I decided to contact Oxford University Press directly through an email address I found on their website. I thought this was a long shot as they don’t advertise work experience positions at their company, but my only thought was that this would be an incredible place to work, so why not give it a shot?
To my utter surprise I received a reply within a few weeks offering me a five-week placement at my convenience during the summer break. I was ecstatic to say the least. I had been given the opportunity to work in the medical books department, two weeks with the marketing department and three weeks with the editorial department.
The experience itself was amazing. The team I worked with made me feel very welcome; they asked what I wanted to get out of this experience and tailored the placement to fit around my goals. I felt comfortable enough to ask questions when I was confused which meant I could get the most out of this experience as possible.
While working with the marketing team, I was tasked with creating flyers, show cards and press releases using my own knowledge of Adobe InDesign and creating the text myself. I also created social media posts for their Facebook and Twitter pages, and created a quiz about snake bites to advertise their new book on tropical diseases. I drafted ideas for blog posts and I was given research tasks to find academic contacts to offer review copies of certain texts.
Working in the editorial department meant a new set of challenges and skills to be learnt. I began with compiling art lists for certain reference books, filing legal documents and drafting contracts to contributing authors. I then progressed to reviewing manuscripts, requesting copyright permissions and formatting manuscripts to be sent to the production department.
The entire team were incredibly helpful and despite throwing me in at the deep end, they guided me through each task, so I would get a real understanding of how the publishing industry works. They each gave me valuable tips to gaining more work experience and how to make myself more employable. Although both departments offered very different experiences, they fitted together well and helped to give me a well-rounded experience.
Advice to students
I highly recommend Oxford University Press for publishing work placements. My experience has proved invaluable and has given me an insight into the publishing industry which has solidified my choice of wanting to work in this field.