Student Spotlights

The 3 skills I gained working for the JHU Press

This is a guest post by Amanda A. – a senior Writing Seminars and English double major, and a writer-editor for advertising and informational copy in the Office of Student Employment.

Want to get hands-on experience in the publishing industry right here at Hopkins? You don’t even have to be an English major like me – if you love books, I recommend working at The Johns Hopkins University Press. It’s located only a few blocks south of campus on North Charles Street and offers a variety of work opportunities for Hopkins undergraduates.

For two semesters, I worked as an Assistant Manuscript editor at the JHU Press office. Every time I went to work, I got to pass through hallways filled with books and walk up a staircase decorated with quotes from famous authors like Harper Lee.

Beyond allowing me to read a lot of interesting books, working for the JHU Press helped me develop valuable skills that I still use today. Here are the top three things I learned working at the JHU Press:

  1. Attention to Detail:

In order to edit the book manuscripts that piled onto my desk, I had to keep my eyes open for all kinds of errors from grammar to page formatting. I also alphabetized indexes and kept track of footnotes. This might sound like a lot of tedious work, but the books covered countless different topics from history to science, so it was never boring. I learned that being detail-oriented allowed these interesting books to be produced as accurately as possible for readers.

  1. Time Management:

Publishers run on tight schedules and strict deadlines, so I had to make sure I finished all my tasks on time. To do this, I had to organize my time efficiently. I made sure I prioritized; I completed the quickest tasks first so I wouldn’t get bogged down with just one manuscript.

  1. Professionalism

The JHU Press handles important academic work, and I’m grateful I had the chance to contribute in that kind of professional environment. This was one of the first times I had worked in an office, so I had to always be on time and communicate with my supervisors. These skills may seem minor, but developing them early will serve me well as I begin my postgraduate career.

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