Working in Publishing Day 2016
by Samantha Jacquest
As a student who will be looking for jobs in a matter of months, networking opportunities can sometimes be the most valuable part of a postgraduate course. When I heard about Working in Publishing Day, organized by the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, at first I thought it would be a waste of my time, as I’m from the U.S. and will be heading back home when my degree is completed. I figured, I’m not staying to work in the U.K., so there’s no point in me attending this event. But after my experience, I am extremely happy I changed my mind.
Working in Publishing Day isn’t about landing an internship or job – you’re only speaking with the industry professionals for 15 minutes during the ‘speed dating’ sessions, and after the day’s events you’re all exhausted and drinking wine. Not exactly the best time to give out your CV or ask for an interview.
Instead, you are the interviewer. The day is about you asking questions, learning all the different types of jobs available in publishing, picking the brains of some of the top industry professionals, and getting tips on CVs, interview techniques and what the publishing companies are really looking for in the newest batch of graduates.
One of the best parts about the event is that many of the professionals involved are former Oxford Brookes students and participated in WiP Day themselves, so they understand us as students and are genuinely happy to talk with us. Personally, as a student in my early twenties (with a face that makes me appear even younger), I worry that I won’t be taken seriously. But at WiP Day, between the skills sessions in the morning and the speed dating, everyone was passionate about giving us advice, answering our questions, and interested in what we had to say.
Now, I’m going to sound pretentious and quote Walt Whitman: ‘Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself’. Even though you shouldn’t go into WiP Day with the goal of getting an internship or job, it would be downright irresponsible not to have a few CVs in your bag and ask if any opportunities are available. We are students, and we’re all desperate for even a glimmer of hope of a job after graduation. But it’s important to remember this day is more for you to meet people and talk about the publishing industry, so grab a business card and follow up with an email, then ask about internships and such (trust me, I’ve done it, and it works). If you’re lucky, you could get a speed dating session with someone willing to look over your CV and give tips. Wouldn’t you feel silly if you didn’t have one on you?
WiP Day was one of my favourite networking events, and I don’t know of any other university or programme that organizes an event like this, so take advantage of it.
About the author of this article
Samanta Jacquest is studying for her Masters in Publishing at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing studies. Her interests in the publishing field include children's and young adult publishing, as well as trade lists at academic presses.
Sam is from Chicago and has a background in journalism. After completing the MA Publishing course, Sam plans to return to the States and get a job in editorial or marketing in either Boston or Chicago.
Last edited: 27 01 2018