Publishing Careers

There are many types of publishers: trade, independent, professional and scholarly, educational, and university presses.

Like any business, publishers offer a wide variety of job opportunities. In addition to editorial positions, there are opportunities in production, marketing and publicity, advertising and promotion, design, digital, and subsidiary rights.

Publishing jobs tend to be centered around commerce hubs and big cities. The “Big 5” trade publishing companies — Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster — are all headquartered in New York City.

There are short-term training programs — notably, NYU and Columbia — designed to introduce you to publishing and to help you find work in the field. A program such as this might help you find gainful employment in publishing, but is not required. What is required is that you network and get hands-on experience.

Hiring timelines in publishing are variable although some publishers have set internship deadlines.

Information Gathering

If you are interested in publishing (or any career field), you should follow that industry closely. Read trade magazines, newsletters, and popular publishing websites. Join relevant email lists. Follow industry insiders on social media. Research the types of positions that are available in those fields. Vault, available to Georgetown students for free through the career center’s website, is a good place to start your search. Company websites, O*NET, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook are equally helpful resources.

Select Resources and Associations

The latest Writer’s Market book—pro-tip from One Little Library—”The best part of this book is that it has a VERY extensive list of publishers and the genres they publish. If a few interest you, find their websites and their employment or careers page.”

  • Association of American Publishers — One of the largest professional associations for the publishing field. Their website contains links to member organizations and internship postings among other items of interest to publishers.
  • Publishers Weekly — Trade publication for the publishing industry. Maintains a job board.
  • Association of University Presses — AUPresses is a community of publishing professionals and institutions. They maintain a jobs list and a directory of university presses.

Making Connections

Attend employer information sessions, industry events—on and off-campus and connect with the local chapter of popular professional organizations. Professional associations host a variety of professional development, educational and networking events. If the cost of membership is prohibitive, contact leadership and ask if there are sliding scale prices for students. Volunteering for a conference, educational, or social event is another great way to connect with leaders in the industry.

Develop a LinkedIn profile that communicates your personal and professional brand. Joining groups related to your industry is a great way to meet new people, find mentors, contacts, and ask questions. Reach out to alumni through Hoya Gateway, the alumni section of Georgetown’s LinkedIn page, and Georgetown’s Alumni Career Network. The Cawley website provides helpful guidelines on networking and informational interviewing.

Making Connections at Georgetown

Georgetown offers a number of opportunities for Hoyas to get involved. Check out Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance (GEMA) and GEMA’s senior year externship to New York or Los Angeles. Hoyas in Letters, an alumni initiative under GEMA, also has periodic events.

Joining a school club is another good way to learn more about the industry, develop your skills, and get hands-on experience. Become a tutor at the Writing Center or join one of the many campus newspapers or journals: The Hoya, The Voice, The Anthem. While at Georgetown, you can also participate in a group based on a personal interest and develop your professional skills. For example, if you are interested in editing, you could join Georgetown’s chapter of Amnesty International and work on the communications team.

On and off-campus jobs are another excellent way to build skills valued by employers. According to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the following are key attributes employers seek in new hires — all qualities Georgetown students have in abundance:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Communication skills (written)
  • Leadership
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical/quantitative skills
  • Communication skills (verbal)
  • Initiative
  • Detail-oriented
  • Flexibility/adaptability

Preparing Your Application Materials

To better understand what skills to highlight on your resume, check out internships, fellowships, and entry-level positions in publishing. Book Jobs, Publishers Lunch, Indeed, and employer websites are great places to research industry opportunities.

Your resume should be one page. Use strong action verbs and focus on your skills and accomplishments to show (not just tell) an employer that you have the required abilities. Be concise. See our resume formatting guide for more tips and advice.

Be energetic, intelligent and aware when writing cover letters. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities. Lead with your industry experience, if you have it, and stress transferable skills.

The purpose of a cover letter is to convince someone to interview you. For more on cover letters, see our cover letter tips.

Note: if you are interested in design or editing jobs, you may be required to take a skills test as part of the application process. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the books currently being published.

Applying

Internships enable you to gain valuable professional experience prior to graduation.

If you are having a difficult time finding a full-time job after graduation you may want to consider a post-graduation internship or fellowship, which is common in publishing, and often leads to full-time employment.

Select Employers and Internships