When you need careers advice, who do you turn to? Do you ask a family member or friend? Confide in a colleague? Someone who is doing the job already? A human resources or recruitment professional? All may be able to give you some help, but along with that help you have to make judgement calls as to whether that advice is impartial, accurate, timely, a matter of ‘this worked for me, it will for you too’, because they have vacancies in that career path or make money from you getting a job. Very often they are only giving advice based on the limitations of their own personal experiences and frequently they are not qualified to help you make career decisions.
We have been professionally trained in giving impartial careers advice, guidance and development, based on career theories, practices, current labour market information and intelligence and our own research into the publishing industry. Wherever our impartiality may be compromised, we will inform you of this, allowing you to make your own decisions. Through our qualifications we have been independently assessed and verified several times and found to be delivering advice and guidance to the highest national standards. We commit to a minimum of 20 hours of continuous professional development a year, to maintain these standards.
For many years we have been members of both the Association of Career Professionals UK and the Institute of Career Guidance. They have recently joined forces (along with ACEG and NAEGA) to become the Career Development Institute, bringing together a unified approach for those who are practicing in Career Guidance and Development. We are proud to be part of this new association and to have our name listed on the ‘National Register of Career Development Professionals’ and will aim to uphold the highest possible standards for Career Guidance and Development.
So if you are looking to make changes to your career, ensure that the person you choose to advise you is:-
1. A member of the Career Development Institute and working to the CDI code of ethics
2. Qualified to Level 6 or equivalent in Career Guidance and Development
3. Impartial; if there are any outside influences that may affect impartiality they will always be declared
4. Listed on the register of qualified Career Professionals
5. Insured to give Careers Advice, Guidance and Development
All of those who provide careers guidance under the bookcareers.com name meet all five criteria. Make sure any person who is giving you careers advice does the same. You wouldn’t trust an unqualified accountant to mess with your finances, why on earth would you trust someone who is not qualified in careers guidance to mess with your career?
One of my former employers always used to say ‘Are you on the bus or are you off the bus? The bus is leaving’. So I was very interested to read this blog by Michael Foy on O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing – Do publishers have the right people on the bus?
I am still meeting people who say they want to work in book publishing but ‘don’t want to do digital’. I don’t know which century these people are in, but you can’t say you don’t want to work in digital any more – digital IS publishing! Every job you search for will have elements of digital publishing, whether it is ebooks, online or social media. Those of you who don’t want to work with digital don’t really want to work in publishing. So, are you on the digital bus or are you off the digital bus? The digital bus is leaving; in many companies it left quite some time ago.
The Publisher’s Association (PA) have updated their website and added a new careers resource - Working in Publishing.
The plan is to develop it over the next few months, with more career profiles and information about working in the industry.
If you want to know more about individual roles within the industry, do take a look.
Bookcareers.com is to launch a new publishing house – Bookcareers Publishing.
Our list will focus on career books and guides for use within the general career and reference market, although there will be at least one title about careers in publishing.
The books will be available in a multi-platform environment, print and digital, with one or two premium titles having apps.
The aim is to have 6 books in print by June 2014, building to 30 books by 2016, then to publish at least 12 books a year.
Bookcareers.com will still keep its main focus of delivering impartial and qualified career development and guidance to individuals and companies in the publishing sector and expect to take on an additional careers advisor early next year.
Suzanne Collier, who founded bookcareers.com in 1999 comments as follows:-
‘My first employer, Andre Deutsch CBE, described publishing as a legalised form of gambling and that is what I feel like I am doing. Over the years I have seen some brilliant career books which have never been published commercially, and my aim is to bring them to a mass market’. ‘It is a great feeling to be in a discussion with an author and instead of referring them to other publisher to say instead ‘yes, we can do that’. During my qualification in career guidance I saw a lot of gaps in the marketplace and believe that we can start a viable publishing house that has the flexibility to deliver some core titles in a highly volatile market ’. ‘Making it a part of the bookcareers.com portfolio is a no-brainer – we have the brand; we have the publishing knowledge; but most importantly, we understand the customer so can make this a success.’
‘It won’t divert from our core business of helping those in publishing with their career development and management, if anything it will complement our work. We expect to be looking for an additional member of staff to deliver Career Guidance at some point in the future.’
If you are visiting the London Book Fair you can find us on stand J200.
On the 15-17th April the London Book Fair starts. This is THE trade/business to business event for those within the book publishing industry. It costs £30 to enter if you register online now (£45 on the day).
If you’ve never been to the London Book Fair before, you can find some sage words of advice of how to use the fair here.
Throughout the London Book Fair there are lots of seminars to attend. Some you might need to pre-book for, so do check the link. Here are our favourites:-
Monday, 15th April 2013
Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover (but we all do!)
The Publishing Training Centre
10.00 – 11.00
How to Get Into Publishing *
The Society of Young Publishers
13.30 – 14.30
How to Get Ahead in Publishing*
The Society of Young Publishers
14-45 – 15.45
Delivering Equality in Publishing : Three Case Studies*
Equality in Publishing
17.30 – 18.30
Tuesday, 16th April 2013
What People do Publishers Need?*
Publishers Association and Creative Access
10.00 – 11.00
How to Set Up a Publishing House
Independent Publishers Guild
16.00 – 17.00
In all of the seminars marked * we will be giving away PRIZES – FREE bookcareers.com employability consultations (worth £45). We’ll be giving away 10 across the whole of the London Book Fair so make sure you are in the right room at the right time!
As some of you may remember, sometime ago I was working with ‘Adela’ on finding a job within publishing, and we called it the bookcareers.com experiment. Shortly after Adela’s placement she had to return home for family reasons and during this time realised that publishing wasn’t for her. Adela is now training to be a nurse and we wish her all the best in her future career.
Since then the bookcareers experiment has been on hold. We may be doing this again later in the year and looking for a suitable candidate. When we start that search you’ll find updates on here.
We are delighted to inform you that DK is offering four paid internships in memory of Christopher Davis. Here are the details:-
About Christopher Davis
Christopher Davis died on December 2nd 2012. He was one of the founders of Dorling Kindersley and played a key role in the company from its start-up in 1974 until his retirement in 2005, serving as DK’s Editorial Director, Publisher and Deputy Chairman. Christopher was the driving force and talent behind a list of internationally bestselling titles: The Way Things Work, Self-Sufficiency, Baby and Child; landmark reference titles published in association with the Red Cross, the RHS, the British and American Medical Associations, the Natural History Museum, the Smithsonian, and many other leading institutions; the ground-breaking Eyewitness children’s books; and the legendary DK travel guides.
Christopher was committed to the quality of DK books, and all DK’s staff benefitted greatly from his wit, energy, and creative skills. But he was an immensely talented editor and writer, caring deeply about his craft and his staff, and nurturing an incredible number of editors over the years. It is in this spirit that we will remember Christopher and award internships to a new generation of editorial talent.
You will be working in one of the creative publishing groups in London as an Editorial Assistant. You will be involved in a wide range of editorial tasks, including research, editing, writing, picture selection and input into the commissioning process, for both print and digital products. You could be working in the Travel Division on DK Travel Guides or Rough Guides; or in the Life Division on baby care, craft or cookery titles. Or perhaps on reference books with the Knowledge team, or with amazing brands in the Licensing Division.
Each internship is for a 12-week period between 2nd September 2013 and 20th December 2013 (actual dates to be agreed) and a competitive salary will be paid.
If you are a bright and creative graduate, simply let us know why you should be awarded this internship at DK – you can show us, or tell us in 500 words. The format of your submission is up to you, but it must be by email.
Visit www.dk.com in order to apply
Your application must be received by 12th April 2013.
Application and Selection
Once we have reviewed all the applications, the successful candidates will be invited to take a timed online copy editing and creative writing test (duration of 1 hour) during the weeks of 7-17 May. For those passing this stage of the process, there may be re-testing and an interview and further assessment at our offices at 80 Strand, London, with the Publishing Directors from each of the four Divisions. The interviews will be carried out on Friday 21st June. You should allow a whole day for this process.
Can you please let us know if you need to have any special adjustments made for any of these stages of the process.
You should expect to hear whether you have been chosen by 8th July 2013.
This is a great move by DK and we highly endorse internships that pay competitive salaries. What are you waiting for? Apply now!
No, it isn’t the bookcareers.com Salary Survey – that is coming shortly. In the meantime please help Equality in Publishing (Equip) with their survey based around internships, equality and diversity.
Bookcareers.com endorses this survey and the work done by Equip and are proud to have signed the Publishing Equalities Charter, so we’d be grateful if you can spend a couple of minutes of your time giving details of your experience.
Whilst going through our archives, I found this article and have republished it with only a slight edit to remove one statistic. Please read
through, and let us know how relevant you think it is to today’s job market.
Attacking the skills shortage in publishing
Suzanne Collier on why we should care better not only for those made redundant but also for those who remain in work
Victims of the recession are many. Every week we hear of the three Rs – reorganisation, rationalisation and redundancy – putting those who seemed forever onwards and upwards back on the job-seeking market.
Much has been written about how one should cope with redundancy, but our concern should focus also on those who are left behind at such companies. Because although many may not yet have realised it, companies are beginning to suffer.
On the ladder
Some years ago there were several levels of staff in all departments. One started as a secretary or assistant, and gained promotion to an administrative or junior management level and, in time, gained further promotion and experience. All this did not necessarily happen at the same company, but advertisements would encourage those who felt they’d reached the pinnacle of one level to move to the base of the next.
This has changed, and it now appears that the mid-level has been completely wiped out, with severe implications for an industry whose main intake of staff is university graduates and which recruits few mid-level managers from other industries. We are also an industry that relies heavily on on-the-job experience and very little formal training.
A skills shortage is starting to affect some companies. Where previously they would promote internally, they are now having to recruit, but although inundated with replies, they are often unable to find people of the right calibre or experience on the right level to fill their vacancies. This leaves companies with a dilemma. Unable to promote from within, do they take a chance on an unknown, or poach from their competitors? Both are potentially costly risks and may or may not provide a solution.
How much does it cost you to recruit? Employment agencies charge between 10% and 20% of annual salary, though they do save on a lot of inhouse personnel time. The cost of advertising in the national press at around £1000 a shot may seem high, but it is little in relation to the amount of management time selecting and interviewing staff. It doesn’t matter how you go about recruiting new employees, the biggest problem is that you really don’t know if they are any good until they start in their jobs.
Each area is affected in its own way. Production and editorial problems are the result of the dramatic changes in technology and bear some relation to the number of freelances being employed. Many staff becomes co-ordinators for teams of freelances and can end up doing little practical work themselves, leaving them with few practical skills and completely out of touch with hands-on developments.
Problems within sales and marketing are a result of reluctance to train staff who, from the outset, do not appear to require special attention. There is an attitude that sales staff can either sell or they can’t. So why train?
So why train people who are already good at their jobs? Well, none of us is perfect, we all make mistakes, and we all have bad habits. Good training can help prevent mistakes and eradicate bad habits; it also brings you into contact with your peers, people doing a similar job, coping with similar problems, and this can give refreshing insights into other companies without actually changing jobs. You would not employ an accountant who was not properly trained, so why employ a rep or marketing manager whose mistakes can be just as costly? Management courses are also poorly attended. If our managers and directors are not properly trained, what hope is there for the rest of us?
In these hard times training organisations should flourish. We have to teach those who lack experience or skills to overcome their handicaps. Instead, training is seen as a luxury. The normal excuse is that you cannot afford a few hundred pounds nor allow someone to spend a few days out of the office. But such shortsightedness could cost a lot more, in money and time.
The way back
How can we combat this?
There are already established training programmes. Ask the inevitable question of where you see yourself in five years time and try to organise a career plan relevant to those ideals.
Try to get some inhouse cross training by spending time in each department or function and in either a bookshop or printer.
Get encouragement by asking for new, perhaps more senior, tasks, and try to sit in on meetings. Learn to use your own initiative.
Join trade associations such as the Society of Young Publishers, Women in Publishing, Children’s Book Circle and Publishers’ Publicity Circle. All offer an exchange of ideas and the opportunity to learn at little cost. Some companies will pay for staff to join.
‘It’s not happening here.’ It is happening everywhere. Open your eyes. What will happen when one of your colleagues leaves?
It may surprise you to learn that this article was originally published in The Bookseller on 25 November 1994. Are you shocked by how old this article is? How relevant is it to you today and your workplace?
Here is the final post for National Careers Week.
Many moons ago I bumped into Richard Charkin at a Society of Young Publishers conference. At the time he had just taken over at Macmillan Publishers (he is currently Executive Director of Bloomsbury Publishing). Richard asked me what I was speaking about and I replied:
‘I’m going to get everyone to challenge their demons; you know, the little voices in your head that tell you not to do stuff, take chances or make changes’. He gave me a puzzled look.
I then asked ‘Richard, what demons do you have?’.
‘None. I don’t have any demons’ he replied.
So when you want to make changes in your career and hear little voices of doubt questioning whether you should move forward, change job, publish that book, phone that customer, (or write a blog post about a conversation that took place many years ago!) trust your gut instinct and don’t listen to the demons.