Grad-U-At?


Name: Lucy Cameron

Studied:

  • Lancaster University BA History (2:1)

Current job: Production Assistant - Bloomsbury Publishing

What does your job as a Production Assistant entail?

It mainly involves reprinting academic backlist titles (academic books published a while ago) and converting them to e-files for iPads, kindles, or online libraries.

Did you go straight into your job when you finished studies?

Not at all, I worked as a Customer Care Agent at Gatwick Airport (I drove the buggies for disabled passengers) for 8 months whilst applying for jobs. I sent out roughly 70 applications and went to 8 interviews. Being a graduate is tough! About 4 interviewers didn’t even contact me to let me know if I had or hadn’t got the job.

What methods did you use to look for jobs; what was the most successful way?

I went on company websites, endlessly scanned Reed and The Guardian Jobs, and followed my targeted companies on social media. If you have an industry and role in mind, it’s a good idea to look for similar, less desirable roles to work your way up in. I knew I wanted publishing and especially wanted editorial but it’s really oversubscribed, so I looked at marketing, publicity and, obviously, production. And, above all, do work experience!

What’s the best part of your job?

It sounds really weird but having my own desk. There’s something nice about knowing where you’re going in the morning and having your own space to get on with your work. From a work point of view, I like prepping print books for digital conversion. You need to update their cover, title pages and online information. It sounds boring but I have the ultimate say on layout, format and text. I could change anything and no one would know…

What are your career plans for the future?

When I started in publishing, I envisioned myself as a high-flying editor with a grand office and an overworked assistant. Now I see myself more in marketing. I got a taste of it when I did work experience at Penguin, and it seems so creative and varied. While production is great for organisation, control, and project management, I can rarely be innovative and get paid to play on social media.

Is there a fictional book character that you feel best represents your personality?

Rosy from Confessions of a Tinderella. Bit of a cop-out as it’s a semi-autobiographical book, but she’s contradictory, sociable, career-minded and fun. A lazy cook, a poor sharer and indulgent when it comes to beauty products. That’s me in a nutshell.


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