Careers in 21st Century Publishing
by Francesca Zunino Harper
An OPuS event that took place on Thursday 29 September 2016.
It all started with the best possible ice-breaker and warm-up exercise: an entire hour filled with free red and white wine, courtesy of sponsors Atwood Tate recruitment agency. Is this the usual way to properly start a publishing career? If so, I’m definitely in. Having the social before the conference (thanks to the organisers, Beverley, Leander and Jane) certainly helps raise the temperature. When the talks began, the atmosphere was hot indeed, and so was the room, completely crammed with students and professionals. Of the four presenters - David Spencer from Elsevier, Emily Brand from the Bodleian Library, Robbie Cook from Rebellion, and Emily Pidgeon-Martin from Lidl – two were former Oxford Brookes students and all were genuinely enthusiastic about working in publishing, and about their studies in publishing at Brookes.
They gave us extremely interesting insights and top tips on diverse and complementary career paths in the broad world of publishing, how they can actually start, where they can lead to, and how to progress. Many aspects and a variety of roles were presented for both book and online publishing, as editors, publishers, marketing managers, for academic conglomerates, long-established newspapers, traditional institutions, independent game developers, and for non-publishing companies. Some time was also devoted to practical advice on CVs and job interviews, highlighting the importance of social media like Twitter when looking for a job or an internship. Everyone stressed how to excel in publishing citing outstanding time management, the sharpest attention to detail, and highly prioritized multitasking as absolutely fundamental.
Constantly learning new transferable skills, being a supportive team player and understanding the other teams’ roles and deadlines, and keeping an open attitude also when out of your comfort zone are all extremely valuable assets to progress in this exciting, dynamic field. Also, determination, flexibility, networking, ingenuity, creativity, critical thinking, and boldness are decisive talents as well as functional factors to always look further for new possibilities to develop and get to the next level.
As Emily Brand said, “be really passionate about something, and go for it. Learn something new every day, and make a contribution to what you love every day” – a piece of advice among the many that came out of this event that we should all always remember, as students and as professionals in this thrilling trade.
Last edited: 03 10 2016