Rachel Weinick, Alumnus: Production Editor, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Describe your career path. What choices did you make? How did you use your time in college to help you along in your career path?
I started writing for The Observer during my sophomore year of college. I then became an Assistant Arts & Culture Editor, an Arts & Culture Editor, and then Copy Editor. During my junior year, I had my first internship in one of the managing editorial departments at Penguin. I wasn't sure I wanted to work in publishing, though, so I decided to intern in the music industry (for two semesters at EMI and one semester at Columbia Records). I graduated from FCLC in 2011. Upon graduation, I was offered a job at BMG music publishing. I HATED IT. I left after two months. (If you're not being mentored, the job is not worth your time!) For the next eight months, I bounced between unemployment and local temp jobs in New Jersey. Because of my English major background, internship experience at Penguin, and history with the Observer, I started applying to tons of publishing jobs. (Note: I applied via online systems only, as I did not have any "connections" -- so it *is* possible to land jobs this way.) My first book publishing job was as a publishing assistant at Random House Children's Books. I assisted the senior vice president and learned so much about how books are made. After a year, I became an editorial assistant within the Crown Books for Young Readers imprint (part of Random House Children's Books). I remained in that position for two years. I left Random House to come to Farrar, Straus and Giroux (a division of Macmillan) as an Associate Production Editor. After a year, I was promoted to Production Editor. In addition, I take on freelance proofreading jobs for St. Martin's Press (also a division of Macmillan).
What advice do you have for English majors or English graduate students as they prepare for for careers? How can they stand out in a competitive job market?
Intern! Work on the paper! I HAD NO CONNECTIONS IN ANY INDUSTRY. I swear! But because Fordham is located in New York, I took advantage of fall and spring internships, which tend to be less competitive than summer internships. I had a work-study job in the Office of Career Services, so I made sure my resume was top-notch before applying for anything. There were a lot of internships I applied to but didn't get, but I didn't let that discourage me. Interviewing for an internship/job is a skill and it takes practice.
While I was working at Random House, a number of college students (at Fordham and NYU) emailed my work email address to see if I would agree to an "informational interview" over coffee. I almost always agreed to these. These were usually students who were interested in publishing and wanted to ask me about my experience in the industry. Some of these students went on to eventually apply for jobs or internships at Random House, and when they did, they would let me know, and then I would typically email HR with a recommendation. So, it never hurts to reach out to someone for an informational interview.