Hiring Tips From Employers


On Thursday, October 24th, 50 Pace students attended a wonderful program organized by Career Services at Pace.  A very prestigious group of publishing professionals gathered to share their experience and insights about getting a job in the highly competitive book and magazine publishing industries and the media communications industry.  In the blog below, MS in Publishing student, Jason Wachtler, shares with us some of the key pieces of advice he took away from the afternoon.

Jason Wachtler is currently an intern with New Leaf Literary & Media in their Subsidiary Rights department is a second semester MS in Publishing student. 


The topics discussed covered:  finding a job, cover letter/resume tips, interview tips, and thoughts on reaching out to publishing professionals.  We were fortunate enough to get a wealth of excellent information from a thoughtful panel.

The Panel included: Kristen L. Flanagan – Senior Associate Editor from Martha Stewart LivingAmy Brundage – HR Director from Hachette Book Group USA, Kristin Hebert – HR Generalist from Penguin Random House PublishingSelina BhagwandinVice President/ Associate Director from Zenith Optimedia  and Tina JordanVice President from the Association of American Publishers as the Moderator

What type of job in Publishing do I go for?

Kristin Hebert make the crowd feel at ease.  She said that there are many types of positions available in the industry, not just editing.  As long as you like books, you have a place here.

Tina Jordan asked us, what type of person are you? If you are an extrovert, Sales and Marketing positions would be best.  She recommended to not try to change yourself to get a job, find something that fits and makes you happy.

How do I actually find a job?

Kristen L. Flanagan recommended regularly searching job websites like ED2010 for magazine internship and employment opportunities.  She also mentioned that employers expect an applicant to already have experience.  Start a blog, write, intern, try to have work to show that you are keeping involved and evolving as a publishing professional.

Amy Brundage’s recommendation was to network and start looking early.  Her company starts looking for summer interns in January.  Being in the right place at the right time works, there is some luck involved.  She recommends the site bookjobs.com as great resource for students looking to launch a career in publishing.

Kristin Hebert touched on this as well.  Random House has just recently merged with Penguin.  She said that if people don’t know that, they should not apply to a position there.  (What she was getting at was, do your research! Know the company.) Also, put yourself out there and network.  Whenever applying for anything, let your enthusiasm show.  Oh, and make sure to network, network, network….

Selina Bhagwandin’s company has had great success with Pace students: Pace is where a lot of their interns have come from.  Like everyone one else, she also says that networking is very important. Talk to your friends, they may have good leads.  Go to career fairs; put your face out there as much as you can.

Tina Jordan believes that there is no excuse to not make it in this industry, things are not always easy but do not get discouraged.  Apply to every place that you can, then if you get turned down from all of those places, go back out and apply some more.  Networking is really important and she recommends joining industry organizations like the AAP’s Young Publishing Group going to book festivals, or any other event in order to get your face out there.

Cover Letter / Resume Tips

Selina Bhagwandin stressed that you need to make sure there are no typos in your resume and to tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for. Don’t be lazy and use a one size fits all resume and cover letter.

Kristin Hebert and stated that there should be no mistakes in your cover letter and resume—always double check these documents and run them by others as they might see mistakes you are overlooking.  It isn’t a bad idea to send your resume as a PDF too, sometimes the format you have on your computer looks very different when received by others.  She is always looking to see if someone has passion and enthusiasm, let that be shown on your cover letter.  Also come across as intelligent, it is important to do your research and always read and educate yourself about the company you are applying to.

Amy Brundage stated the need for things to be spelled correctly in anything you send out.  This is the first thing a company sees of you, don’t mess that up.

On the Interview

Selina Bhagwandin wanted us to remember, when getting the interview make sure to have some good questions.

Kristin Hebert advised us to dress to impress!  When getting the interview you better live, breath, and love the position you are going for.  Remember that if it’s not your dream job, it’s someone else’s; that will show through in how you handle yourself.  Also you will likely not be the only one interviewing for this position, be memorable in a good way. Make sure to create a connection with the interviewer.  One question she wanted us to think about: If asked what books you have read recently, never say “the classics”.  We need to stay current, talk about what recent books you have read.

One way Ms. Jordan recommended as a last minute way to keep up on current books is to read the Sunday book review.  Also, afterwards if you get a chance to write a handwritten thank you note, do it!!!

Amy Brundage’s suggested studying the job description prior to going in for the interview and to look through every part.  Have an answer for everything they are looking for.  Find the parts in your resume that can touch upon whatever part they need, be prepared.  Always have an answer for “tell me about yourself?”  This question needs to be answered with by describing past job experiences and how it is relevant to this position.  Very important though is to not waste people’s time.  If you are not ready to start work immediately, don’t go in for an interview.

Things to help for specific jobs

Kristin L. Flanagan said that magazine editorial assistant positions usually look for at least six months of experience.  Publicity positions require office experience, customer service experience, and strong interpersonal skills.

Amy Brundage said that editing is link an apprenticeship.  You need to start as an editorial assistant then work your way up.  The key is learning how the next position up works while doing you current position.

In Selina Bhagwandin’s position as a Media Buyer there is a sales aspect to it.  In her role, good communication skills and being very social is key.


Reaching out on LinkedIn or through email?

Kristin Hebert first told us to take the time to ensure that our LinkedIn profile is presentable to employers.  Also join relevant groups.  If you are interested in Marketing, find the Marketing groups.  As far as reaching out, she believes that it can be a good idea to directly send someone a message.  Trying to set up an informational interview is well worth it.  She acknowledges that, that is a great way to be in the pipeline.  However, in any message be both professional and intelligent. A

Amy Brundage agrees with this too as long as it is a reasonable message.  Do your research before doing something like that.  Ask intelligent questions, don’t just write someone asking to be given a job.

Kristen L. Flanagan is also ok with this approach if it is done correctly.  If the person comes through as genuine and intelligent it is good.  Do not be ridiculous, rude, or uninformed.  Worst case you will not get an answer back.


All is all it was a very informative and interesting afternoon, not to mention a great networking opportunity!  Thank you to Career Services for hosting this event and thank you to all of the excellent panelists.