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Updating skills for return to work - advice? Publishing/Editing/Admin...

(9 Posts)
TownhouseMummy Tue 14-Jul-15 20:09:44

I have been at home for the past 3 years. Before that I trained/worked as a radiotherapist for three years (big mistake - awful experience), and prior to that in university administration (Oxford) and a couple of years in the academic journals production department at OUP. I have a Cambridge science degree. For various reasons I didn't climb the career ladder in my twenties. We would like to have another baby soon but the hope is to return to work in a couple of years, part-time. Whilst I have been off I have worked as a private tutor (maths and science up to GCSE, might take it up to A-level) and I am running the NCT newsletter for our region, a role I really enjoy. I am not particularly career driven but I would like to do something (and we could do with the money!). I am wondering how best to use my time over the next couple of years. Getting a part-time job is not feasible at present because the childcare is too messy and I do not want to be working through pregnancy because I will almost certainly suffer with awful sickness again.

Are there any courses/skills I can work at that will make me more employable?

I envisage entering an administrative role and working my way into a project manager/low level editorial position. I do wish I had pursued the "publishing dream" in my twenties but I fear it is now too late. I would like to work for the university again, perhaps an independent school (benefit of school holidays!) or a charity. My fear is that I'll be overqualified for many administrative roles/have the wrong qualifications. Open to other career suggestions!

KnitFastDieWarm Thu 16-Jul-15 11:40:19

If you want to work in publishing for a company/admin with content management responsibilities, I would suggest firstly that you gain as much web editorial experience/skills as you can. So much publishing work/content management is online these days and it should really help you.

- Learn to code a bit - HTML is fine. There are loads of free sites for this such as

- Learn to use a magazine/brochure layout package such as InDesign - I think you can download free trials of this?

- Some experience of content management systems is very useful - Umbraco is a commonly used one especially by smaller businesses and their website has a lot of instructions/info.

- Make sure you have a decent grasp of WordPress or similar.

- Being able to use a mass e-newsletter mailout system such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor would be handy too.

I've worked in publishing since leaving uni - I did magazine print work for a few years but it is hard to come by, poorly paid and not very family friendly. However, most companies, universities, private schools and charities have a need for someone who can update the website, write good content, edit other people's reports, and fix the odd coding bug. I've been in house for years now (about to go on maternity leave) and it;s a pretty family friendly field. I often see part time comms/web editorial/content manager jobs advertised by local unis and charities, so it might be a good direction to head in, especially as you already have uni admin experience and academic journal experience.

In terms of getting some experience, this is an area where volunteers are often very welcome, and the NCT experience is good - do you do any online work or is it a print newsletter? If you pitch up at a few cash-strapped local charities and offer to do a day a week of admin and tart up their web content for them, many will be very grateful! Try for voluntary opportunities near you.

TownhouseMummy Fri 17-Jul-15 11:31:56

Thank you so much. My husband can teach me how to code (he regularly insists I learn!). I'm setting up the online media for our nct branch at present: Wordpress, Facebook, twitter and an online version of magazine. Hadn't thought of mail chimp etc. so I'll set that up for our mailings. I'm particularly keen on the university and schools so that's reassuring. Orchestras too (I'm musical). I've certainly seen plenty of jobs I like to look of but don't yet consider myself qualified.

RosaliesGinBottle Fri 17-Jul-15 11:39:22

You can do courses in editing and so on through the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, and get mentoring and publishing contacts. I'm a proofreader, which is pretty easy to do at home.

KnitFastDieWarm Fri 17-Jul-15 15:37:14

You sound like you'd be in a really good position OP smile setting up the NCT social media and online presence will be a great project to refer to on your CV. It also shows you can organise admin tasks, etc. Web editors often need to work quite autonomously so the initiative shown will count in your favour!

StripeyTee Fri 17-Jul-15 15:42:46

You've got loads of great experience.

Keep up the voluntary work.

Agree re: HTML, maybe Wordpress, any training that consolidates your online skillset.

TownhouseMummy Fri 17-Jul-15 16:06:41

Ah thanks for that tip RosaliesGinBottle. I'll certainly take a look at their website.

RosaliesGinBottle Fri 17-Jul-15 18:43:47

PS. Publishing has many many keen English grads in their twenties. A more mature self starter with a science degree, Web expertise and some solid courses under her belt will stand out for the right reasons smile

TownhouseMummy Fri 17-Jul-15 22:08:59

Thank you, that is just the sort of encouragement I need!

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