Career Advice from Random House

Most grad students in the M.S. in Publishing program are on the hunt for jobs or internships, and any connection or bit of advice that we can use to get ahead is extremely valuable.

It was for this reason that so many of us could be found sitting in the Midtown Center computer lab last Tuesday, listening to a presentation given by Deborah Friedman, the Human Resources Assistant from Random House, Inc. The M.S. in Publishing program, in cooperation with Bookjobs.com and the Association of American Publishers (AAP), hosted the informational session.

Miss Friedman opened the talk by asking each of us to introduce ourselves, what undergraduate work we did, and which aspect of the publishing industry we are interested in. Once she had a sense of what we were interested in, she started in to her presentation. She began with an overview of Random House, Inc., and then delved into the entry level positions and career paths for each of their many departments. She also impressed us with the benefits package that Random House employees enjoy.

Then she gave us what we were all waiting for – those valuable tips for applications, resumes, cover letters, and interviews. Here are a few of the valuable tidbits we picked up from her:

Applications:

  • Don’t apply across the board to every job that is offered – be specific and make sure your experience matches the criteria that the position requires.
  • If you are asked to provide references, be sure to notify those people that they may be contacted!

Cover letters:

  • Your cover letter is often looked at even before your resume, so make sure it stands out!
  • Tailor it to the job you are applying for – don’t just send a general letter. Talk about why your experience fits the job description.
  • Make sure you have the correct names of the people and of the company! It sounds obvious, but she said that they often receive letters written to a different company. Yikes!
  • Try for 3-4 paragraphs to fill out the page. But go for quality over quantity!

Resumes:

  • Highlight your experience! It represents YOU, so give it effort. Make it clean, simple, and show attention to detail.
  • Office and administrative experience is ALWAYS a plus, and internship experience is very valuable.
  • If you have a blog or are involved in social networks, make sure you include those too.

Interviews:

  • Show up ON TIME. Even early is acceptable, but don’t show up any more than 15 mins early. That can throw off someone’s schedule and make you look too eager.
  • Dress appropriately. If possible, ladies should wear a skirt and heels, and gentlemen should wear nice slacks and shoes (no sneakers!)
  • You are usually meeting with more than one person, so try to get (and remember) names.

After the interview:

  • Send a thank-you note to every person you met with, and send it as quickly as possible after the interview takes place. Make sure you write more than just a line or two, and try to personalize it to each individual you met (mention something they said or something that you connected with them over). This can be just as important as your cover letter and resume!
  • Follow up. After you send your thank-you notes, give it about 5 days to a week before you send a follow up email. If you don’t get a response after a few more days, then try calling.
  • If you don’t get the job, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. If there’s something that you could have done better, you’ll know for next time!

Check out the career opportunities available at Random House here: www.careers.randomhouse.com

Ms. Friedman’s presentation was extremely informative, so be sure to keep an eye out for more opportunities to attend guest presentations at Pace!

Publishing Students Looking to the Future: a Lecture Essay

Gregg Hano

The Marketing and Magazine Production classes taught by professors Soares and Baron were treated to a glimpse of the future last week.  On Monday, November 22, 2010 the Vice President and Group Publisher of Bonnier Corporation’s Technology Group, Gregg Hano, visited Pace University’s midtown campus to speak about what students have to look forward to as they enter the world of magazine publishing.

In the spirit of the Bonnier Technology Group’s tagline: “We Own the Future”, Hano’s lecture centered on the future effects of the iPad and its imitators on website content and print magazines. Mr. Hano spoke about the possibilities offered by the iPad and the other tablets that will soon be flooding the marketplace and households around the world. He explained how his technology group helped to create software, called Mag +, to fully utilize the tablet platform and add more interactivity and multi-media presentations to their iPad applications and allowed them to make Popular Science (his group’s premier title) the first magazine on the iPad. As he continued on, he talked about managing website content and creating paid-for internet content. It is Mr. Hano’s belief that putting printed content on the world-wide web for free was the biggest mistake the publishing industry has made. He advocated the creation of web-only content that would be paid for by its readers rather than given away for free. Hano also believes that publishers should increase the price of print magazines in order to keep magazines afloat rather than continuing to lower prices and scrambling for dwindling advertising dollars.

Throughout his talk about the future Mr. Hano tied in advice that was given to him by his boss, Bonnier Corporation’s CEO, Jonas Bonnier: “Test a lot of things. You’re going to fail a lot. Fail quickly and cheaply”. When speaking about the multi-media “Genius Guides” that his group created for Popular Science, Hano admitted that they put too much “stuff” into the applications, and as a result, they were not as popular as the company had hoped. They used that experience to scale back and hone their iPad applications to perfection. He also talked about testing new versions of their magazines on new technology platforms. Hano then touched on the successes and failures of the magazines in his group, including the reinvention of Sound+Vision and American Photo;   Sound+Vision took off while American Photo is in Hano’s words “broken” and returning to development.

After answering questions, Gregg Hano imparted his last bit of advice: be bold, be revolutionary, and be ready to get fired. It is his belief that if you don’t get fired you aren’t making waves, and if you aren’t making waves, you aren’t doing your job. If you are pushing the envelope and creating change, you are going to cause tension, and tension can get you fired, but making changes is more important so remember: Always look forward!

-Russell Spangler, Graduate Student at Pace University’s M.S. in Publishing Program