Insight into publishing, my student perspective

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Kate Whittle, a first year BA English student at SHU recently attended an ‘Insight into Publishing’ event, run by Hachette UK, the UK’s most diversified trade publishing group.

“What are you doing at University?”, I sometimes get asked. Getting the most out of it, or at least trying to!

As a first-year student I initially felt a little out of my depth, I’d gotten up at half past four and travelled down to London for nine. I arrived at Carmelite House and thought “what am I doing here?”

Navigating the way to Hachette

However, within five minutes of being there I’d got a coffee in hand, a biscuit in the other and was making my way towards a table of smiling faces. Hachette UK put all the students into groups of about 8-10 to a table with a brief on it for a book, my table got the genre of ‘cookery books’ and so we had to brainstorm and work together to create a plan. This was so that throughout the day we could slowly work up a brief presentation where we attempt to sell our ‘book’ to the publishing house. This meant that everyone had to be friendly and work together to produce an original and interesting brief, they were some incredibly interesting people who I worked with and I honestly felt I learnt so much just from my table.

The day was split up by different talks from the different departments within the company, they had a director, Martin Neild who came and gave us an over view of the company and re-assured us that the book is definitely not dead! I think this causes a lot of people to not go into the industry and therefore they wanted to calm our fears and really get us enthusiastic about it. This was followed by some more senior staff who covered everything from production, to marketing, sales, publicity and so much more. To me the most striking thing about the day was just how broad the term ‘publishing’ is, it’s not just an editor and publicist doing all the work!

For example, Sarah Clay, the special sales person form Hodder & Stoughton made me realise that there is a lot more to getting the books on the shelfs past just writing and creating the physical book. She goes out to the major supermarkets, to the major bookstores, anywhere they think a book will sell. Her job role is to be enthusiastic and exited about why they would want this book in their stores, she said “it requires a lot of creative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit”. This made me realise I don’t have to use my love of books in a typical sense, I could use that love and enthusiasm to get other people into books!

Publishers names on wall by the lifts

Over all it was a truck load of information crammed into a 9-hour day. I left feeling a little overwhelmed but even more in love with books and the English language than before, I honestly think the day on a whole was a must for anyone who is even considering a job leading from English or to English. Its not just about the specifics of publishing but also the general knowledge and confidence you get from doing something out of your comfort zone, such as travelling to London alone and talking to people much older and much more experienced than yourself.

Hachette UK is an incredible company that provides opportunities to those attempting to get into the industry. The ‘Inside story’ event was perfect for me as a student to go and get a better idea of what it actually meant to go into Publishing and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any who can spare the day.

Insight into publishing

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Post by Laura Kerley, Employability Adviser for Humanities

I recently attended an ‘Insight into Publishing’ event, run by Hachette UK, the UK’s most diversified trade publishing group. The Hachette UK group includes many autonomous publishing companies, whilst providing some group level support. This combination of big and small proved a fascinating context to gain insight into the publishing industry.

Over the course of the day 60 students from across the UK heard from people working in a range of roles at Hachette and beyond. Speakers ranged from the very experienced (eg. the founder of inclusivity focused Dialogue Books ; and the literary agent of best seller ‘Girl on a Train’), to more recent graduates. But it wasn’t all chalk and talk. In groups, students were given a book genre and in between talks were set tasks to ultimately “create” a book and pitch it at the end of the day. This wasn’t as scary as it may sound – see our very own student view of the day from first year SHU English student, Kate Whittle. The day was rounded off nicely with drinks, socialising and a chance to get CV advice, with quite a backdrop view from the rooftop terrace!

Some key (and sometimes surprising) points about the publishing industry

  • It is thriving and the book isn’t dead!
  • There is an exciting array of roles available that are open to graduates from any subject. Although editing is critical (and popular), think beyond this to lesser known roles such as Design, Production, Rights&Licensing, Sales, Marketing&Publicity, Distribution and Finance.
  • There can be chances to work internationally, particularly in Sales and Rights&Licensing.
  • Competing for the ‘leisure pound’ with giants such as Amazon has led the industry to speed up, with distribution working at a particularly high pace.
  • There is no set path into the publishing industry. You can certainly spot some patterns (see tips below), but many atypical paths exist. One example is an Animation graduate turned Digital Marketing Manager with a background mainly in music promotion. Another is the founder of a Dialogue Books, who got there via bookselling/being a Production Runner/studying Politics&Anthropology as a mature student and more!

Tips to get into publishing

  • Be persistent in trying to get some industry experience via formal work experience/intern schemes and approaching publishers speculatively. However, extended periods of unpaid work experience/shadowing is not expected.
  • Paid work that is particularly valued is book selling and office experience outside the publishing industry. Blogging, using Twitter well and reading industry press are also valued.
  • Have an open mind about which work experience opportunities and entry level roles to go for. The less glamorous sounding will attract less competition and still be very useful experience.
  • Commercial awareness, organisation, team work and communication/negotiation skills are valued for all
  • When applying for opportunities don’t waste too much space telling the publishing company how awesome they are; tell them how you can help them be even more awseome!

 

How to find out more

Start by getting a fuller view of the publishing industry and roles on TARGETjobs; the Publishers Association and Creative Skillset.

Join the Society of Young Publishers (not just for young professionals – student membership is £24/yr); they run great events, an online advice forum, a magazine, a jobs database and more. They have a Northern branch that runs fantastic and reachable events.

Get some industry experience. Hachette UK run a work experience scheme and also Fresh Chapters internships. For other opportunities, follow publishers on Facebook/Twitter (the ‘Publishing’ list on @SHUCareersHums is a good place to start). Try a speculative approach with smaller publishers, including those outside London. For help with finding free accommodation for one week in London, visit the Spare Room Project. There is also help from the Book Trade Charity on offer for people looking to get into the industry.

REMEMBER, you can book an appointment with an Employability Adviser for practical support with job search and applications.

Come to our careers fair on Thursday 23rd March

With our Spring Fair taking place on Thursday 23rd March, this is your chance to meet with dozens of local, national and international employers who are offering graduate recruitment, internship and placement opportunities.

If you want to hear five great reasons why you should attend our careers fair, have a look at the video below:

To book your attendance at the fair, please click here.

If you’re already attending, then here’s some great student tips on how to prepare for the fair!

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday 23rd March between 11am – 3pm in Hallam Hall and the Careers and Employability Centre.

From Career Impact to a Leadership Graduate program

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Farida Tejan

Farida Tejan

Post by Public Relations and Media graduate Farida Tejan

At present, I work for Capita Resourcing- part of Capita Group Plc, a FTSE100 Business Process Outsourcing Company- on the Leadership Graduate program.

The scheme is comprised of 4 rotational placements across different business units with exposure to a diverse range of customers across public and private sectors, with on-going formal business training whilst working towards an MSc in Leadership and Management.

Having completed my first rotation with the division’s sales and marketing team, I am now holding a new business development executive role with the Write Research Company, engaging with business leaders within the consumer and services industry.

The highlights of the role include having access to and engaging with senior personnel within the Consumer and Service industry and being able to earn a commission for results delivered.

Following completing my degree, I went into a role as a Digital PR Executive at a digital marketing agency for just over a year. I was then approached for an internal Digital Marketing Executive role at Capita Customer Management where I worked across the marketing and Communications teams, implementing the online strategy and maximizing brand presence and engagement online.

I think the fact that I began my job search very early on in my final year of university attributed to my success in securing a role. Attending sessions with the career service meant that I had realistic expectations of application processes, salary and what employers were looking for. In addition to being proactive, I invested time in gaining work experience as and when I could and tried to open myself up to any opportunities.

During my time at Capita Customer Management, an internal re-structure took place that motivated me to look into other opportunities within the business. I began to consider the graduate program as a viable option as I knew one of the graduates already on the scheme. I expressed an interest to my line manager who helped me to start the process of an internal application that required me to be a graduate with a 2:1 degree. Following on from this, I had to pass personality and psychometric testing followed by a telephone interview and was then invited to an assessment centre once I passed these stages. I prepared for the psychometric tests online utilising free web databases in order to practice. A similar approach was taken for the telephone interview, where I brushed up on competency-based questions and general interview techniques. The assessment centre was harder to prepare for because I had little knowledge of what to expect, here I spoke to the graduates that I knew from within the business about their experience and tried to prepare general interview and team activity skills.

My course at Hallam really pushed me to take a proactive approach to getting organised and building up my CV in addition to our academic requirements. I think this balanced focus was really key in in preparing me to excel post-university. The sessions made available to me through Career Impact were invaluable in helping me to understand the caliber of applicant that graduate employers are looking for and how to prepare for the assessments within their application processes.

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get onto a graduate scheme or even the job of your dreams- it just gives you something to work towards. In fact, it turned out that I was completely wrong about what I initially thought of as my dream job! I found that by being open to opportunities and working hard in the roles that I did manage to get, doors opened up for me and I somehow made it onto a path that worked for me.

Lawyer in London 2016

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Post written by Helen Cuthbert, Helena Kennedy Law Clinic at SHU

This year’s Lawyer in London trip, which took place from 21-23 June, was a resounding success. During the trip the students, supported by SHU staff, visited the Royal Courts of Justice, Amnesty International and Freshfields.

Each of the days highlighted different aspects of the legal profession, from highflying magic circle lawyers to human rights based charities, showing the diverse range of careers available to Law graduates.

Some of the additional experiences which were not expected included joining with hundreds of people in Trafalgar Square for the Jo Cox MP memorial and seeing the Princess Royal at Amnesty.

Some of the students who attended Lawyer in London have summed up their experiences and highlight the great time that they had.

Lucy says:

‘Lawyer in London was an amazing experience. Throughout the trip I gained many skills that will help me in the future with my career.

Lawyer in London Group Photo

Lawyer in London Group Photo

Spending time at Freshfields was my favourite. Speaking to lawyers and also trainee Lawyers helped to gain an insight into how a magic circle law firm works.

Overall it was an incredible experience and I would encourage everyone to apply next year as it has made me even more determined to be successful.’

 Taylor says:

“The experience overall was interesting, a fantastic learning opportunity and most of all fun.

Selfie at Lawyer in London 2016

Selfie at Lawyer in London 2016

Getting to go to the Royal Courts of Justice, Amnesty International and Freshfields not only provided useful career information but genuinely made me interested in areas of law that I never took interest in before!

From my experience this was a great opportunity which gave useful tips and information for going forward into a career in law. Thanks for a great trip!”

Law students inspirational day at court dinner

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Lincolns Inn Dinner 1

Post by Level 5 Law student, Millie Broadbent.

The Lincoln’s Inn of Court Dinner was one of the most inspirational days I have had since beginning my degree. As a law student who is still unsure whether to go down the solicitor or barrister route, this day gave me the assurance that the bar is ‘hopefully’ my next step.
Lincolns Inn Dinner
The opportunity to speak to practising barristers and hear about their routes was a great chance to be able to learn about the differing choices before and after studying for the bar. The meal was of course fantastic and this gave us the opportunity to question the barristers on what it is really like in their profession. The building and the people you were able to chat to inspired me for the next steps into my career and gave me an insight into what my career could turn into.

 

Want to work with people? A week of events just for you

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Hi all! I’m a second year Psychology student, currently on my work placement with the Careers and Employability Service, writing to you about the fantastic opportunities available to you as students of Sheffield Hallam.

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An entire week has been designated to allow you to gain insight and advice on a variety of job roles involving working with people. Events are based at Collegiate and planned to be specifically relevant to Psychology, Sociology, Politics and Criminology students, but open to students and graduates from all courses. Commencing Monday 8th February, there will be a wide range of speakers from different professional backgrounds, coming to speak about their careers in supporting, advising, educating and counselling others. If you are, like myself, undecided about your future career path, then this week is the perfect opportunity for you to gain awareness of the diverse possibilities. There is something for everyone, ranging from insight into careers in a prison setting, to different job roles in education. If you are interested in forensic psychology or social issues these opportunities are perfect for you.

As a Psychology student I often have an interest in a certain area but am unaware of the routes into it and how competitive it is so I’m looking forward to finding out more. Special guests will be discussing the different routes into areas such as health psychology and human resources and their own personal journeys, also providing opportunities to network and make new connections. Many people pursue careers in teaching. However, if that isn’t for you but the education sector is something that interests you then, one event will allow you to explore other roles such as family support worker and learning mentor which may be perfect for you and would utilise your course specific knowledge.

Follow the link to book your place for events during the ‘Working With People’ week. Places are filling fast, so don’t miss out!

Olivia Royston, second year Psychology student

Creative Careers Week, 1 – 5 February!

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Following on from the success of the first ever Creative Careers Week last year, the Careers and Employability Service is hosting this year’s event with an even bigger programme of presentations & workshops for you to choose from.

You will have the opportunity to learn about a whole range of career options open to graduates with an interest in the creative arts/design sector. These sessions will be delivered by professionals already working in a variety of creative disciplines.

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Monday 1 February
What’s it like working in the creative industries?
An overview of the challenges and benefits of working in the creative sector
YAS presentation & tour of Exchange Place & Persistence Works
Meet 12.45pm, Made North Gallery Yorkshire Art Space, Persistence Works, Brown Street
Top tips on finding a placement in the creative sector
Advice on securing a placement and an overview of support and advice available at SHU

Tuesday 2 February
Working in Museums and Culture Management
Museums Sheffield; Sheffield Industrial Museums; SHU MA Arts and Cultural Management
Becoming a Performer
ALRA Drama School; SHU graduate (actor/comedian)
Working in the Community Arts sector
A Mind Apart (theatre); Junction Arts; Arts & Culture volunteering programme (SHU)

Wednesday 3 February
Running a Commercial Art Gallery
Karen Sherwood: owner and curator of Cupola Gallery
A career in Art Therapy
Arts Therapy Northern Programme & Trainee Art Therapist

Thursday 4 February
Top tips on using Social Media for Professional Networking
SHU graduates: Georgia Ball and Dora Damian
Being self-employed in the Creative Arts & Design sector
Freelance artist; jewellery designer; creative writer
A career in Creative Arts/Media Festivals & Events
Made with Design (Peucha Kucha 20×20); Ignite Imaginations

Friday 5 February
Working in the Creative Marketing and Advertising sector
Yommee; Creative Marketing Agency (Sheffield)
Working behind the scenes in TV, Theatre & Film
West Yorkshire Playhouse; Screen Yorkshire; Set/prop designer (freelance);Costume Supervisor (Sheffield Theatres); South Yorkshire Film Network

For further information (including times) and to book your place(s) go to: careerservice.shu.ac.uk / events / Creative Careers Week. Book soon to avoid to disappointment.

Journalism student shares three tips for success

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Journalism student Joshua Barlow gives you the three vital tips to help you succeed that he has learnt during his three years at Sheffield Hallam.

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During my time at university I have learnt a variety of skills and developed into someone who I barely recognise – no longer am I a shrinking violet.

When I first started my degree I wanted to be a fashion editor. I wanted the hustle of a newsroom and the glamour of runways around the world, but having had the past three years to reflect on who I am as a person I have realised that I may have watched one too many episodes of Ugly Betty.

 

Tip 1: Network.

In my seminars and lectures we are constantly reminded that the journalism field is an extremely competitive one. We are told to take as many opportunities as we can and network, network, network.

The old saying ‘It’s not what you know it’s who you know’ has never been more appropriate.

Looking back I realise I feared putting myself out there and making myself known to ‘professionals’ – I was the kind of person who used to think to myself; “Why would they care about what I say/think?”

Everyone has a story to tell, something to share that means you should read their work over someone else’s – and whilst it may appear that I am fighting a losing battle at times, the key is to keep trying and to have a voice.

One of the biggest revelations in networking that I have discovered at university is LinkedIn, which acts as an online CV and gives you a professional space to create your own personal hive of contacts – adding that one person who you interviewed in your first year can be the difference between receiving a professional endorsement or not.

Networking makes links which in turn can lead to a whole variety of opportunities including work experience and jobs.

However, it is not as simple as walking up to someone and saying “Hi, my name is …”.  Whilst this is a nice way to approach someone, it is vital that you have something to offer.

Tip 2: Specialise.

As mentioned above when I started university I wanted to work in the field of fashion, but having developed both professionally and personally I have discovered that my goal is to work in features.

In his essay, Why I write, George Orwell says; “I lacked political purpose” and this is something that speaks to me on many levels.

I believe that as a journalist I have the ability to use my skills to change the world around me – almost like a superpower, and I intend to use this to help those who need it.

My specialisation is mental health writing and it was the realisation of this that has helped me begin to form my journalistic career. It’s led me to write for the university magazine SHUlife, form the basis of my dissertation examining mental health stigma and given me various other projects to work on.

Having a specialisation can set you apart from the rest of the world when you are applying for an internship or job. It is also a major discussion point when you network as it is more likely to make someone remember you – and whilst it is good to have a specialisation, it is also important to note that having a set of general skills ensures that you are not putting yourself into a pigeon hole.

Tip 3: Demonstrate your Skills.

Personally, I am working towards a qualification from the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and am close to achieving a certificate in shorthand.

Whilst you can put a list of skills from your degree on your CV, for example;  writing, interviewing skills and blogging – you could also showcase various examples or experience from work which you may have completed outside of your academic studies. Skills from part-time employment can be transferable and you never know when they will come in handy.

You may think that the customer service experience gained from retail may not help you land your dream job, however, it shows potential employers that you know how to communicate with people and deal with their wants and needs.

Every little skill helps and it is displaying these that could very well set you apart from the crowd (and of course LinkedIn helps as I mentioned earlier.)

So remember, if you are to follow these three tips you have a fighting chance at succeeding in anything you aspire to. It’s about getting yourself out in the world and making yourself known to those who are already working in the professional field – and yes, there will be times when doubt your own ability, but it’s about dusting yourself off and trying again.

You can follow Josh on his blog https://jrbarlow.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Networking Really Work?

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Students often ask whether networking really works. In this interview Scott Mather, a second year Screenwriting student, tells how he successfully made contact with a British BAFTA-winning television writer and benefited hugely as a result.

What made you decide to start networking in the first place?

It was something Alison McHale who teaches our Work Based Project module said to me. Alison basically said that things don’t come to you and I needed to get myself out there. I knew this beforehand of course but Alison gave me the nudge I needed so I really do credit her for that.

How did you manage to get television writer’s contact details?

I just looked online. They all have agents so I managed to find the agent who represents her. It’s a good idea to check the validity of every website you go on though just to make sure they still represent the client as these often change.

How did you make the approach and what did you say?

Once I managed to find the details of the agent, I sent them a letter and politely asked if they would pass it on for me. They did and the screenwriter and I wrote a couple of letters to each other. I asked her for advice and told her how much I admired her work. A good tip here is to always make sure you send a self addressed stamped envelope for them to write back to you.

What have you gained from the process?

I got to meet the woman responsible for igniting my passion and love of writing! I was so lucky she invited me to meet and have lunch with her. It was like meeting a friend. She made me feel very comfortable, gave me advice and invited me to go on set with her when she films her new TV series! She also offered to review one of my scripts and pass it on to her producer.

What tips would you give to other students considering a similar approach?

Do it! In any creative industry, there are always disappointments and rejections but there are also triumphs too. I never thought the screenwriter would write back to me, let alone arrange for me to meet her. At the end of the day connections are important and even if nothing comes of it, it’s only costing you the price of two first class stamps.

 

Scott Mather, BA Film and Screenwriting