Four books stacked together.

September 7, 2021, by indybamra1

Careers in Publishing: What To Expect in 2021 and Beyond

By Caroline Nolan, Employability Education Projects Officer

The recent encouraging news of record annual sales from Bloomsbury is an indication of how the publishing sector is responding during the pandemic. As Stephen Lotinga, CEO of the Publisher Association commented, ‘many people rediscovered their love of reading last year during lockdown.’ However, publishing is still facing a changing landscape, challenging its traditional image and roles. What will the 2021 recruitment landscape look like if you’re looking for employment in the publishing sector?

What can I do to get a head start in my search?

If you are looking to apply for a role in publishing, you can start by following these four simple steps:

1. Research the sector

The three main divisions (Trade, Education, and Scholastic) offer a wide variety of roles, the growth of digital publishing for example has facilitated the creation of new roles to respond to these changes. Don’t narrow down your choice of role, as not everyone becomes an editor or editorial assistant. You can start this by visiting the Publishers Association website which contains lots of resources that provide an in-depth understanding of the sector and the variety of roles available.

Spend time researching publishers from the big names to smaller houses. Their websites (and social media feeds) contain plenty of specific information related to forthcoming projects, authors, vacancies, and blogs! *Every successful candidate I have spoken to has not only looked at the current print list of a publisher but also knows their backlists. The Bookseller is a great starter, offering weekly information on book sales and forthcoming titles and news within the sector. Be sure to become aware of current trends and consumer insight.

You can discover plenty of vital information on the publishing webpage on the Careers and Employability website.

2. Build your skills and experience

With the increasing move into digital publishing as seen by the growth in revenue to £165 million last year, new roles are rapidly emerging. Building your digital skills could give you the edge when applying for a role or even take you into part of the sector you had not previously considered. Google Digital Garage offers a short online course or apply to the Digital Marketing Academy, alternatively, why not teach yourself a basic coding course?

Many publishing houses advertise their vacancies on their websites, do your research, and carefully look at the skills and experience they require. Unless a vacancy specifically stipulates, it is not essential to have direct publishing experience before applying for a role. Feedback from a recent successful candidate who had worked for a high street bookseller for over a year explained how her sector knowledge, teamwork, flexibility, communication, and organisational skills helped secure the role.

Alumni, Lydia Weigel now working for Penguin Random House commented at our recent Getting into Publishing event, ‘it is how you articulate your experiences and demonstrate your sector knowledge which counts.’

Direct experience through internships and summer schemes has been temporarily put on hold during Covid-19 however, these opportunities will become available again over the next year, check the individual publishing houses’ websites for more updates.

Other ways of building experience and skills are through writing for publications. You can build your writing experience through a variety of routes. The University’s Impact magazine is a great place to start gaining experience or even becoming a student blogger!

3. Put your networking into practice

Sector-specific events are insightful, you could also join The Society of Young Publishers, but it’s a good idea to be active on LinkedIn to build personal connections with individuals from companies that interest you. You might even find University of Nottingham alumni who are working in your area or company of interest, and there’s no harm in reaching out to them! They might be able to give you an insight into the company’s workplace culture. Read more about the benefits of networking.

4. Talk to a careers adviser

If you’re unsure about how to get started with your job search, or are not feeling confident with a particular stage of the recruitment process, or have too many career ideas, make sure you contact one of our career advisers.

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceGraduating in 2021