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Upskilling Tips for Publishing Schemes

By Grace Edwards, Misha Manani and Lydia Marshall


The publishing industry is very competitive, especially for entry-level roles, but there has been a growth in opportunities via schemes in the last seven years. These are dedicated to increasing accessibility and inclusivity in the sector and allowing people to gain experience, learn, and grow. They involve placements at a company for some time, including publishers, literary agencies and bookshops, so you can understand the whole book journey from the first manuscript to the final book ready for consumers to read. We will explore the various publishing schemes in publishing and share our top tips for applying and going through the interview stage.


The Schemes


● Penguin Random House UK The Scheme: Nine people will spend six months building their experience and skills in different areas of the business, including editorial, publicity, and sales. To apply, you will need to identify as an individual from an underrepresented background.


Hachette UK Traineeship: This twelve month scheme allows ten individuals to gain a holistic and in-depth understanding of the publishing industry, with additional placements at Curtis Brown and Waterstones. This year, they also had mid-level threads for those looking to take a different step in their career.


HarperCollins UK Marketing Manager Traineeship: This is a chance for those looking to progress in their marketing role in publishing or want to transfer from another industry where they worked in marketing. Two people will be chosen to work in adult or children’s publishing with mentorship and masterclasses.


Blake Friedmann Literary Agency: The Carole Blake Open Doors Project is a chance to explore the literary agenting side of the industry with agents, rights professionals, and authors. It includes experience with meetings, daily tasks, and mentorship. The programme can be virtual or hybrid, with a mix of days in the office and at home.


Do


Build knowledge and work experience: Look for opportunities to understand the industry more. Volunteering with The Publishing Post is a great way to build your writing experience. Likewise, working in a bookshop will allow you to learn about consumers, sales, and industry trends. This will improve your job prospects and set you apart from other candidates.

Employers love to see transferable skills and relevant knowledge on a CV and cover letter.  


Seek mentorship: Being mentored by an expert in the industry is beneficial. The Society of Young Publishers (SYP) offers a mentorship scheme for publishing hopefuls and those looking to get to the next stage in their career. In this scheme, you get one-to-one support in meetings, career guidance and networking opportunities. If you are unsure about your career path, mentorship will help to point you in the right direction.


Don’t


Be close-minded: Don’t limit yourself to specific roles and companies. Do your research on the wide range of roles available to see which ones are best suited to you. In addition, don’t be discouraged from applying for schemes in big companies; be open to start-ups and smaller independent publishers.


Apply for publishing roles with a generic CV: It’s important to tailor your applications to the job you are applying for. Familiarise yourself with the job description and the company's values, and include keywords in your CV. This highlights your passion, attention to detail, and personality.


Top Tips


Utilise online platforms: Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as recruitment websites such as Jobs in Books (UK) and BookJobs.com (US), are good places to find internships and entry-level schemes. Create a professional profile and regularly check these platforms for new positions. Keep up to date with publishing newsletters/blogs and follow publishing accounts directly to see when they are advertising opportunities.


Research thoroughly: Look into big and small publishing houses to see what entry-level programmes they offer and how they align with the company’s ethos. Pay close attention to the application guidelines provided by a publishing house for a programme to ensure you are eligible and can commit the required time to complete the scheme.


Be flexible: Consider opportunities in different areas of publishing such as editorial, marketing, sales or production. Being open to various roles can increase your chances of finding entry-level schemes and allows you to trial a department in the industry that you might not have considered working in otherwise.


Persistence and patience: Landing a job in publishing can be competitive, especially at an entry level, so don’t get discouraged by rejections. Even if you had no success applying to a specific scheme for one year, don’t hesitate to give it another shot. Always keep applying, honing your skills and expanding your network.


Thank you for reading this issue! Join us again for Upskilling Tips for Pride Month in issue 98.

 

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