Monday, October 29, 2007

Have a Publishing Panel Discussion!

I read this article a few days ago in the student newspaper for Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The career center at SMU sponsored a panel discussion of alums who have worked in publishing. They shared their experiences with current students interested in learning about jobs in the publishing world.

Their advice is interesting and helpful (if not a little superficial--but it's a newspaper article, after all). It made me think how easily this could be done on other campuses. If you're a student interested in publishing, go to your college career center and ask whether they can bring in an alum (or two or three) to give a presentation on the subject. Maybe you can even volunteer to help set up and publicize it. (Something for your resume!)

There's a lesson here for those of you who already have a job in publishing, too. Why not volunteer to go back to your alma mater and give a presentation for the students in the English and journalism programs? Your university will be grateful (but don't be surprised if they start asking for more—like hiring students as interns, buying an ad in their publications, or being a sponsor for a job fair). It's also a wonderful networking opportunity. It can never hurt to get chummy with your former school's career staff. They often are aware of job vacancies suitable for older alums.

I do practice what I preach. I've spoken to University of Evansville students about publishing careers (although just informally in a class). I also met recently with their alumni/careers liaison when she was in town and I told her I'd be willing to come back again and speak about publishing careers and critique some resumes (I think I've read close to 5,000 of them in my years as a resume-book editor—and I am not, as Dave Barry says, making this up).

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