Guest blog: Seven Cracking Careers in Publishing

Considering a career in publishing? Impeccably written English, an error-free CV and some relevant work experience will all help you to gain your first job in this competitive industry. However, you’ll also need determination and a thick skin, as the number of applicants hugely outweighs the number of jobs on offer.

Editorial roles are the toughest to land, so why not look beyond this department and consider an alternative area of publishing? Here’s our guide to the variety of roles on offer.


Marketing and Publicity

Fancy developing marketing campaigns for new books? Then you’ll enjoy working in this department. Tasks include promoting books to consumers and booksellers, as well as obtaining media exposure. This could involve arranging author signings and radio or television interviews.

To break into marketing, you’ll need to be an excellent communicator with a high standard of written English, as you’ll be working closely with the publisher’s editorial team. If you’re studying marketing or business and you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, this could be your ideal career.

Continue reading


Student story: CUB Magazine, Queen Mary & The New York Times

Angelica Hill, 3rd year English and Drama student

After spending a year after school at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, I discovered that my passion lay in the words and not in the acting.  I signed up for the English Literature and Drama Joint Honors Degree at Queen Mary.  As soon as I arrived I started writing for the various student publications available: The Print, The Tab, and CUB Magazine. Coming from an arts background, the publication I was most drawn to was CUB.  It gave me the opportunity to write about global cultural events and issues in whatever style I wished.


After writing a few articles during my first year I applied to become the Arts Editor of the Magazine at the end of my final term of first year.  A year later I managed to be appointed Editor-in-Chief for my final year.  I will hand over to the newly elected Editor-in-Chief on March 22nd.

This progression from Contributor, to Editor, to Editor-in-Chief allowed me to first see how a magazine works from the perspective on a writer, and to receive feedback on my writing on a range of different topics, from an array of different people.  Any improvement to writing style can only be good for studies, and it was something fun to do – particularly trying different style of writing to engage in alongside the academic writing I was doing as part of my degree.

Moving on to being an editor, I developed a focus on detail concerning grammar and punctuation, as well as enabling me to see all the different styles of writing the contributors had: what worked, what didn’t.  More importantly, it taught me how best to communicate with those submitting their work concerning changes and content suggestions.  Continue reading

Teaching English as a foreign language – find out more…

Whether you have a passion for teaching or want to travel abroad to discover new cultures, teaching English as a foreign language might be the perfect career choice for you. Since fluency in English is the main essential requirement for the job, why not think about kick-starting your career in an original way to really stand out from the crowd?

What Is It?
Teaching English means a bit more than just classroom experience. It involves a particular methodology designed for and targeted at a specific audience. If the plethora of acronyms in teaching confuses you, here’s a helpful guide:

  • ELT – English Language Teaching; a widely-used teacher-centred term describing the overall teaching practice and methodology
  • TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language; refers to teaching adults or children whose first language is not English but who choose to learn it for various purposes
  • TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages; often involves the same thing as TEFL but also describes teaching English to non-English speakers living in an English-speaking country
  • TESL – Teaching English as a Second Language; teaching in countries where English has the official status of a second language. The term TEAL (Teaching English as an Additional Language) can also be used in this context.
  • ESP – English for Specific Purposes, such as for business, tourism, the banking sector etc.
  • EAP – English for Academic Purposes; refers to academic teaching for university study. Many such courses are run by the British Council.

Why Do It?
Teaching English abroad is a fantastic way to get the firsthand teaching experience necessary for a career in education, while the accreditations you will obtain can add to your CV and maximize your chances of getting a job.

Even if you don’t want to become a teacher, teaching English abroad can be extremely useful regardless of your career plans. You can gain valuable transferable skills such as project management or learning a new language, as well as work experience to get your foot in the door of the tough job market.

Before You Start
While the main requirement is proficiency in both written and spoken English, you might need to have additional qualifications depending on what you’re interested in. Think about who and where you would like to teach, whether you want a long-term engagement or just a summer placement, and what sort of skills you would like to develop. Also consider the financial aspects, e.g. paid work or volunteering, or the living costs and employment legislation of you chosen country.

Once you’ve decided what you want to do, start looking at the relevant requirements and courses available for teaching English abroad. Here are some options:

  • TEFL courses – offered by TEFL England, these courses vary from a basic 20-hour initial introduction to a complex 130-hour course preparing you for all aspects of teaching.
  • CELT – Certificate in English Language Teaching, a 120-130 hour course validated by either University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations or Trinity College London. It is one of the most popular options for teaching English abroad.
  • CELTA – Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults offered by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations at more than 280 centres worldwide. Very useful for teaching English overseas.
  • certTESOL – Certificate for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages provided by Trinity College London, another principal training course of a minimum 130 hours on a weekly basis.
  • TKT – Teaching Knowledge Test by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. Refers to teaching English to speakers of other languages and it is generally more accessible than CELTA.
  • certTEFL – Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, aimed mainly at teachers whose first language is not English. This course is offered by International House.
  • DELTA – The Cambridge Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults aimed at experienced English language teachers.
  • DipTESOL – The Trinity College London equivalent for the experienced English teachers diploma.

Although different companies expect different qualifications, most employers tend to favour courses of a minimum 100 hours ELT/TESOL input, especially for people looking for long-term commitments.

If you’re interested in short-term work or want less intensive training, look into distance learning, an option offered by some TESOL/TEFL centres. Though such courses are generally shorter and cheaper than others, they are not as widely recognized as longer courses. For more information about the types of courses available, see i-to-i TEFL Courses or English Language Centre (CIC).

What Next?
After completing a training course, you can start looking for jobs and work on your application. TEFL England provides a free job placement scheme for people enrolled on TEFL courses for vacancies across the globe, which is useful for finding both long-term and short-term opportunities. The British Council is also running its own recruitment scheme for TEFL teachers. Visit their website for more details on the programme, and on TEFL in general.

You can also have a look at the Prospects website for more information about the teaching industry, as well as for a list of vacancy sources.

We Can Help!
Whether you’re confused about choosing the right course or need help with your application, our team of Careers Consultants can offer you guidance and support with your career. Just give us a call on 020 7882 8533 or drop by our office in room WG3 in the Queen’s Building to book an appointment or look through the resources in our Information room.

Raluca – Maria Chereji
2nd Year French and Politics student

Student story: How careers events can be a springboard to your future

It was going to a Careers ‘speed meet’ evening last year, organised for students in the English and Drama department, that really motivated me to start volunteering. The speakers at the event, all Queen Mary alumni who had studied English, not only had jobs in teaching, publishing and journalism, but also in broader fields often less associated with English Literature such as radio, television and museum work. Having always had an interest in museums, it had never occurred to me – until I had spoken first-hand to a representative of the Victoria & Albert Museum at the event – that an English student such as myself could go into museum work, that this was a possible career destination at all.

Almost all the speakers had started out either as volunteers or interns at the companies they represented, showing just how valuable volunteering can be in the long term. Given the opportunity at the event to ask the speakers for advice in a pretty informal, laid-back environment, I learned of some great volunteering opportunities available in the arts field. Consequently, I went about starting volunteer work in museums; by visiting museums and speaking to them in person, sending a lot of e-mails with attached CVs and covering letters, and filling in application forms. Before I knew it, I had started volunteering at three very different but great London museums: the Freud Museum; Keats House; and, more recently, the Tate Modern. Volunteering has not only enabled me to try out various dimensions of potential museum careers – my responsibilities differ at each setting – but also to contribute to something I have always personally enjoyed. Additionally, I have met people in the arts field and even established some crucial contacts along the way. There’s also more to put on my CV – always a good thing when you’re a third year student!

I would even go as far as saying that, within the short space of a year, my whole outlook has changed; I’m currently applying for a Masters at an American university to read Museum Studies of which, though I have no previous academic knowledge, I have gained vital practical experience thanks to volunteering. In a year’s time, I could be studying something entirely new to me, in a place I’ve never even been to. A challenge, maybe, but one I am increasingly excited about. And, one which may not have even happened at all had I not attended that event last year!

Chloe Pantazi, 3rd Year English student