How to Find a Job in Publishing
You want to work in publishing? Great! It's a fabulous career, I love it. But where are all the jobs? How do you find a job to apply for in the first place? There are three main places to start looking, and then a sneaky one that's very unpredictable. Here we go...
These are your best friends. They are your first port of call. Most publishers have a 'work for us' or 'careers' or 'jobs at X' page on their website, with current vacancies listed. Tab them in your browser and refresh every day. I'm not joking. Some entry-level jobs are so over-subscribed, publishers sometimes post the vacancies for 24 or 48 hours only. Keep checking!
How do you find a publisher's website? And which publishers do you want to work for? Well, go to your bookshelf (IRL or on your reading device), look at your favourite books and see who the publisher is. The back cover and imprint page (that's the one with all the copyright information) usually have the publisher's website details, but if not, just pop the publisher name into your search engine and go from there. Then click around until you find their careers page.
Also start following your favourite publishers and editors on Twitter - people often promote job ads on there, too.
The Bookseller Jobs Site
This is THE central industry place for job listings. Again, bookmark it and refresh daily. Sign up for their weekly jobs bulletin email and just start getting used to scanning it. It's a great habit to be into for your later career if you're nosey - interesting to see what positions are coming up at which publishers, and who might be moving around!
It's not just The Bookseller Jobs site. BookBrunch also carries vacancy listings, and you can look at Guardian Media Jobs, but they're not as comprehensive and The Bookseller really should be your first port of call.
There are some publishing-specific recruitment agencies where you can register your CV and they'll put you forward for roles that seem like a good match. I got to a couple of final-round interviews with Inspired Selection when looking for my first job in publishing and made some great contacts (thanks, guys!). They're really helpful and it's always great to get advice on your CV and covering letter.
Especially for entry-level jobs, however, publishers often won't have the budget to use an external recruiter. So, definitely sign up with Inspired Selection, Atwood Tate and Redwood, but don't rely on them alone - make sure you're scanning all the job sites you can and applying for things by yourself, too.
Networking and personal recommendations
This is the sneaky one. It's completely unpredictable and networking might not pay off for years, but it's never too early to get started. Whether or not you've done an MA in Publishing (great networking right there), join Children's Book Circle and the Society of Young Publishers, sign up to their jobs emails and start going to their events. CHAT TO PEOPLE THERE. Make friends! Don't be shy - everyone else is shy too and everyone is there because they love publishing and also want to make publishing friends.
I didn't really understand the idea of networking when I first started out. No one told me that it's not an immediate thing; that the friends you make early on will become your champions years down the line. And it's a two-way street. I've recommended friends for jobs - both in-house and freelance - and since going freelance myself this year, I've been overwhelmed by how generous my contacts have been in putting me in touch with colleagues I'm now working with.
And that's the biggest secret about networking. Your work is your biggest networking tool. If you're interning, work as hard as you can, be polite, helpful and diligent, and when people ask your bosses for recommendations for their next assistant position, you'll be top of their list. In your first, second, and every job, be pleasant to everyone in the company, from top management to the maintenance staff (make no mistake: recruiters always ask the reception desk who was polite and who was rude at interview!). Do a good job, be a great colleague, and your work speaks for itself.
So those are the top four ways to find job vacancies in publishing. Get looking, get obsessive about looking, and starting polishing your CV. And good luck!