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After incredible demand, our ticketed sessions for The Publishing Conference have sold out already. If you didn’t get a chance to gain access to the paid events, it is not too late to sign up for our free events. These talks are a unique opportunity to gain first-hand insight into the publishing industry and help you stand out as an applicant.

Sign-up for ‘An introduction to publishing with James Spackman’ here (24th April, 11am)

Sign-up for ‘How to break into the industry’, a panel with Pearson Plc, Inspired Selection, Pan Macmillan and the Society of Young Publishers (North), here (25th April, 11am)


Debbie Williams is an MA publishing academic at the Manchester Metropolitan University with over twenty years of experience in the industry, who will be running our CV/interview skills workshop at The Publishing Conference for those with paid tickets.

We asked Debbie to share her top 5 CV tips ahead of the conference, which we know will be a great help if you want to successfully pursue a career in publishing!

Debbie Williams’ Top 5 CV tips for publishing:

1) Always tailor every CV to the particular job you are applying for. You will need to carefully read the job description and person specification as well as researching the company. Make sure the skills and experience you have to match these are highlighted at eye level on your CV to make them really stand out. You can even change the font to match their house style if you can discover what this is. Believe me; a publisher will notice!

2) Do write a summary/ personal statement to go at the top of your CV, under your name. Again, this should be tailored to the job and company. Show them that you fit in and match the personality of the team and the company. The statement should be no more than two or three sentences and be a action orientated statement of intent matched to the role.

3) Think about your layout carefully and make it as clear as possible. Use succinct, clear headings which flag your key skills, experience, characteristics and anything else that they have asked for in the application details. If in doubt, step back from the screen or print it off and look at it from a distance. Ask yourself honestly; is it as clear as it could be?

4) Be as succinct and clear as possible in each section. Be careful not to waffle and edit very carefully. A CV should include the headlines, not the full story. Your story can be told in the covering letter and interview. 

5) Never rush your CV. Make sure you do not leave your application until the last minute. A rushed CV is usually full of mistakes because there is no time left for proofing. Leave yourself a few days, write one draft, then go back and edit, then re-edit. Double and triple check for any spelling and grammar mistakes; this is the fastest way for a publishing CV to be rejected in publishing which relies so much on the written word and accuracy. If you can, get someone who you know to be good at grammar and spelling to look it over for you. See what I mean about not leaving it until the last minute?

Debbie Williams, 2021


Debbie Williams has over twenty years experience in publishing, bookselling and publishing education. After originally qualifying in Human Resource Management and Recruitment and joining the The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), she felt compelled to follow her dream of working with books. Working directly with students, she set up the world’s first student-led publishing house (UCLan Publishing) which went on to win Independent Publisher of the Year (Newcomer) and The Times Higher Award for Innovation in the Arts. She has taken students all over the world to work with communities in Kenya, Zambia, Greenland, The Arctic, Australia, Spain, The Azores and many others to produce books, documentaries and audiobooks. She works at Manchester Metropolitan University leading modules on sales and marketing, design and production, project management and placements. She also works for Leeds Trinity University leading partnerships, employability, marketing and project management.


The Publishing Conference 2021 from Comma Press, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, will run on the 24th and 25th April. See the full details on our website.

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