JobHack FAQs

Posted 02.12.20 by Bella Williams

JobHack went virtual this year with talks from a wide array of different departments and on topics from the Publishing Process and How to Ace your CV and Interview.

Colleagues shared their career journey, insights into their role and answered questions from attendees. The videos from JobHack will be shared over the next few weeks.

Lots of brilliant, practical and curious questions were asked during JobHack and unfortunately there wasn’t time to get to them all. So, we’re going to cover as many of the frequently asked questions as we can in a short series of blogs.

Here’s the first one, answering some of the questions from the How to Ace your CV and Interview talk.

1. Would [XXXXXX work experience/qualification] strengthen my application?


This was a common question at JobHack, and unfortunately there’s no one experience, qualification or job that’s the secret to landing your first role.


It’s much more about the skills, potential and behaviours you bring – no matter where you developed them.

2. Should we be at all creative with our CV or should it remain completely formal?


Often simplicity is best – the impact of an easy to read, well formatted CV shouldn’t be underestimated.


The only exception to this might be if you’re going for a role in Design, where this could be another way to demonstrate your skills.

3. What kind of tone should a cover letter have? Is there a way to get across your personality (or even your writing style, which may be an important skill, depending on the role), whilst also making it professional? What’s the balance between friendly and formal?


This is partly down to personal preference, but we recommend matching the tone of the job advert. That will be a good guide to how formal or informal your cover letter should be.

4. If you accept one position and then get accepted for your dream position, what is the etiquette?


It’s unfortunate, but it does happen – especially if you’re applying for multiple roles at once.


Take a moment to weigh up the options. Is this really your dream role? How does it compare to the other?


If it is, let the hiring manager know as soon and as politely as you can so they can contact the other candidates. It might be helpful to share a bit of your reasoning for why you’re going for the other role.

5. If a job application asks you to write 300 words about a marketing campaign/a book you’d recommend in your cover letter, is it okay to go over a page? And should you add it into your letter or have it as an appendix?


Yes, include it as part of your cover letter if that’s what the job advert has asked for and remember to keep within the word limit.


There’s no need to include an appendix – only the CV (maximum 2 pages) and cover letter (maximum 1 page, with some leeway if there’s a task involved).


Part of a cover letter’s job is to show you can communicate effectively and concisely. Your hiring manager may have a lot of these to read and consider, so be kind to them! Two pages of densely packed, font size 6 text with no margins will mean the key parts of your experience will be hard to pick out and hard to read.


Remember – you want to make it as easy as possible for the person reading your CV and cover letter to know you’re the right person for the job.

6. What advice would you give to somebody trying to get into publishing?


One – be curious and research. There are many different kinds of creative careers in publishing, so look into what might be the right one for you and get to know the kinds of books different publishers work on. It could make the difference between a well thought out, tailored application and one that needs a bit more work.


Two – be resilient. This doesn’t just count in publishing, but applying for jobs across many industries. There’s always more than one person going for a job opening, so it may take a few applications, learning and tweaking as you go, until you get to interview and your dream role. Lots of companies look for people who are curious, willing to learn and adapt, so think about how you can keep learning and developing your abilities – it’ll help you not just in your applications, but when you start your job.

7. What is your advice on sending an email after the interview with a thank you and adding anything you may have forgotten to mention in the interview?


It can be a nice touch, but don’t worry that a follow up email might be the difference between getting a job and not getting a job.

If there’s something you want to expand on that might be important to mention in a follow up, do – but keep it short and don’t reiterate or reframe your whole interview.

Your interviewers will most likely have asked you follow up questions in the interview to prompt any additional answers, so don’t fixate too much on what else you could have added. Keep it as a learning for next time.

8. What about applicants with Chronic Illnesses? Will they be treated the same and be considered for a job role equally?


Yes. We want to support you through the application process, so if there are any adjustments you need, please let your Resourcing contact know.


Likewise, if you are offered a job and you accept, talk to us about what adjustments you need. We’re members of the Business Disability Forum and can seek additional support for you through Access to Work or our Employee Assistance provider. We also have a new Disability Network – a community for disabled colleagues and allies that could be a great way to connect to colleagues with similar experiences.


The only time we may advise if a role may not be the right one for you to apply for is if there’s an essential role requirement that cannot be met by a reasonable adjustment.


We know it can be a nerve-wracking conversation to have with a prospective employer or manager, and we want to support you as best we can.

9. Are you open to hire older people (+30) for the Scheme? Or to hire people with experience for entry level positions?


Yes – although do keep in mind The Scheme is made to be an introduction to the world of work and publishing. Depending on your experience and transferable skills, you may be more suited in one of the more experienced roles, but your age won’t be a barrier in you applying.


Keep in mind (and this may be a given), entry level roles will involve entry level tasks (e.g. admin!) – so make sure you’re okay with this before you apply. If you are, we’d be delighted to have you.

10. Would you recommend university graduates to apply for internships or work experience, or entry level jobs?


It depends what you want to get out of it – none require previous experience or a degree.


If you’re looking to get a taste of what publishing or the world of work is like, work experience could be the right choice.


If you’re looking to dive a little deeper and gain some valuable skills over the summer, the internships could be the best thing for you.


And if you want to start a career with us, take a look at our entry level roles.


Keep in mind, you can apply for more than one of these at once.

11. What is the best way to stand out at the final stage of the process when there might be around 4 of you who all have similar experience/skills/backgrounds?


Remember what makes you unique and the best person for the job. Communicate your experience well and show your personality and interest in the role and team.


And if it doesn’t work out this time, learn and try again – best of luck.

12. Do you have any remote opportunities?


Like everyone, we’re learning different ways of working and adapting to life in a pandemic. Many of our colleagues have been working remotely due to the pandemic. However, in more usual times, most would have been working mainly from one of our offices with access to flexible working options.


It’s too soon to say how our experience of working remotely through the pandemic might change our approach, or the location of roles, in the future. However, we will aim to make the best of our experience of both office and remote working.

13. How should you answer a question about salary expectations?


Honestly – but do your research.


Your answer may be impacted by your previous experience or salary, but make sure that your ask lines up with the job you’re applying for.


We share our entry level salary and there are websites that can give you an indication of the kind of salaries different roles and industries offer.


We’re currently undertaking a pay banding project, which means next year we’ll be able to include pay bands in our job adverts.


If a job advert provides a range, think about whether this will be a role you’ll be growing into (i.e. have no current experience and will need to learn new skills in the job) or whether you already have relevant experience. If you’re starting out in this type of role, you’ll likely join at the entry point for the salary band.

14. Would you hire someone who currently lives in another country?



Yes – although keep in mind that we’re not able to provide sponsorship for entry level roles due to the salary threshold required.


This means that if you are applying for an entry level job you’ll need the right to work and train in the UK, and be planning to relocate if the role requires you to be in the office.

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