Sam Parker Penguin
Industry insights

Group Chat: Sam Parker, Editor-in-Chief of Penguin and Editor of The Queue

17 December 2020

Planning for post-university life has never been more challenging. To offer inspiration and advice to students looking to go into journalism, marketing and publishing, we hosted our latest Group Chat session with Sam Parker, Editor-in-Chief for Penguin.

Having spent six years as the digital editor at Esquire, Sam shared insight into his transition from working at a lifestyle publication to curating features for Penguin as its first ever online Editor-in-Chief. He also detailed tips for those applying for junior and entry-level roles in publishing and emphasised the importance of building as well as sustaining relationships. See below for the recording of and must-read notes from the session, and email CORQ’s client services manager Arabella Johnson on arabella@corq.studio to be invited to future events.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • WATCH THE FULL CHAT: follow this link and enter the password +@71@#r$
  • As someone who is fully involved in the hiring process, Sam points out that entry-level roles are actually a brilliant and varied place to learn your craft and get paid to write. As an editor, he looks for candidates who are curious and bursting with energy and ideas – especially those who have a nose for stories and a great writing style.
  • KEY TIP: three main things he looks for on a CV are succinctness, passion and a leading sentence with the best place you’ve done work experience so far. In his opinion, a graduate CV should be one page long.
  • Nurture your passions early. For Sam, it took a while to find his way to his passion – books. However, once he figured out this was the area he wanted to focus on, he cultivated that on the side and began to gain a clearer sense of direction about where his career needed to go. Don’t forget what you love and what your ultimate end goal is. While you may not be able to do it in the initial stages of your career, you can find other useful ways to develop it in your own time – which can also lead to future opportunities.
  • Speaking of opportunities, there are many varied roles and options for writers in brand work. Aspiring journalists are often led in the direction of major news publications, but many freelancers who are successful also use their skills to get copywriting and brand consultancy work on the side. This is often better paid, less competitive and also provides creative freedom and less pressure to go viral or cause a stir. However, it’s important that you love the brand and align with its values.
  • As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, but who you know”. Often the smallest relationships and connections can be the most useful. Even if you intern at a company and nothing comes from it, it doesn’t mean that the people you worked for won’t remember you and consider you for future roles. Don’t be afraid to stay in touch with people, they will remember you if you’re good, helpful and nice.

Sam was interviewed by Jennifer Adetoro, culture editor of CORQ.