It's getting around to that time of year when those in their third or fourth year of uni will be thinking about applying for those crucial first jobs or internships, and preparing to embark upon life in the working world. I don't envy you guys - my final year at uni and the job search that followed was one of the most stressful times in my life! That being said, it doesn't have to be that way. 

In the interest of being as helpful as I can be, I wanted to talk to you a little about my experiences working in publishing. I worked in magazines and freelance writing for around a year previous to working for the Press, where I've been now for a year and a half. I absolutely love where I work and, although it's taken me some time to get here, I finally feel like I can offer some solid, useful advice about getting on within the world of publishing.


GET EXPERIENCE WHERE YOU CAN - MOST OFTEN, FOR FREE. I hate that I'm writing this, but my first four months of publishing work were unpaid, living with my parents, working long hours for free because I loved what I was doing and I wanted a career. I'm not saying it's right. I'm just saying it is often what is expected, and whilst I might think that's unfortunate, I don't think anything is changing anytime soon.

KNOW WHO TO FOLLOW: Here are two must-follow Twitter accounts for anyone wanting to work in publishing anywhere within the UK: Steff Lever and Media Muppet. Both post regular entry-level opportunities as well as jobs going at every level. I can't tell you how invaluable both were in my job search. Another well-known resource is Gorkana, although I find this one less useful than the Media Muppet websites, which indexes new jobs daily.

ARE YOU TEAM DIGITAL, OR TEAM PRINT? It is possible to work straddling both, but specializing might help your career longevity and will definitely hone your skills. I think there are benefits to both - despite what might be widely thought, I don't think print publishing will die out as quickly as all that. Print magazines might have to evolve in order to survive (I'm planning a whole separate post on this, if you're interested!), but the printed word still has a lifespan, at least for a few generations' worth of careers. Both paths offer exciting challenges and limitations of their own, and I think for a lot of people it quickly becomes apparent which direction they want to pull for.

REMEMBER, YOU ARE A CREATIVE. Whatever job you're applying for, publishing is a creative industry, which means that your employers are looking for a certain type of person at interview. They're probably looking for someone who is quick to learn, adaptable to change, and has some ideas about the publishing industry and its future. Don't be afraid to inject your personality into your interview - in fact, I'd encourage discussion. Show that you're engaged in the field and aware of some of the difficulties facing your chosen publisher, and open up a conversation about the business as a whole. You'll be surprised how much you can find out about a place in an hour's conversation!

GO ABOVE AND BEYOND. This advice perhaps only applies to when you are set a task at interview, but what would you do if your closest rival at uni or school was applying for this job? Would you leave anything 'left in the tank', metaphorically speaking? My bet is you'd deliver. At my second interview, I was assigned a 'think about this scenario' task. Rather than brainstorming, I conceptualized an entire scenario, designed materials I could take into interview, and had visual materials and talking points to lead the conversation. I guess what this boils down to is take the bull by the horns. Now is not the time to be precious about idea sharing.

TAKE NOTE OF A NAME. I try to keep every name I have within publishing written down until I can request a connection on Linked In. This might seem a little bizarre, but you'd be surprised how many people you might think would be perfect to ask for advice/contribution/a recommendation later down the line, only to find that you've lost their email, or they've left their former role. Meet with people, get outside of your comfort zone, go out to lunch with a colleague. You'll always be glad you survived the first few moments of awkwardness, trust me.

GET INVOLVED. This is probably a no-brainer and something people have been saying to you since high school, but throw yourself into it. You'll be surprised how many projects and amazing, side ideas are going on once you get talking to people and find out what is happening around the business. 

READ READ READ. A piece of advice given to me at high school that I never really understood until more recent years. In publishing, we do have the luxury of being surrounded by work. Books, magazines, journals, articles - whatever it is, there's an abundance of material to dive into.

I really hope this was useful guys! Would you like to see a post about working in magazines specifically? What would you like to hear more about? I'd love to share more of my experience with you if it helps!

4 comments

  1. Loved this post Tamira. (You've been killing it recently, loved your Lena Dunham book review too). This was helpful and acted as a few little reminders to myself!

    I hope to progress in to publishing after graduation - which seems a little way away at the moment but I know it'll soon come round! I came across Steff's blog/Twitter last year and it inspired me, as I think a little confidence boost was what I needed at the time.
    I'm undertaking experience this year and really looking forward to seeing projects in a professional environment and gain a different perspective.

    As regards team digital or team print? That's a difficult one! I appreciate both and like you said, both have their own advantages and disadvantages. In my design work, it's team print!

    I'd love to see more posts about publishing or working in magazines, as I'm sure other readers will, too. We can pick your brains on your experience! :)

    Danielle xx
    danielletc.com

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    1. Thanks so much Danielle you babe! I'm so glad this was useful and will of course do some more posts for you guys :) Feel free to DM me or tweet me any time if you have a specific question though and I'll try my best to help!

      I totally understand that call - I think design that is tangible is so rewarding as opposed to doing something on screen - still equally as beautiful, but you can't 'touch' it!! I'm such a tactile person... Usually found stroking books in Waterstones...

      Thanks so much for reading and for your lovely comment. T xx

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  2. I enjoyed reading this post and there are some great tips. I'm currently trying to gain some experience in publishing, I'm determined and will not give up. Hopefully in time I will be where I want to be. I would love to see more posts about working in magazines. Maybe about how you got to where you are (what work experience you did) and what you're daily work life is like.

    Natasha
    The Night is Wild

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    1. Thanks so much Natasha, I'm glad this was useful to you! I think determination and tenacity is really important in publishing so you're off to a good start :) That's so helpful of you - I'll definitely pencil in some posts on the topics you mentioned in my editorial calendar! Thank you! T xx

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