Working in Publishing Day 2012
MA Publishing student Zoe Carroll writes about her experience at the Working in Publishing Day at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies
On the morning of our Working in Publishing Day we arrived eager with anticipation and slightly nervous, crowding around the final list of appointments to double check our timetables. The process of signing up for the day had been hotly disputed the previous week, as our student representatives worked hard to ensure everyone would have a fair chance of getting the appointments they wanted. But with 35 industry representatives to choose from there was no shortage of choice or opportunity. I had greedily signed up for the maximum number of sessions, excited by the big names like Penguin, Bloomsbury, Faber and Faber and OUP. Of course, there were also a wealth of smaller publishers, like BrainPop, as well as literary agents and recruitment agencies, who were all well worth a look.
In the morning we had a panel of alumni who talked us through their application process and first experiences of working in the industry. It was encouraging to hear that although the process may not have been easy for them, they had all found jobs they enjoyed. I was also interested to see how many different career paths alumni had taken, which reminded me of the variety of options that await me once I’ve finished my MA. On a more sobering note, our careers adviser took us through some common pitfalls for CV and covering letters. Both sessions were very practical and left me keen to start my search for employment immediately.
With little time to reflect on the morning’s lessons, we were thrown into the main event: speed dating for publishers! Every fifteen minutes, at the sound of a whistle blown enthusiastically by Angus, the Director of the Centre, we acted out something similar to a game of musical chairs. I quickly regretted my coat and bags, which were an added complication as I weaved between the desks searching for my next appointment amongst the sea of publishers. Despite the slight tendency for confusion, the whole experience was very rewarding. In the space of a few hours I had conversations about aspects of the industry ranging from predictions for the next big thing in YA publishing to digital developments at Faber Finds. My notebook was loaded with top tips for interviews, CVs and job searches and I had confirmed that working in publishing was the career for me.
Tired out, head spinning from the day’s events, we all finished off the day with some well-earned wine. Swapping experiences with my friends and colleagues it was clear that everyone had had a rewarding day. Some had managed to use the day to make contacts for our classes and projects, others had just enjoyed chatting to people from the industry, but everyone had benefited from the experience.
Filed Under Publishing