As assistants to top editors, editorial assistants are a vital part of the publishing world. They help manage the administrative tasks of publishers such as magazines and newspapers, and use their communication skills to connect with all stakeholders. If you are an editorial assistant or want to become one, we recommend checking out the advice our Resume Now certified experts give below on how to write a resume for this position.
Let’s start by reviewing the three main resume formats:
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Job Duties of Editorial Assistants
An editorial assistant is responsible for providing daily administrative assistance to senior and executive editors. Editorial assistants’ work may involve tasks directly connected to the industry they work in, such as reading manuscripts, but may just as often involve administrative duties like calling people, setting up appointments, and ordering food.
These are the most common editorial assistant duties:
Liaising with parties to negotiate parts of the publishing process and managing it within a strict time frame. For example, if you’re aiding an author writing a book, this sometimes involves calling anonymous or open sources to establish rapport and trust on behalf of your boss.
Organizing, summarizing, and correcting manuscripts and other written content, including blogs, white papers and long-form narratives.
Contacting staff, contract or freelance writers to determine appropriate administrative contact details.
First-pass editing of content, often under senior editors’ supervision on shared digital network software such as Google Docs, WordPress, Microsoft Teams and Slack.
Working with illustrators and photo editors for important public-facing content, including magazine and book cover pages, newspaper imagery, and web design.
Median Salaries of Editorial Assistants
According to Payscale, an editorial assistant’s median salary in the U.S. is $36,065, give or take your specialty. Job growth depends on gaining specific skills and certifications. However, the more experience you have, the more likely to graduate to a different job in the publishing industry hierarchy like an editor, senior editor, or reporter.
Top Skills for Editorial Assistants
To be an editorial assistant, you need to have excellent written skills and a firm grasp of the publishing process. The critical skills required are:
We’ve narrowed down the top-six skills for this field. They are:
- Potent writing: If your understanding of language and communication often leads you to improve other people’s writing, you have what it takes to be an editorial assistant. This job requires you to jump in on a story or a piece of content that needs a second or third read, and good grammar, punctuation and a diverse vocabulary can improve any work.
- Publishing rules awareness: In a diverse and complex field like editing and writing, you need to know the industry well. You need to know Fair Use and Permission rules to use publicly available photos, audio or video, how to pitch superiors’ potential stories, how to write press releases, why content syndication can boost articles, how to create private access to other types of digital content, and much more.
- Cooperative and flexible: As an editorial assistant, you should be able to converse and collaborate with colleagues. Ensure there are no communication gaps, and keep your immediate superior informed about any and each development. An editorial assistant should also be enthusiastic about learning from teammates’ experiences.
- A meticulous eye for detail: Being an editorial assistant demands a high level of concentration. Make a habit of noting down each point you come across, whether on your laptop, phone or notebook.
- Knowledge of digital tools: Digital editing platforms help keep you organized. If you don’t know the latest calendars, schedulers and administrative organizers that publishers use like Calendly, Jira, Asana and more, make sure you stay up to date and learn about them.
Educational Requirements for Editorial Assistants
DegreeTo be a successful editorial assistant, you need a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications. other majors may also be acceptable, including history and others in liberal arts. In rare cases, just having a high school diploma is fine if you can handle the job’s responsibilities and strenuous demands.
CertificationsFierce competition demands additional certifications to have the upper hand against other candidates. Various institutes across the U.S. offer courses in publishing-related education, including InDesign, Arbortext Epic Editor, Publisher and Office tools.
- The American Graphics Institute offers Adobe InDesign training and certification, which helps editorial assistants and other people in the industry learn about topics including typography, color controls and prepress controls. InDesign is a standard desktop publishing software application.
- Arbortext Epic Editor by PTC is another must-know tool. Certification can be obtained from various sources, like the course offered by Training Tycoon.
- Short-term courses in journalism and different administrative skills can be a good option.
- The for-profit education sector also offers plenty of great skill and career development courses, such as customizing WordPress publishing software through theme management and asset control. Education companies like Udemy, Coursera, and other similar schools can positively impact your skill set development.
Editorial Assistant Resume-Writing Tips
Writing a resume for an editorial assistant can be a little challenging. As this job is directly related to writing skills, your resume can be the first example you give recruiters about your writing skills. Below, we’ve listed some sharp points you should keep in mind.
- Connect your most relevant skills to the job you’re applying to: If you don’t have the skills to do this job, you shouldn’t bother applying. So choose relevant skills by reading the job description carefully, arranging them in the proper order (“proofreading manuscripts” or “trained in magazine publishing development” should go above any technical skills). Achievements that are due to specific skills, like a written or edited article of yours that received thousands of views, become more relevant when quantifying them. In the latter case, add in exactly how many views your article had.
- Focus on your education: Employers want to know the person’s background to know how much or how little training or effort they might need to use on their junior staff. That’s why you can’t hide any part of your education. Add in any internships, fellowship programs or certifications you’ve received on top of any college, graduate or associates degrees.
- Write a stand-out summary statement: Grab the interviewers’ attention immediately at the top of your resume with an engaging summary synopsis of your valued attributes, skills sets and essential work history. Write it carefully, showing your creativity and straightforward, direct language.
- Optimize it: Add keywords that show up on your resume’s job listing to make it SEO-optimized. Most employers use ATS to screen documents on the first step of hiring. Incorporating proper keywords in your resume can help make it past tracking software.
- Add a sample content: You can add hyperlinks to your published content or add small sample write-ups.
What makes you a professional editorial assistant?
An editorial assistant is a professional who assists editors in their duties and may gain editorial responsibilities, like writing and editing articles for a website, the more experience they get. At the beginning of their career, editorial assistants support editors in both clerical and creative roles, such as calling companies to review products or helping photographers carry their equipment.
What are all the steps you need to follow to get a job as an editorial assistant?
A bachelor’s degree is a must. Most companies do prefer majors in journalism though other types of communication-based programs are also accepted. Some significant publications, think of The New Yorker, may demand a master’s degree as well. If you want to work for a niche or subject-oriented publication, like Wired Magazine’s tech-centered content or National Geographic’s nature and science focus, they may look for a more specific educational background and experience writing, reading, and analyzing those subjects.
How can I prosper in a career as an editorial assistant?
To thrive in this profession, you should have a passion for writing and reading. Secondly, you should be ready to work long hours and not think about gaining a high-level salary for many years. If you can sail through the first few years smoothly, you may be able to climb up the ladder to positions with significant wages and responsibilities, including content editor, senior editor, and managing editor.