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Encounters in Publishing #11: Publishing Priorities, by Alice Tully Hall

I’ve worked in publishing for five years now, and I have learned that when applying for a new job, it is not your industry credentials that make you stand out.

When I was first starting out in the industry, I readied my resume by including my academic publishing and agency internships and all of my important English major information, but I couldn’t seem to get an interview. But when I expanded my resume to include the full-breadth of my free-work experience – including an interning stint at a popular TV show – the interview requests started rolling in. In high-powered agents’ conference rooms and formerly-impenetrable HR offices, I was asked what the cast was like, and if they were nice, and if I still knew anyone there. At first I was nervous to let the interviews stray too far my terribly important personal skills and relevant work knowledge, but when I finally started to loosen up and dish, the interviews became easier and more fruitful. Suddenly, I was of interest.

Not long ago, I applied to a job, and loaded my cover letter with every professional accomplishment I could think of. I ended the letter with a tossed off, “And I’ve been told I’m really fun lunch.” After I submitted my resume, I worried that that last line was flip, or silly, or demeaning to the job. When the call came for the interview, it was that reassurance – the promise of being a fun gal – that had sent me on to the next round. Being a fun, gossip-y hang is some of my best clout in this literary industry, and now I know to never forget that.

 


Alice Tully Hall seats 1,086 patrons, or works in publishing. Or both.

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