The most widely known area of publishing is book publishing, but newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals also fall within this industry. In general, these organizations, which are known as publishers, issue copies of works for which they usually possess copyright. Publishers may publish works originally created by others for which they have obtained the rights and/or works that they have created in-house. Much of publishing is transitioning to online content, and the addition of e-books and apps has changed the industry some, and added new roles and skills needed within the field.
Recruiting Timelines & Methods
Tips for Success
To successfully navigate the internship and job search process, it is important to take an active approach to networking and expanding your Northwestern career network because many people in publishing find work through networking. As soon as you know what areas within publishing that interest you, start reaching out to personal connections, alumni, and others who work in the industry to build relationships to advance your career in publishing (see Get Involved, Network, & Find Opportunities within each industry/profession below). . In addition, to get your foot-in-the-door in this industry participate in activities related to publishing, take a course in copy editing or anything digital, and don’t discount working hands-on in a bookstore.
Skills to be successful vary depending on job role but include:
- advanced verbal and written communication
- detailed oriented
- technology and social media skills
- time management
- analytical skills
- interpersonal skills
- negotiation skills
- project management skills
Job & Internship Search
Finding an internship in publishing can be very competitive. Publishing internships can be found in all areas of the industry, from editorial to publicity to technology to sales. To gain experience, apply for internships at smaller to mid-sized organizations. This will make you more competitive for internships with large publishing companies or magazines after your junior year.
Full-time Job Advice
Finding a full-time job within publishing is also very competitive, but internship experience and continually networking will increase your chances of success. Most people enter into the industry as an “assistant” regardless of the area of publishing. Within editorial you may even start as a secretary to a publisher.
Where Students Intern/Work: Publishing house/company, literary agencies, printers, university press, greeting card publishers, music publishers.
Sample Intern/Job Titles
- Account Manager
- Art Editor
- Contracts Director
- Copy Editor
- Editorial Assistant
- Junior Copy Writer
- Marketing Assistant
- Production Assistant
- Publicity Assistant
- Publishing Intern
- Rights Assistant
Professional Associations (*Also may have internship/job postings)
Resumes & Cover Letters
In this industry words are incredibly important so any spelling, punctuation or grammar errors are unacceptable. The format and appearance of your resume is also important in publishing, but so is the content.
Writing is a large part of almost all roles in publishing, so you must always write a cover letter, which helps a hiring manager evaluate your writing skills. In addition, your passion for publishing must be evident in your cover letter. If the organization you’re applying to publishes one of your favorite authors be sure to write that, and show genuine interest. It is to your advantage to be more narrative and/or creative in your writing while still being professional, and following standard cover letter format.
Northwestern student groups, professional organizations, and the Northwestern alumni network can provide students with an opportunity to gain the skills and experience needed for a career in publishing. These opportunities can also develop students’ networking skills, a critical component of the job and internship search within this industry.
- Search “Media/Publication” under Categories in Wildcat Connection
- Our Northwestern and LinkedIn (NU Alumni Group, NU School based groups, Industry groups)