn the skills required to fit here.
Publishing companies are now taking in people who can not only handle the pressure and still put their creative talents to use, but also have the interest to pursue digital literacy as and when required. In short, technology and internet has made publishing a rather cool sector to work in that not only lets you work but play as you go. So how to get into an industry like this? What skills do you require? How to learn about day-to-day things happening here and how to get ahead? It all starts here.
First, you do not need to worry about your “first job” in the industry to acquire your career goals. Any job—temporary, internship, filling up someone else’s position for a short period of time—is helpful and can boost your career in ways you may have never anticipated. If you are looking for a position in editorial but instead come across one in production, go ahead and gain some experience. Or, if you are seeking for a full-time editorial position but instead are offered to proofread or copy-edit on a freelance basis, grab it. You will gain a considerable amount of experience and any aspect of the industry you learn will give you an fair idea about the way this industry functions. Also, the fact that you have taken the initiative to work minor jobs in the industry will reflect well on your resume.
Second, it’s important to keep yourself in the field. Make sure you are present on LinkedIn, Twitter, and visit literary festivals and book fairs. These are excellent when comes to building contacts. Make sure to follow publishing houses, publishers and editors on Twitter, and browse through the posts they post/ share. This is the easiest way to stay up-to-date about the publishing sector. Jobs in the publishing industry are often not advertised until a month or so—and thus you need to always keep your eyes open if you are looking for a position that’s best suited for your skills. Growing your contacts can keep you ahead with your job search if you know whom to reach to find out about a possible vacancy or a reference. Influence goes a long way in today’s market and is as much important as doing your job efficiently. Also, make sure you check websites like Inspired Selection, The Bookseller, and Publishers Weekly, they list excellent publishing jobs.
Third, impression counts. Always try to meet a publisher/ editor in person. When visiting a book fair or literary fest, dress to impress. Know who is going to be there at the event, make a list of the companies you want to work for and make sure you meet the publishers in person at the events if you can manage it. Do your homework on the latest events in the industry, be extremely well-informed and walk the talk. When you go for an interview sometime later, the publisher may recall you from the event and you can land a job. When I talk of impression, I mean your resume as well. make sure it’s crisp, well-edited. A badly edited resume does more damage to you than anything else. If you wish to work in publishing, make sure your resume and cover letter stand out.
While a qualification relevant to the industry is important, it isn’t mandatory. You do not require to do your Masters in Publishing Studies or the Arts to crack a job in the industry. Although candidates with the qualifications have an edge over others who did not study publishing, relevant work experience can make up for it big time and let your resume speak for you. The studies give you an insight into the industry but nothing can give you a better insight than working in the industry itself. You can always go for your Masters once you have landed your first job in the publishing sector. An undergraduate degree is a must though. If you are specialized in medicine, science or law, you can opt for premium publishers who deal with books on related subjects. You can opt for ELT Publishing of you have experience in teaching English language or have a teaching background. You can go for positions in Contracts and Rights if you are qualified in law, etc.
Don’t be alarmed about the technical part when it comes to the job. You can always get a hands-on experience on the job itself, and thus have an understanding of how to handle the digital/technical side. Since things are rapidly changing at the digital front, you will not be expected to know about every single technical aspect before you join the job, all that matters is you learn on the job fast and adapt to the changes faster.