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 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:


  • 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!


  • 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.


  • 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:

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