Publishing, media and design sector

Want to find out more about a career in publishing, media and design? 

Careers in the publishing, media and design sectors can be highly sought after but for those that really want to pursue these competitive career areas they have lots to offer: a fast paced and busy working environment, a variety of roles, being surrounded by passionate like-minded people and a creative buzz.

If you have exceptional communication skills, a creative mind and a passion for media arts, then there are a wide range of jobs in these sectors for you. 


Almost 2500 of our students said they are interested in publishing & media

Explore your options

If you want to explore publishing, media and design, find out more with the below resources. 


Publishing is a diverse industry and roles will vary depending on the type of publishing you go into. Areas include educational, fiction, professional, academic and STM (scientific, technical and medical). 

To find out more about different roles in publishing visit the Publishers Association, which has lots of information on areas of marketing/communications, digital development, design, editorial and publicity. Penguin Random House have also produced a handy guide on working in publishing.

Larger publishing houses are typically based in London/South, however smaller companies are located in other parts of the UK. 

Entry routes into publishing

Most people enter the publishing world through entry-level roles. Experience is almost always essential and can be a good way in, as can taking a temporary contract. Graduate schemes in the publishing sector are rare, with a small intake.  

The Publishers Association advises: “If you were looking for an entry level job, the kind of job titles you should be looking for are editorial assistant, publicity assistant, production assistant, marketing assistant, publishing assistant, sales assistant.”

Postgraduate courses such as the ‘Masters in Publishing’ courses are available but it’s not a requirement, and is no substitute for work experience. If you’re thinking about postgraduate study, reflect on what value it can add, and whether you can achieve the same goals through work experience. This article Postgraduate qualifications in Publishing gives an overview of different courses, what you will learn and other points to consider. 

Top tips and myth-busting

We spoke to some graduates currently working in publishing - read their top tips for developing a career in the sector.


Journalists research, write, edit and present news stories, features and articles for use on TV and radio or within magazines, journals and newspapers.

Typical employers of journalists include newspapers, magazines, television companies, websites, radio stations and periodicals publishers.

To read more about the range of jobs within this field and to learn more about trends in the industry visit the Prospects graduate media jobs page and

Entry routes into journalism

Due to the limited number of vacancies and the popularity of this area of work, competition for journalism jobs is fierce. Pre-entry experience is essential whichever entry route you decide to take.

There are three main entry routes into journalism:

There are a range of postgraduate journalism courses but competition for places at the best courses can be tough (those accredited by the NCTJ or BJTC).

While a postgraduate qualification isn’t essential, it’ll give you a good grounding in writing, interviewing, sub-editing, design and layout, shorthand and media law. To give you an idea of the popularity and usefulness of these courses, 73% of qualified journalists are NCTJ-trained. 

Top tips and myth-busting

We spoke to some graduates currently working in journalism - read their top tips for developing a career in the sector.


A career in the media is highly sought after but for those that really want to pursue this competitive career area it has lots to offer: a fast paced and busy working environment, a variety of roles, being surrounded by passionate like minded people and a creative buzz.

For those interested in TV, radio and film, there are a range of jobs from those on screen to those behind the scenes. Some of the main areas include directing/ production, research, editing/ writing and more technical roles like sound engineering and camera operation.

Entry routes

In film and TV many people start as a runner, where you’ll be asked to help with tasks on the set or location to help the progress of the shoot, and run errands including making teas and coffees.

There are a handful of graduate schemes in this area: ITV, BBC, Princess Productions and Shine TV but these are competitive and only one entry route into the industry.

Most people apply for advertised jobs, but don’t underestimate the effectiveness of contacting companies directly. Many jobs aren’t advertised and you have to be pro-active. Networking is also essential. Even after you’ve got your first job, make sure you keep in contact with people in the industry.

Doing vocational postgraduate study could help you develop the specific skills the industry is looking for, but lots of entry level positions focus on experience rather than qualifications.

Top tips and myth-busting

We spoke to some graduates currently working in production - read their top tips for developing a career in the sector.

Hear from our graduates

James Cresswell

Internship at Creative Media, Birmingham

“I have really valued the understanding I have gained of the freelance lifestyle: being able to see what skills and attributes are expected and desired of a freelance worker in this field has really helped me to think more clearly about my own future”

Many of our graduates from University of Birmingham have gone on to pursue careers in publishing, media and design. Hear from our graduates in the following areas:

Attend an Employer Insights event 

Book an appointment with a Careers Adviser

If you have questions and want to find out more about pursuing a career in publishing, media and design, have a chat with one of our Careers Advisers.  

Book an appointment through your Careers Connect account.

Plan your career

If you are ready to start planning a career in publishing, media and design, have a look below. 

LinkedIn Learning 

LinkedIn Learning has over 13,000 courses to enhance your CV and stand out from the crowd when thinking about a career in publishing, media and design.

University of Birmingham students get free access to LinkedIn Learning.

Work experience in publishing

Many large companies such as Penguin Random House, Oxford University Press, Hachette UK and Bloomsbury run internships. Although many schemes were cancelled due to Covid-19, regularly check their websites and social media platforms for the latest news and updates.  

Widen your search for work experience and jobs, and look beyond the well known names. As well as advertised vacancies, there are numerous smaller and independent companies that you can contact speculatively. Find ones in your area and send a targeted CV and cover letter. It’s crucial that there are no mistakes – everyone in publishing is good at proofreading and will be sure to spot the slightest error on your CV.

Use the Publishers Association member’s directory to find publishing houses to contact.

Creative Access provides opportunities for paid internships in the creative industries for talented people from under-represented backgrounds and communities. They have a series of recorded inspirational talks from high profile figures in the creative industry. 

Alternative ways to gain experience in publishing

Work experience in a publishing house isn't the only thing you can do if you want to find out more and get ahead in this field. 

Here are some suggested activities and opportunities both on and off campus:

  • Working in a bookshop will allow you to gain awareness of customer reaction, and a retailer’s eye view on the market.
  • Get involved in university publications, such as Redbrick, which will deepen your knowledge of the area and the production process. Writing or editing is also excellent experience.
  • Create a blog or write guest posts for other blogs to show that you can write for different audiences. If you are new to blogging, you can undertake short courses through LinkedIn Learning. 
  • Volunteer at events such as the Birmingham Literature Festival to find out more about the industry and make useful contacts. Learning about marketing and the events side of the industry will also be excellent experience. By getting involved with book-related festivals, charities or author events you will have more to draw on when attending interviews.
  • Find alternative ways to engage with the book community. This article has some suggestions to help readers, authors, libraries and booksellers work more creatively together. 
  • Develop your digital skills and knowledge. Spend some time learning how to use a range of programs and platforms e.g. Excel, Indesign, ePublishing software or coding. Again check LinkedIn Learning or other websites such as Code Academy.
  • Keep up to date with industry trends and developments. In particular, make sure you have a broad awareness of how the pandemic has affected the world of publishing, and what are the growth areas (e.g. medical and educational publishers have been particularly busy). Use social media and networking platforms, e.g. Twitter and LinkedIn, to follow companies and experts with access to the latest research. Develop relationships and connections through online events and forums. You can also identify UoB alumni working in the publishing industry through the LinkedIn Alumni Tool.

Work experience in journalism

Work experience can be hard to find in this field but the key is to be persistent. Above all, future employers will look for evidence of sustained interest in and commitment to journalism.

Speculative applications are essential and often a very effective way of getting experience. Approach local newspapers, radio stations and magazines/publishers. Send a tailored CV and cover letter. For ideas of who to contact visit Magazine Subscriptions.

Build experience by writing for student publications, local papers and free magazines, online publications and blogs

The BBC/ITV/Channel 4/The Guardian/The Times etc. offer work experience schemes. These are always worth applying for, but extremely competitive. 

Personal branding and your online presence are increasingly important for journalists. Use our LinkedIn support to create a professional profile and make sure you’re on social media as this is now where news stories break, so follow journalists, organisations and employers in your area of interest.

Create a blog - this is an excellent way of showing commitment to current affairs or other topics of interest.

Work experience in media 

Work experience is crucial if you want to pursue a career in the media. Being at university is the perfect chance for you to get involved in student newspapers, GuildTV and Burn FM.

The majority of employers don’t offer structured internship schemes and it’s up to you to approach them for work experience speculatively. As a large proportion of TV programmes are made by independent production companies they can be a good source of experience.

Facebook can be a really effective platform for getting experience in the media industry. Look for groups/pages as these often advertise opportunities: People looking for TV work: Runners.

Creative Access provides opportunities for paid internships in the creative industries for talented young people from under-represented black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. For funding opportunities visit The Journalism Diversity Fund.

Bursaries and funding 

You may be eligible to apply for work experience bursaries through The University of Birmingham. For more details visit the internship funding pages

Apply for jobs

If you are ready to apply for jobs in publishing, media and design, have a look below.

Search and apply for jobs in publishing, media and design

Application support 

When you have a clear sense of where you want to apply, the final step is making the most out of your application. Our Employability Advisers are here to help review your application documents. 


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