Getting into Publishing

9192994978_9629401864_oGetting into publishing is often less structured than other industries; advertised entry level positions and graduate schemes are few and far between, but don’t be disheartened. If you are sure about publishing, as well as determined and resilient, you will find your way in. We have compiled a list of top tips so that you can get your foot in the door.

Know your area

Publishing is an enormous sector and, like any division, there are subdivisions. Googling ‘jobs in publishing’ will return a sea of information that is both daunting and difficult to sift through. Before you start your search, identify the area of publishing you want to get into. Firstly, identify the kind of media that interests you. This could be: magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites, books, eBooks, comics or even B2B. Secondly, identify content. For example, if it is magazines you have in mind, what kind of magazines? Is it women’s lifestyle or political satire? Once you have identified both the format and the content, then you can roll up your sleeves and start doing some research! Grab your laptop and open Google and an Excel Spreadsheet. Make a list of all the women’s lifestyle magazines – or whatever it is – that you can see yourself working at. If you can, try and establish a contact at each of these publications. To continue with the women’s lifestyle magazine scenario, nearly all physical publications will include a list of the editorial staff and, often, a contact email address or telephone number.

Know your role

In publishing, an editorial role tends to be the most sought after and, consequently, the most difficult to secure. But editorial roles are not the only roles in publishing. There are roles in rights, sales, design, PR, marketing, audio and so on. As Martha Ashby, editor at HarperCollins advises, “Find an author you love and research their team – who designs their books, who does their PR, who is their agent. And, without sounding creepy, do some online stalking and then politely send some enquiries out to different areas of publishing.” Once you have established a role that you feel is for you, you can start thinking about how to develop a skillset that is applicable. If you can’t decide what role is for you, it can help to have a detailed conversation with somebody. The Careers and Enterprise Centre can offer you this, so book an appointment if you need help!

Get some experience

Before you can start applying for graduate jobs in publishing, you will need some experience that can demonstrate both an interest in the sector, and those all-important transferable skills: excellent written and verbal communication, attention to detail and interpersonal skills to name just a few. There are lots of ways you can gain experience to prepare you for a publishing graduate role.

  • Because publishing is becoming increasingly digitised, why not demonstrate passion, commitment and digital literacy by opening a blog or website? Sites like WordPress and Wix provide free blog hosting, and are incredibly easy to navigate. Your blog could be on anything at all, from gardening, to film reviews, as long as you post with some regularity. Ensure that your content is both interesting and well written with impeccable grammar, and you will have a portfolio of work to show to employers. Link your blog to social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, to increase your digital presence and author profile.
  • The student media outlets on campus can offer not only a vibrant and talented community of people to befriend, but also valuable work experience. You can get involved by attending pitching events, submitting content for publications or even going all out and applying to be a section editor. Find outlets, contact and event details here:
  • Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre run a number of schemes designed to provide students with work experience opportunities. QProjects, for instance, places students in challenging roles at local charities, giving them something solid and meaningful to put on their CV. Past projects have included marketing and PR for an arts centre and digital content development for a sports charity. For information on the roles available and how to apply, please visit:

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