How to Get a Job as an Editorial Assistant

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Sometimes, we wonder, how do the newspaper and magazine print such flawless and perfectly written articles and news pieces? Well, it is due to the efforts of many people, and one of them is the Editorial Assistant. An editorial assistant is normally employed in the acquisitions department of a newspaper, magazine or a book-publishing house.

Your Role as an Assistant Editor

The primary responsibilities of an editorial assistant include proof reading the articles, news items or books, as the case may be, taking case of the administrative functions of his department, assisting the editor in deciding the pieces to be bought, liaison with the writers etc.

While there is a clear cut demarcation between an editorial assistant and administrative assistants in a big publishing house, the same cannot be expected of a small magazine or a newspaper, and more often than not, an editorial assistant will also handle all the administrative functions of his department.

Applying for an Editorial Assistant Job

If you are applying for the post of editorial assistant then you need to do some preparatory work. Know yourself. Have you worked with a newspaper or a magazine before? Are you aware of how a publishing house is run? You can get some experience on this if you work as a trainee or a secretary with a publishing house or a newspaper. If you are applying for editorial assistant of a financial magazine, then you should be aware of the finance industry, stock markets, etc. Unless you are suitable for the post, there is no point applying, as you may be wasting your time. Instead, apply only in your niche. This will help you in performing your duties well.

Follow some of the simple steps as stated below:
  • Try to read the past few issues of the magazine or past few days' newspapers. Do not forget to read the editorial columns. You may be asked a few questions on them or you may be asked your views on those items.
  • Refer to the latest AP Stylebook. You may be asked about this stylebook at the interview.
  • When you appear for the interview, carry with you a couple of the best clippings of the work that is published. In case you do not have any published work, then carry a sample of your writings to show case your writing talent.
If your have been around in the industry for sometime and have befriended a few journalists, try to get recommendations from them. This will act as a certificate about your working talent, and you will have an edge over the others when you apply for the post of editorial assistant.

Qualification and Skills You Need To Become an Editorial Assistant

A person wishing to become an editorial assistant should possess a degree in mass communications, journalism or a related field.

An editorial assistant should have excellent writing skills. He should be able to write flawlessly, adopting different styles, as per the requirements of the newspaper or the magazine. He should have exceptionally good command in grammar, and should have an eye for catching even minor errors.

He should be conversant with the AP stylebook. As an editorial assistant, you will be making frequent use of AP stylebook. An AP Stylebook is based on the current trends, and a new book is issued each year.

To be eligible for the post of editorial assistant, you should have at least 2 to 3 years of experience in a newspaper or a magazine. However, book-publishing houses require more experienced people who have been around either with a newspaper or magazine for about 5 to 6 years.

What Are the Career Prospects

An editorial assistant can climb the ladder to become an editor, project editor and editor in chief. However, for this to happen, you should be able to produce superior quality work consistently. You should work with several publications so as to get experience in a specific genre such as children magazine, academic titles, etc. With growth and expansion in the field of print and media, the editorial assistants have a glorious and prosperous career ahead.

Hours and Pay

The salaries of the editorial assistants greatly depend on the number of years of experience in the industry, and also the type of publication. The average salary of editorial assistant would range from $28,000 to $45,000.

An editorial assistant can be expected to work for erratic hours. This is true even more if you are working for a daily publication.

If you love writing, then this is the profession for you. With good work and few years of experience you can surely climb the ladder of success.
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