Dearest Senior English Majors (all others need not continue reading),
Perhaps you’ve heard that the Pulitzer committee failed to reach consensus and award a Pulitzer Prize In Fiction this year. Maybe you pay attention to these types of things in order to impress girls with bangs, maybe Mason Stokes mentioned it in class, maybe you read Robert Boyer’s (odd) letter to the editors in yesterday’s NY Times.
Whatever. It happened, and it is going to have a profound effect on you getting a maddeningly competitive and enthusiasm-crushing entry-level job in publishing next year, SO PAY ATTENTION.
With graduation’s idyll-crushing apocalypse looming mere weeks away you’ve all no doubt turned your attention to interviews and Linkedin primping. Good! You’re going to need it. Getting a job is hard and you’re all grossly underqualified and have no place applying alongside the Harvard PhDs that should be getting those jobs.
Worry not though, I am here to help! Here are a few ways to bust into your interviews and use this year’s Pulizter snub to your advantage:
ARE YOU INTERVIEWING FOR A POSITION AT A MAJOR HOUSE?
If you’re interviewing at one of The Big Six, chances are you’re going to need to start hand-wringing and bust out a few conspiracy theories in your interview. Since the Pulitzer usually lands in the lap of one of theses guys’ authors, they are pissed about the missed sales and prestige. Use your interview as an opportunity to mention how the Pulitzer committee “is no longer committed to widespread reading and cultural infusion.”
The Big Six—especially Knopf and Farrar-Strauss, whose titles were nominated as finalists but failed to snag the prize—LOVE defensive fatalism and bleak future forecasting so really turn up the fire and brimstone. If you can somehow tie the Pulitzer committee’s decision back to Amazon they’ll probably hire you on the spot.
ARE YOU INTERVIEWING FOR A POSITION AT A CULTURALLY RICH AND SCRAPPY SMALL PRESS?
If you’re interviewing at one of the country’s (lol JK just the Midwest’s) myriad smaller houses you’ll have to 180 off of your hand-wringing and start talking about how the Pulitzer committee did us all a favor and “spared the American public another frantic weekend of reading another novel neutered of realism and character just to service cocktail chatter.” These little guys, (who haven’t so much as felt the warm breath of a Pulitzer win since Virgina Wolff’s heart was still pumping) long ago sold frivolous things like “profit” and “recognition” down the river so don’t even bother playing in that sandbox. You’re best bet here is to furrow your brow and start bad mouthing the Big Six. Throw out some stuff about how “the reaction in New York exposed the whole industry as a bunch of prestige suckling grade grubbers” with an eye for talent “that doesn’t extend past the middlebrow.” Say stuff like “We’ve never needed a stamp of approval to tell us what fiction is worth reading” and “The Pulitzer? isn’t that just a party philistines throw for people who read eBooks.” If you can somehow tie the Pulitzer committee’s decision back to Amazon they’ll probably hire you on the spot.
There you have it guys! Career Services isn’t going to give you the insidery dirt like this!
Wear a suit and brush your teeth, you’ll do fine! Good luck!