Charlotte Brady, philosophy year 4
Deciding to pursue a career in the creative industries, particularly publishing and journalism, can invite a lot of horror stories about a dark abyss of unemployment and despair. Thankfully, when you’re a Philosophy undergraduate, you’re fairly used to it.
The horror stories, however unwanted, aren’t unwarranted. It’s a really tough industry. But, there are people out there who have managed to land a job in publishing, and largely by virtue of the Society of Young Publishers Scotland and the events they put on, I’ve been able to speak to a lot of them.
A piece of advice I get a lot is that experience is key: I should get my 2:1 degree in my chosen field, but what I especially need to do, is demonstrate a considered commitment to a career in the industry. There are lots of different ways to achieve this and there are a host of opportunities on campus and in Edinburgh.
Here’s a quick run through of some of the ways I’ve chosen to do it.
- Joining SYP Scotland – The Society of Young Publishers is an organisation for anyone who has been in the publishing industry for less than 10 years, or hopes to get into publishing. They put on monthly events and provide great opportunities to hear from industry experts. Attending is a really great way to keep informed and meet important contacts.
- Joining the SYP Scotland committee – In my role as Student Liaison Officer on the committee, I promote SYP Scotland events and membership to students across the country. I also regularly attend and contribute to committee meetings and assist in the some of the organisation and running of our monthly events, online events and blog posts.
- Joining the SYP Conference Committee – The SYP Conference will be an all day event with a number of fantastic talks and workshops for those in the publishing industry. I am assisting with sponsorship, and closer to the date in March 2016, I’ll be helping with marketing too. Being able to cite experiences of being involved in the organisation and running of an event this size will be invaluable in interviews this time next year.
- Edinburgh University Peer Proofreading Scheme – I am a volunteer proofreader for an Edinburgh University scheme which provides proofreading assistance for students whose first language isn’t English. I’m able to hone my proofreading skills and practice giving feedback.
- Work Experience with Think Publishing (2 weeks) and Luath Press Ltd. (1 month) – I was able to gain an excellent insight into magazine publishing and content creation at Think and into book publishing at Luath. Both of these placements allowed me to narrow my interests within the industry and get some hands on experience. I was able to attend author meetings, write press releases, create content, assess manuscripts and more.
- News Editor of The Journal, Scotland’s student newspaper – Following a number of promotions, I was made News Editor of The Journal and I held that post for about a year. I had to be articulate, organised and proactive to be successful at The Journal and can talk about how I introduced a guide for writers on dealing with press offices, following a meeting with Edinburgh University Press Office or that I introduced a style guide, to cut down editing time.
- Edinburgh University Media Award – I was awarded an Edinburgh University Media Award in 2014. This was a great opportunity to consider my role in the media and develop myself. I was able to network with other students at Edinburgh who are interested in careers in media and with individuals who have successful careers in journalism and publishing, such as the staff of The Skinny.
- Don’t forget… …..Brush up on your social media skills, make sure you have a LinkedIn and an industry-heavy twitter account. A blog is my next big challenge!
- Personal development, particularly with digital skills, is also a great thing. I recently applied to take part in the Code First Girls initiative.
Making the most out of your spare time at university requires planning and commitment, but you’ve made it on to a PPLS course at Edinburgh University, so you already have the intelligence to make yourself a real asset!