Becoming an editorial assistant is an excellent way to get your foot in the door of a publishing house, magazine, or newspaper. Other industries utilize editorial assistants as well, mostly in their marketing and communications departments.
Editorial Assistant Job Description
An editorial assistant is an entry-level position whose primary function is to support an editorial staff. It is fast-paced and usually full-time.
Most editorial assistants work for a magazine, newspaper, book publisher, or digital publication. However, the marketing and communications departments of corporations will hire editorial assistants, too.
Editorial assistants perform a variety of tasks that include checking mail, keeping calendars, and proofreading and fact-checking copy.
Additionally, some editorial assistants have the opportunity to write articles. This may include writing promotional copy as well as pitching and researching various topics. They may also be tasked with managing a publication's social media. It all depends on the industry.
Editorial Assistant Job Responsibilities
An editorial assistant's job responsibilities vary from day to day. One day might consist entirely of office support duties like filing, answering phones, or greeting visitors. Another day might include checking copy for grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Other job responsibilities include tracking editorial submissions, screening manuscripts, and researching and verifying facts in an article.
Many editorial assistants work their way up the ladder and become senior or executive editors. Some move into full-time writing for a publication, while others may become advertising copywriters.
Editorial Assistant Training and Education Requirements
Editorial assistants should have a bachelor's degree in journalism, English, or communications, but this varies by employer.
However, editorial assistants should also have excellent writing skills. Excellent working knowledge of AP and Chicago style rules and familiarity with word processing is beneficial. Additional experience with digital applications such as Microsoft Word, CMS, and HTML is also helpful.
Editorial assistants need to have strong interpersonal and organizational skills. Also, they should have the ability to prioritize and multitask for this fast-paced editorial environment. The ability to work independently and as part of a team is also beneficial.
Editorial Assistant Salary and Wages
Salary and wages for an editorial assistant vary from state to state and from employer to employer. However, editorial assistants just starting out or with limited experience can expect to earn between $34,000 and $42,000 a year.
More experienced editorial assistants can make up to $64,000 a year.
Editorial Assistant Certifications
Certifications will increase your chances of getting hired as an editorial assistant and help you move up the ladder more quickly. Obtaining a certification in HTML, Adobe Photoshop, copy editing, or technical writing can enhance your resume. These skills are as close as your local college. Gaining additional education is vital, especially if you don't have a bachelor's degree.
Editorial Assistant Professional Associations
Joining a professional association is a great way to network with others, learn the latest trends in your specific industry, and search for job openings.
The American Society of Magazine Editors is one such organization. ASME is an association for journalists and editors of consumer and business magazines in print and on digital platforms. These editors and writers come together to share ideas, knowledge, and opinions about the magazine industry.
Another useful organization is the American Copy Editors Society, which welcomes editors of all mediums. There are even professional associations that focus on specific niches such as science, sports, and travel.
Jumpstart Your Career as an Editorial Assistant
If you're looking for a career in a fast-paced environment, becoming an editorial assistant could be a perfect choice for you. This career allows you to utilize your excellent writing and communication skills. It's a stepping stone that can open the doors to becoming a full-time writer or an executive editor. For this reason, the possibilities are endless.