Top 10 Skills Needed for a Job in Editing

Jobs in editorial are becoming more popular, yet harder to find as the job market continues to move in an online direction--from online freelancers to remote editorial positions for big global sites. Finding a legitimate job in editing can be a nightmare. Employers are often looking for years of experience (even for entry level positions) and a certain set of skills that can be incredibly specific. Here are the top ten skills every editor should have in order to have an improved and successful job search.


10. An interest in editing is key

If you don’t have an interest in editing and writing, you probably won’t get very far in your job search. If you do somehow manage to land a position, you probably won’t keep it for very long; editing can be tough for people who don’t enjoy reading, writing, or editing, and if you’re doing something you don’t like for eight hours a day, most employers will notice.

9. A firm understanding of the language

If your company speaks and writes in a specific language, it’s important that you have proficient skills in understanding that language. Typically companies won’t hire anyone who isn’t a native speaker or someone who doesn’t use that language as a first language. This means that the editor should be completely comfortable and able to write, read, speak and edit in the chosen language.

8. Understanding of grammar, spelling, and style

Typically, higher education such as a degree in English or communications will help you grasp style, grammar and spelling on a professional level. Many online outlets that hire editors have their own writing style and will teach new editors how to edit according to that style; however, most of these companies will also seek out employees who have an advanced understanding of AP and Chicago styles.

7. Attention to detail

Obviously, editors are tasked with catching mistakes that others miss. If you’re not keen on focusing in on details, chances are you’ll miss mistakes--even big ones--that get pushed out into a final product. Attention to detail is essential for a job in editing, otherwise the publication or outlet looks unprofessional and sloppy.

6. Communication skills are important

As an editor, you’re going to interface with writers and readers quite often. Communication in a positive, professional way is essential for keeping writers and readers coming back.

5. Positive and informative feedback

As an editor, you’ll often be required to leave feedback for writers on ways that they can improve future work. Practice by giving yourself feedback on the things you do--remember that this feedback should be positive and constructive, but it shouldn’t be fluffed up to avoid hurt feelings. 

4. Manage an editorial calendar

Most companies work on an editorial calendar that keeps editors and writers on the same page as far as ongoing assignments and projects. Typically, senior editors may be more in charge of updating and maintaining the calendar, but if the company is smaller or has fewer editors, you may be tasked with keeping it up to date. 

3. Manage a team or group of writers

People management is one of the most important skills an editor can have. Again, if the company is smaller or has fewer editors, you may be interfacing with a group of writers on a daily basis; keeping them on task and focused can be tough, especially if you’re the only one managing them. 

2. Create and maintain relationships with clients

If you’re applying for positions that serve clients or act as a middle man for content creation, you may be tasked with reaching out to or communicating with clients and other businesses. This can range from cold emails (like cold-calling) to updating clients on the status of a project.

1. Ability to hold employees accountable and keep deadlines and standards high

Editors are responsible for managing deadlines and ensuring that standards are met. Content must reach a certain quality before it can be used, and writers must be kept to their deadlines. If writers are missing deadlines, it’s up to the editor to leave feedback and take further action if required.


These skills are just some of the top skills needed for a successful career in editing. However, none of them will take you very far if you’re not passionate or even interested in editing.

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