As some of you may know, I am currently studying publishing at Centennial College. This week was the last week of my first semester. Part of my program involves two off-campus days where our class gets to meet different people from the industry.
This event took place this Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, six people from the magazine industry came to meet with us and give us advice. We also had a cocktail party-type lunch with the recent graduates from our program to talk about their jobs and how they got there. On Thursday, there were five people from the book industry.
Overall, the days were amazing and rewarding, even though at times it did feel a bit overwhelming. But I think it’s normal to feel overwhelmed when meeting a lot of new people in a short amount of time.
Regardless of the tiring aspect of the couple days, it was probably one of the most rewarding things that I have done so far.
Here are five things that I learned at meet the industry week:
1) Be passionate
The best thing that you can bring to an employer is your passion. You can be taught everything except how to be enthusiastic about what you’re doing. Even if the job you’re applying to isn’t your dream job, take the time to find something about the job that you are passionate about. A sliver of enthusiasm is better than someone that doesn’t know what they want. Always tell an employer that you want the job and tell them why you want the job.
2) Be yourself
The best way for you to improve a company is to be yourself. Each person has a unique experience and point of view. Show the company you are interviewing with that you are someone that can bring a unique perspective to publication.
3) Ask for what you want
Never be afraid to tell an employer what you want. The worst thing they can do is say, “No,” or, “Not right now.” Asking for what you want will never put you at a disadvantage. It will show the employer your passion and dedication to the company. During internships, don’t only do the work that they have assigned. Finish that work and then ask for more once you are finished. Ask if there is a certain project you would like to work on. Ask the employer for job opportunities if you want to keep working there. You can only get what you want if you ask for it. Don’t wait for things to fall into your lap.
4) Always have a backup plan
Sometimes, in this industry, departments get merged and are made smaller all of the time. If you are working full time, it is good to be doing some freelance work on the side. One of the people that I met told me that she was working full time but then she got let go. She decided that a full time job was not for her so she decided to become a freelancer. Having freelance on the side allows for more security (as well as extra money).
5) Maintaining your network
One thing that was highlighted during the meetings with each of the publishing professionals is the importance on maintaining your network. Even doing something as simple as taking someone out for a drink to celebrate a new position that they have. Networking is a great way to hear about jobs that you might not have seen or heard otherwise. A lot of things happen through word of mouth and employers would rather have someone recommended to them than to take their chance by going through a slush pile of resumes.
Most of these things I had been previously told by my publishing professors. But it was interesting to be receiving the same information from people who are working full-time in the industry.
Overall, I am beyond thankful for this opportunity to get to know some of the people in the industry and hearing their thoughts.