Ask an Expert with Suzy Astbury: how to improve your career prospects

Posted on May 29, 2018 in News & Reviews, UK

Prior to Suzy Astbury taking part in our Ask an Expert session I posted about the intricacies of navigating the working world of publishing. Finding the right way to present yourself through applications, interviews and promotions can be a difficult art to master. Luckily, we had Suzy, managing director at Inspired Selection, to answer all of our questions. Suzy provided personalised advice drawing from her ten years’ experience in the publishing industry.

You can find some great advice on The Network about how to approach a change in job title or an increase in salary. We found that it’s important to take a look at the company’s current growth rate in order to see where you fit into the company’s future and what training needs you have in order to work at a higher level. Presenting your improved skills as a benefit to business rather than something the company needs to do for you will make you much more likely to receive what you are looking for.

Advice was also given on how to move across sectors in the publishing industry whilst striving for a more senior role. Suzy recommended keeping up a strong network so that personal connections can help to open up job opportunities. Creating a personal brand online also helps to demonstrate enthusiasm for a publishing sector and will help to demonstrate transferable skills.

“HR are a huge influence on hiring decisions. A lot of people think they are not as important and they couldn’t be more wrong!”

It’s also important to remember how key HR is to the decision making process. When it comes to following up after interview, Suzy gave some key advice: get hold of the interviewers’ contact details face-to-face and find out whether to contact interviewers directly or through HR. Following up the same day to enquire about your strengths and weaknesses at interview will leave a good lasting impression that could place you above any other candidates.

Ever approached a cover letter by trying to tick off all of the criterion in the job specification? Then take Suzy’s advice: “leave them wanting more”. Tick off three to five key points in a cover letter and use an interview to follow up with the remaining specifications. Companies won’t have time to read through a letter longer than a page, so keep your writing succinct and demonstrate how you fit only the most important aspects of an advertised job role.

To find out how you can use freelance experience as a transferable skill for entering into the industry, the top five traits employers are looking for and much more advice from Suzy, log in to The Network to read the entire conversation from last week’s event.

The Network and ‘Ask and Expert’ series is available to full and digital members of the Society of Young Publishers. If you are not one of these members but wish to find out what membership can offer, please take a look here.

Finally, if you are a member of the SYP and want to gain even more insights into how to secure that elusive publishing job or internship, check out the upcoming Career Clinic with Suzy. This will take place in London on 6 June and covers how to perfect those CVs and covering letters. Check out the details and how to apply here.


Communications Manager for SYP UK