The publishing industry can be broken down into several divisions: newspaper, book, magazine, literary agent firm, publishing houses, internal publishing departments, university presses. The publishing industry is not confined to just physical printed works, but also spans into digital information with the book industry now publishing in blog, e-book, Web, and other electronic formats.
This industry employs a diverse workforce to assist in the many stages of publishing. Writers, researchers, and editors develop and refine copy; artists and graphic designers position text and images for readability on the page and on the screen; press and production operators produce physical documents; digital designers and developers prepare electronic publications, and sales and marketing forces disseminate and distribute the products.
Publishing as a whole is a business and embraces the values of competition, sales, and profit. Publishers are as concerned with accounting, marketing and advertising, shipping and distribution, and inventory control as they are with their products—the intellectual, artistic, and cultural creations of the authors.
Job Title Examples:
- Editorial Assistant
- Assistant Publicist
- Contract Specialist
- Marketing Coordinator
- Communication skills
- Writing skills
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
Education and Training:
Although not required, there are several publishing specific programs available to further education.
- Columbia Journalism Publishing Program
- New York University Summer Publishing Institute - also offers a junior to senior summer program
- Denver Publishing Institute
Using IrishCompass, LinkedIn, and ND’s alumni association directory called myND is the best way to start on the networking front. Building relationships and networking is a key factor when it comes to finding out about opportunities in this sector as well. Stay in touch with ND alumni groups in whatever city you’re pursuing a career in - they will help you get connected and find potential opportunities.
Beginning in the spring, many large publishing firms begin to promote summer internships. Smaller publishing firms, literary agent firms, and university presses are also often in need of interns, though these opportunities may have to be sought out as they typically are not posted.
Some larger publishing houses post early in January or February, while smaller publishers and literary agents often post around March or April.
Undergraduate and graduate programs with a heavy focus on reading, literary analysis, critique and comparison, creative writing and composition, and analytical writing provide foundational skills for publishing.
Internships in publishing are the best leverage into a full-time entry-level publishing position.
- Publishers Lunch Job Board
- CareerShift - search for jobs, use “advanced search” Job Type to narrow to internships; use specific key words
- UCAN - Internships posted by 15 colleges/universities
- LinkedIn Job and Internship search
- American Society of Magazine Editors Internship Program - dozens of internships with variety of magazines
- Living the Editor Life - Find a Magazine Opportunity
- Association of Catholic Publishers Career Center
- Disney Careers in Publishing
- Book Jobs
- Penguin Random House Internships and Careers
- Beacon Press Jobs and Internships
- Charlesbridge Trade Editorial Internship
- Kidsbooks Opportunities - Chicago kids books publisher; scroll down to Jobs link
- Hachette Book Group Opportunities
- Harpercollins Internships
- Ave Maria Press - Frequently host an intern during fall, spring and summer
- Folio Literary Management Internship
- P.S. Literary Agency Internships
- Bookends - A Literary Agency Internship
- Carol Mann Agency Internships
- DeFiore & CompanyInternships
- Triada US Literary Agency Internships
- IDW Internship - Has posted with Notre Dame and hired ND interns
- DC Comics - Summer Editorial Intern; search on Warner Bro Careers
- Marvel Internships
- Fantagraphics Internship
- American Association of University Presses Jobs and Internships
- Society for Scholarly Publishing Internship
- Cambridge Press Careers - Academic Editorial Internship
- Yale University Press Internships
- Notre Dame Press - Frequently host an intern during fall and spring
Career / Educational Programs (short-term, primarily post-graduate)
- Columbia Journalism Publishing Program
- New York University Summer Publishing Institute - Also offers a junior to senior summer program
- Denver Publishing Institute
The publishing industry hires when positions come open and expects to bring the new hire on board quickly. It’s rare that companies travel far to recruit and attend career fairs. Begin developing important connections within the field a couple years in advance of when you would like to land a full-time position. You will need the eyes and ears and support of people working in this field to find your opportunity.
Applying and Interviewing
Showcase your passion for the type of media you would like to be involved in publishing. Even if your experience with that media has been through a student club activity or volunteer involvement, include this information in the upper 50% of your resume. It may also be useful to list courses relevant to the type of genre in which you would like to be involved or courses highlighting various genre you have studied.
Your resume will often be the first impression for a potential employer. You want to make sure that your resume is concise, direct, and specific. Ensure that your resume is tailored for the position and for the industry. Review our guide on resumes for more information on how to construct one.
A cover letter introduces you to a potential employer. Use the position description to make specific connections between your skills and experience and what the organization is looking for in a candidate. The cover letter should be concise and well-written—if a potential employer reads your cover letter and is intrigued, they will then read your resume. Your cover letter should not repeat your resume verbatim, but enhance it. Together the cover letter and resume can help land you an interview. Review our guide on cover letters for more information on how to construct one.
Most interviews will contain a mixture of resume based questions (questions about your past experience) and behavioral based questions (your ability to handle prospective situations at work. Most positions will begin with an interview that has a mix of these questions. Review our guide on common interview questions.
Preparation is extremely important for interviews. Research the company/organization, current and previous projects they’ve worked on, and even the people that you’re interviewing with. This will not only help provide talking points but will show your knowledge and genuine interest in the position. Utilize our resources on how to best prepare yourself to excel in your interview.
If you are interviewing with any of the publishing houses, it’s extremely important to be up to date on the Publisher's Weekly Industry News.
Know what type of book or magazine interests you most and the types of publications published by the firm. Magazine and book publishing are different; don’t compare them in your interview. Understand the business side of publishing and recent trends in the industry and the impact of digital and ebook publishing on the industry and the interviewing firm’s approach to these new angles. Sample Interview Questions: Editorial in book publishing.
Being able to show work examples is a key component when preparing to apply and interview. A robust portfolio needs to include specific examples of writing, design, campaigns, and other relevant work to the industry. Tailoring your portfolio to the kind of work that the company that you’re applying to is important.
An online portfolio is a great resource to build over time that visually displays the work that you have done. There are several online platforms to build your own website such as square space or wix. Having a well made online portfolio or website will help you to stand out and provide employers easy access to view your work.
Understand and Follow the Industry
- Publisher's Weekly Industry News
- Publishing Perspectives - Trends, people and companies shaping the global book publishing industry
- Publishing Trends - Blogs, news, lists, and trends in ever-changing book publishing
- Publishers Archive - Directory of book publishers, literary awards, and book events
- Book Editors
- Editorial and Research Assistants
- Dream Job: Assistant Magazine Publisher
- Copy Editor
- Penguin Random House
- Scholastic Library
- National Geographic
- University of Chicago Press
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Personalize your feed, explore your curiosities, and get updates that matter to you. Handshake is a dynamic system that works to match students with the most relevant resources and opportunities offered by our office including:
- Access to personalized job recommendations – This is based on major, career interests, and profile information such as skills and experiences. When students fill out their profile, they’ll be able to see jobs and internships that match their interests and skills.
- Ability to schedule one–on-one counseling appointments – Counseling appointments are able to be scheduled through Handshake and held virtually via Zoom.
- Ability to Interact with employers – Students can research contact information for local and national employers. Employers can also message students with opportunities and information.
- Connect with students across the country - Students can interact with their peers through messaging, get tips and advice, as well as network.
- Search for and apply to open positions - On Handshake, students can see jobs and internships posted specifically for them as well as employers actively recruiting from Notre Dame.