CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAY. 06, 2014
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How to Become an Editorial Assistant

Editorial assistants are trained professionals who perform all the tasks necessary to get the publications published.

If you possess excellent oral and written communication skills and have an interest in publishing, this could be an ideal career choice for you.

Pre-requisites

In order to be successful as an editorial assistant, it is important that you possess the following:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Keen observation
  • Pay attention to details
  • Editorial experience
  • Proficiency in working with computers
  • High level of accuracy
  • Determination
  • Resilience
  • Enjoy working in a team

Education and Training

A bachelor's degree is a necessary requirement for this profession. It is advantageous for aspirants to study journalism, English, media studies or communications at bachelors’ level. They may major in an unrelated field and gain journalism skills exclusively through experience. A relevant work experience in the industry certainly helps you to make it big in this profession.

You may enroll for various short and distance learning courses which will help you hone your skills and increase your knowledge of the field. Such courses are offered by the Publishing and Training Centre and the SfEP. They include subjects, such as proofreading, electronic publishing, and rights and contracts. For further information you may refer to:

http://www.train4publishing.co.uk/

http://www.sfep.org.uk/

Job Tasks

Editorial assistants are entrusted with various responsibilities and their jobs involve various administrative and editorial tasks such as

  • Monitoring various stages in publishing
  • Providing assistance in all stages of publication
  • Supporting senior editorial staff at various stages of publication
  • Liaising with other in-house team members and production staff
  • Organising and researching given projects
  • Writing own material
  • Setting up interviews
  • Dealing with rights and permissions
  • Summarising the already written material
  • Updating and rewriting material
  • Correcting manuscripts

Career Tips

If you want a fast progression to more senior roles such as features editor or commissioning editor, you may consider mastering the following:

  • Choose to study diverse subjects for a successful editorial career
  • Gain editorial experience by working on publications during college
  • Opt for a summer internship and work as a free lancer at a magazine or newspaper during college
  • Pitch your stories to local magazines
  • Maintain your blog
  • Develop your online social media presence
  • Enrol for workshops and classes in editorial technology
  • Join professional organisations such as the Society of Young Publishers, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders and Women in Publishing. Such organisations aim at providing various networking opportunities with industry professionals and help you look out for internships and job openings

Salary

As per payscale.com, the average pay for an Editorial Assistant in UK is £18,023 per year.

This profession which is considered a starting point for an editorial career is highly competitive. You can expect to move up in your career only if you demonstrate very high levels of skills and experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) anticipated 1% job growth for editorial jobs from 2010-2020, which is slower than average. Consequently, job security is expected only if you have it in you to master your professional traits.

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