Feature Friday Guest Blog – WNBA Career Skills Panel Report

instagram6Heather Allen is in her second semester of the M.S. in Publishing Program at Pace University. She is the Social Media Coordinator for the WNBA-NYC, Social Media/ Marketing Intern for Touchstone Books at Simon & Schuster, and holds a part-time editorial assistant position at Thieme Medical Publishers.

On Tuesday, a panel of six industry professionals spoke to an intimate group of publishing hopefuls. The panelists were:

  • Melissa Rosati, Co-Leadership Trainer, Pace University MS in Publishing Program
  • Alexis Bressler, Human Resources Specialist, Macmillan Publishers
  • Pauline Hsia, Literary Agent Assistant; WNBA-NYC Member, Young to Publishing Group
  • Justin Krass, Career Counselor, Pace University Career Services Center
  • Amy Saxon, Editorial Assistant at Bedford/St. Martin’s

The night’s moderator was Andrea Baron ( WNBA-NYC Student/Young Professional Outreach Chair and Adjunct Professor, Pace University MS in Publishing Program). DSC_0762

Melisa Rosati, who previously hosted Facebook Marketing for Writers in January mentioned three takeaway points for anyone looking to get into the industry:

1)      Have a theory of the future: don’t get caught up in the past; everything that is “on the fringe” will eventually become mainstream, so be on the lookout
2)      Sometimes questions are more powerful than answers. Questions during an interview like, “What would happen if…?” Or “Where do you see this publishing company going?” show you are willing to take risks.
3)      Always follow up.

IMG_0418Alexis Bressler, advised to always customize your resume and cover letter to the job you’re applying for.  Your interest in the company will definitely come across, especially when the job posting is only up for 3 days (and she gets 700 resumes).

Justin Krass emphasized the importance of networking. It’s a business relationship, where both parties bring something to the table.  One of the easiest ways to network is to use LinkedIn, which has an “Introduce Yourself” feature, but if you prefer face to face interaction, many WNBA-NYC events can help you meet new people in the industry. Once you start networking it’s also important to create a professional brand on your social media sites.

Pauline Hsia also attested to joining professional organizations as a way to meet people and fill your resume during times of unemployment.  She is a member of Association of Author Representatives and Young 2 Publishing as well as the WNBA-NYC.

IMG_0427Amy Saxon, who referred to herself as a professional intern, found her job because of her internships. By letting her employers get to know her and her work ethic, she was able to secure a great recommendation letter, which would ultimately lead to a full time position. Some of Saxon’s other advice was more about taking personal chances by talking with people you admire. People in publishing are always willing to talk about what they do.

Some of the other major points mentioned were:

–        Take whatever job you can get related to publishing because you can use it as a starting point to get other jobs

–        Let people know that you’re looking for a job; you never know what kind of help your connections can provide

–        Many people are interested in working editorial jobs. To stand out on resumes and cover letters, share your publishing related blog, Twitter account and/or writing portfolio

–        If you’re not a student and still want an internship, other options include writing freelance, applying to non-profit organizations, and always networking.

–        During interviews, find a happy medium of professional and comfortable, try to have a conversation, and always be prepared

Overall, the job search can be overwhelming for many, but the more personable you are, the more successful you can be. And always be on the lookout for a professional connection!

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