Job Hunting 101: No Perfume, No Pink

McCoy of Time Inc. , Helmus of Hearst,  Garas of Macmillan and Gundersen of HarperCollins  toss out  job tips
McCoy of Time Inc., Helmus of Hearst, Garas of Macmillan, and Gundersen of HarperCollins offer  job hunting advice

When four Human Resources experts took the stage at NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute, almost no one took a bathroom break. In an admittedly tough job market, students were eager to know whether there would be jobs waiting for them when they graduate in five more weeks…. and if so, what kind?

Amy Helmus of Hearst, Cindy Garas of Macmillan, Danielle Gundersen of HarperCollins, and Jamila McCoy of Time Inc. were universal: yes, we are hiring at the entry level, though jobs are definitely scarcer than last year. Time Inc. in particular is hiring many temporary workers who may then go from “temp to perm.”

The conversation ranged from what you should NOT wear to an interview (an overdose of perfume or cologne) to the hue of your resume paper (Forget about pink!). Some tips and tricks from our HR experts:

Use your contacts

If you know an editor or someone in the publishing company, definitely send them your resume and let them know you are applying for a specific job. In most cases, you will still have to go through HR, but every avenue is a way in to publishing. And no, this won’t tick off HR or jeopardize your chances. Even if you know someone, apply through the publishing company’s website as they need a record of all applicants and often search resumes later if a new position applicable to your talents comes up.

Do  Send a Cover Letter

Write a short, to-the-point cover letter (a few paragraphs are fine), making sure you capture why you are suited to a particular job or to a specific area of interest within the company. The cover letter should express your writing ability and your personality.

Make Your Resume Relevant

Banish high school from your resume and only include college GPA’s or test scores if they are impressive. Don’t be afraid to create multiple resumes and tailor the one you are sending to the job requirements. Your “relevant experience” section belongs at the top, with “other experience” below. All info within these sections should be arranged chronologically.

Moderator Andrea Chambers with McCoy and Helmus
Moderator Andrea Chambers with McCoy and Helmus

Spell Check and Double Check

Ask a friend or colleague to read your resume and remember that if there are typos, most publishing houses will not hire you. If you can’t get your resume right, how will you handle a manuscript?

Brush Up On Interview Etiquette

Be nice to the receptionist. (If you’re a jerk, that gets reported back.) Leave the flip flops, gum, coffee, jeans, and bare midriffs at home. Suits aren’t absolutely necessary, but be sure to look professional. (If you are applying for a fashion editor job at, say, Vogue, you might want to look a little trendy, however.)  DON’T inquire about the salary or benefits in the first interview or at all; they will tell you. Have questions for your interviewer ready, but don’t ask things about the company widely available on the corporate website.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

And that doesn’t mean call! Our experts all said they same thing: “We will call you.” A nice thank you note is all you need. Best practice: send an email the next day and a hand-written note the same day so it will arrive shortly after, though most HR professionals are happy with just the email. No follow up? There is a good chance you will not be hired.

Some final words: while the market is tough, jobs are available and flexibility is important. Getting a foot in the door, even as a paid or unpaid intern or temporary worker, is a great way to show an employer that you are worth hiring when the job opens up.

Some links to remember:

by Andrea Chambers

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