News That Isn’t Great For Anxious People:
I have been told by my past three internships that I shouldn’t start applying to publishing jobs (or internships) until, at the earliest, April. April. APRIL.
For anyone who’s a senior graduating in May, you can imagine how stressful and anxiety riveting this could be. While all your friends are applying and interviewing throughout the year, and some could have a job locked down months before graduation, you’re “patiently” waiting to begin your search.
Why am I Even Waiting?:
Let’s first start with the reason my internships told me this. When a job in publishing is listed, the company hopes to fill up the position immediately. So for example, if you’re applying for a job in November, but then state you can’t start until May, the company is going to overlook your application for someone who can start immediately. The publishing industry is very fast paced and it’s important to stay on top of deadlines and projects. Publishers can’t wait months and months for someone to do the work they need done immediately.
So, that leads future applicants to feel like they’re simply sitting on their hands and doing nothing but wait. That doesn’t have to be the case though. There are plenty of projects that can be done while waiting for that countdown clock to wind down.
What to do When You’re Waiting to Apply:
Figure out what you want to do.
The first thing that’s critical to do is find out where in publishing you want to work. In a previous blog post, titled A Web of Positions in Publishing, I list the different sections of publishing, and what their day-to-day tasks are. Get a better grasps of what positions are in the publishing industry are, and try to imagine which is the best place for you. Or, if you’re not willing to limit yourself and want any job within publishing, learn about each section and be ready to adjust your resume or cover letter to fit into that position. That leads me into my next point…
Update your resume/cover letter.
Take all this time to try to design the perfect resume and cover letter. Have reliable people give their opinions on what to change or keep. It is preferable if these reviewers have an understanding of what someone in publishing is looking for, since each industry has a different format. If you know exactly which field you want to work in, design a base cover letter for that position. Leave space for a short paragraph that relates directly to the specific company. You can even start writing cover letters for companies you know you would want to apply to/work for, since they may have job listings to reference to while writing cover letters. If you don’t know which field to work in or don’t want to limit yourself, have numerous cover letter samples and resumes that fit each category. (NOTE: Make sure that if you’re planning on applying to multiple positions in the same company that your cover letter is varied. Companies do not appreciate reading a “template” cover letter where you simply inserted their company name to a base letter.)
Find connections and references
Do your best to find someone who can be a connection for you to a position you would want to have. Whether that’s on LinkedIn or someone your family knows, having connections is always useful. You can also reach out to past internships if you’ve have them and see if they have any leads or suggestions. However, that is always easier said than done, so if this isn’t an option for you, then focus on the other two suggestions I have to take up your time while waiting to apply.