Helen Harradine is a Senior Consultant at Inspired Selection specialising in placing talent across the Trade Publishing industry.
Q1. Is it easy to change to a career in publishing?
It’s not easy to change and move into a different industry but it’s not impossible! Publishing is a very competitive industry so it's good to be clear about why you want a foot in the door. What do you thrive doing? What are your values, interests and transferable skills?
Q2. How do I find out about new jobs in publishing?
You can search via @InspiredJobs and sign up to our Vacancy Update Service. @thebookseller and also twitter are fantastic resources. I would recommend attending networking events like @SYP_UK (who support those in their first 10 years of their career) and @boroughbookbash .
Q3. How often do people change their career in publishing? Is it difficult to move around? For example, moving from marketing to rights?
I've seen people successfully move around departments - a lot of expertise can be learned on the job. What employers look for is the right attitude, passions and market/consumer knowledge.
Q4. What transferrable skills do jobs in publishing provide?
I could go on about transferable skills until the cows come home! What are your skills and capabilities? You WILL have transferable skills - learn what they are and how they are transferable to the publishing industry. Industry outsiders have many transferable skills and knowledge.
Q5. What breeds better results for a new career - a good CV or a large network of contacts?
CVs are out of vogue and many publishers are asking you to complete a questionnaire rather than submit a CV. In this case it is all about your tailored answers and making sure you highlight your transferable skills and abilities. Contacts are not the be all and end all but publishing is a very sociable industry. You can learn so much by talking to others around you, even via twitter!
Q6. How long on average will a new hiring process take, from application to securing the position?
This differs with each process and depends if the hiring manager is going on holiday or not but on average around 6 weeks and on average a two-stage interview process.
Q8. Are there any events or conferences that would help to build skills in order to help me change my career?
My favourite conference is The Society of Young Publishers Conference as it is tailored for individuals of any age in their first ten years of their publishing career. This is an annual whole day event with various streams. Here is a little write-up of what it is all about: https://bit.ly/2D8PcuS.
@PublishersAssoc, @bookmachine and @bytethebook put on panel events. We also sponsor seminar streams @LondonBookFair that are good to attend to learn about different careers and routes in publishing.
Q7. Which roles in publishing involve working with lots of people?
Publishing is all about teamwork, it normally takes a lot of people and work to publish a book well! You will be liaising with your colleagues and working together in all department but if you are a people-person than think about sales or publicity as options for you.
Q9. Where could I find some work experience to help with changing my career?
We should tie back to transferable skills here – you do not necessarily need work experience. It is good to focus on what skills you have built up through other work: organisation, admin, attention to detail, sales/selling/negotiation, relationship building, problem solving etc.
Q10. Why do you love working in publishing?
I love working in publishing! I am so fascinated by the stories publishing people create with their careers. Books change lives, the people within this industry make these books in various different formats & are truly passionate about the products they work with.
Work in Publishing Week (19th-23rd November 2018) is a week long campaign to celebrate careers in publishing.