Ben G.

Book Data Coordinator
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Ben G.
English and Related Literature
English and Related Literature
United Kingdom

My employment

Book Data Coordinator
Oxford University Press
United Kingdom
Journalism and publishing
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Book Data Coordinator in the United Kingdom

If you don't land a job after interview try not to get too disheartened. There's many different reasons why someone gets hired, often it may be because of something outside your control.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work for a large university publisher in Oxford. They publish books, journals, and online content in the academic, education, and English language learning fields.

What do you do?

I manage bibliographic data (title info, marketing copy, author info, book subjects, etc.) to make sure we've got the right stuff at the right time, and fix it if not. It gets sent (mostly via XML) to our website, libraries, and online retailers. The data goes pretty much everywhere, so I support projects around the org and talk to external international orgs regularly.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I got interested in publishing after a conversation I had with my tutor about the open access movement. They recommended I apply for an internship with a small open access academic publisher. I enjoyed it so did a couple more internships, one at a trade publisher and another at a literary agency.

I kept an eye on jobs posted on the Society of Young Publishers (a good org to join if interested in publishing) and the Bookseller (the industry magazine).

Publishing can be a difficult industry to break into. There's quite a few different areas and routes to enter. I ended up going into book data because I had the technical know-how needed for it.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

I wasn't certain what I wanted to do when I graduated. I was on job seekers allowance for a bit before I got my first grad job. I had a general idea of going into radio/media or doing another publishing internship.

Describe your most memorable day at work

My first day at my first proper job after graduation, I was absolutely terrified and felt very intimidated and out of place. Thankfully I settled into it, I remember that week there was free ice cream in the quad.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I had a show and was on the committee of the student radio station URY. There was lots of learning how to do things on the fly, which is a good skill for most occupations.

While studying I very briefly worked in a customer facing sales role which I absolutely hated, it really jarred with my personality and values. To some extent it's good I had that experience so I knew what I didn't want to do.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

If you don't land a job after interview try not to get too disheartened. There's many different reasons why someone gets hired, often it may be because of something outside your control. Don't be afraid to request feedback if unsuccessful, it's useful feedback if you're a new graduate and good hiring managers should be willing to provide it.

Learn how to do vlookups and pivot tables in excel, many will think you're some kind of wizard.

Join your workers union! I've made some great friends, recieved support/advice, and have learned new skills by being in a workers union.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I have long term mental health problems, which I was open about during interview. Being open about it has helped in the long term because I knew I had a manager who was on board and understanding.

Next steps...

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