How to write a publishing CV (with template and example)

Updated 16 March 2023

Publishers earn a living by creating, distributing and selling content. If you're interested in becoming a publisher, consider studying a related degree, writing a specialist CV and applying for available positions. Learning how to write an effective CV helps you secure an interview, increasing your chances of getting the job. In this article, we explain what a publisher does and explain how to write a publishing CV, with some tips to help alongside a template and example.

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What is a publisher?

A publisher is someone who handles the preparation of books and other materials for distribution. They prepare magazines, books, journals and even music production. Some publishers supervise writers and designers to help them produce quality content. They take instructions from publishing managers or creative directors. Some of their main duties include reviewing selected publishing materials and negotiating publishing terms. They also create timelines and budgets for production. To become a publisher, it helps to have a bachelor's degree in English, communications or creative writing.

Related: How to become a publisher (with duties and skills)

How to write a publishing CV

Your publishing CV is one of the documents requested when applying for a publisher position. It contains information that helps an employer decide whether you're a suitable candidate for the job. When writing your CV, aim to make it different from other candidates. Hiring managers usually view several CVs at once and they may lose track of those presented in a generic format. Make your CV stand out by choosing your format carefully and ensuring that it reflects the requirements in the job description. If you're eager to learn how to write a distinct CV, here's a step-by-step guide:

1. Review the job details

Before writing your CV, review the job description again to confirm you have the experience and qualifications the employer is looking for. Only apply for jobs where you possess most of the requirements. Publishing is a vast field that sometimes requires specialist skills, such as journalistic publishing. Another reason to review the job description is to use keywords the employer has used in the job description to pass the applicant tracking systems (ATS). This also helps you write a CV that communicates your value to the recruiter.

Related: 13 types of publishing careers (plus duties and salaries)

2. Provide your contact details

After reading the job description to get a clear picture of its requirements, start writing your CV. The first thing to include is your contact details. Depending on the CV format or template you're working with, your contact details may be in the middle or far left of the page. These details include your name, phone number and email address. Additionally, you may add links to your social media profile or portfolio if appropriate.

Related: How to include personal details on a CV: FAQs and templates

3. Write a summary of your experience

A professional summary gives an overview of your relevant experience, skills and professional accomplishments. Take your time when writing this section to encourage the hiring manager to read the rest of your CV. In particular, identify the type of publisher you are, such as a trade, textbook, professional or hybrid publisher. You may also add your proficiency in scouting for authors that may bring profit to the publishing house. Ensure this section contains no more than two to three sentences.

Related: How to include a profile summary in CV: a guide

4. Outline your relevant experience

Outline your publishing experience in this section. In the job description, recruiters might have specified the experience required, so ensure your experience matches this to fit the position. When writing your roles under each employer, start with a strong verb and discuss your duties in detail with their outcomes or results. In addition, write your experiences in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most recent position.

Related: How to write work experience on a CV (tips and example)

5. Outline your skills

Some essential publishing skills include strong writing skills, fast typing, planning, organisation, creative thinking, budget management, computer skills and a strong business instinct. Look through the job specification to familiarise yourself with the skills required and include them if you're proficient in them. This also helps with the ATS and convinces the recruiter that you meet their needs. Aim to include five to ten skills.

Related: 10 best skills to include on a CV

6. List your education

Although you don't necessarily require a degree to work in publishing, many employers prefer to hire graduates as they may demonstrate a better understanding of the publishing industry, including its different sectors and departments. A degree also helps you acquire practical publishing skills. If you have a relevant degree, include it in this section. If you don't have one, consider listing any professional certifications you might have. Write your educational background in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent qualification you obtained.

Relevant certifications for publishers include those awarded by the Publishing Training Centre (PTC), Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) and Publishing Scotland. These institutions offer short certificate courses, professional training and online resources. Including certificates in your CV shows you're informed about industry practices and current trends. This may help you demonstrate what makes you different from other candidates.

Related: How to write your degree on your CV (with steps and FAQs)

Tips for organising your CV

A well-organised CV makes it easier for the hiring manager to skim through and quickly assimilate the necessary points that prove you're a suitable candidate for the role. Use the following tips to make your CV readable:

Choose a CV type

Choose a CV format that allows you to describe your publishing experiences in detail. There are different formats, such as combination, chronological, functional and targeted CVs. Choose the one that best fits your qualifications and professional background.

Include figures

When writing the experience section, aim to quantify the results rather than simply stating them. Use numbers and percentages to make your achievements clear and specific. For example, if you distributed a book, add the profit percentage.

Proofread carefully

Proofread your CV carefully before applying for the job. Remember you're applying for a publishing role, meaning spelling and grammatical errors are unacceptable. Ensure you use editing software to scan for grammatical errors and typos. Asking someone else to read through your CV and look for mistakes may also be a good idea.

CV template

Here's a template to guide you through where to add the various sections of your CV:

[First name] [Last name]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City] [blog/professionally relevant social media]

Professional Summary
[Two to three sentences that highlight years of experience, relevant skills, education, certifications and achievements as a professional].

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

[Degree and subjct] | [Name of school or university]

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CV example for a publisher

Use this example CV as a guide on what to include in your document and how to outline your roles in the organisations you've worked for:

Oliver Johnson, BA English Language and Literature
07899 366126 | | London

Professional Summary
Results-driven and knowledgeable book publisher with an innate passion for creating, launching and publishing well-crafted ebooks, magazines and articles using well-developed content and marketing strategies. A highly inventive individual with four years' experience of copyediting and transforming drafts into informative, easy-to-understand books. Ability to pay close attention to details and meet deadlines.

Assistant Publisher | December 2021–Current
Rain Publishing House | London

  • negotiate contracts with talented authors and managers for book releases and promotional campaigns

  • generate over 1000 ebook sales monthly by employing book influencers and implementing the latest sales strategies

  • supervise a team of 20 editors and freelance writers to ensure a steady publishing stream of high-quality books

  • oversee the development of news and feature articles for the company's blog

  • recruit new copyeditors and graphic designers to proofread content and create book covers

Copyeditor | August 2019–December 2020
Duke Books | London

  • delivered comprehensive market analysis reports of trending book topics and keywords

  • oversaw weekly team reports with a 10-person editorial team

  • improved the general quality of books by the company to raise sales by 35%

Social media optimisation | Project management | Time management | Creativity | Desktop publishing

BA English Language and Literature | University of Wessex

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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