If you want to make a living as a writer, there’s a chance you might want to become an editor. To work as an editor, you’ll have to find entry level editing jobs that are a good fit for your career path.
While editing is a broad term for a lot of different types of specific jobs, for the most part you’ll simply be in charge of editing written work before publication.
You’ll need a sharp eye to catch typos, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure. If you are someone who constantly catches errors in things you read, this might be a perfect fit for you.
We’ll be going over what editors do for work, what skills you’ll need to acquire for success, and how you can find your first job in the industry.
#1 – What Editors Do
While editing and writing might seem interchangeable, they actually have different skillsets.
Depending on what company or publication you choose to write for, you will edit a wide variety of projects.
For the most part, editors will be brought on to check multiple types of content before they go to publication, whether online or in print.
You might end up editing small or changing small grammar issues or you might be implementing big, structural changes to the things you edit.
When you’re first starting out with an entry level editing job, you won’t often be given huge assignments to take under your wing.
You’ll have to build up your reputation as an editor with a good eye for changes needed, but with persistence you should be able to grow within your position.
#2 – Different Types of Editors
While all editing jobs might sound the same, there are different types of editors and they each have overlapping but unique skill sets.
Let’s break down some of the major editing options out there so you can find the right type of job that fits your career goals.
Proofreaders give content one final look over before it goes to publishing. They are not often involved in big, structural changes to pieces and more so focus on grammar or punctuation. There are even tools that can handle basic proofreading.
Commissioning editors find pieces to accept for publication at book publishing companies or in magazines or newspapers.
It is not often a job you will find in entry level editing jobs, but if it’s a dream for you to find books to become published, this is the job title you will want to pursue.
Content editor / Copy Editors
You’ll often see content editing positions for online publications, but you also might see them for print publications as well.
Copy editors and content editors are often interchangeable, depending on the platform, but they both require top-notch editing skills since you’re the last stop before something becomes published.
Editor in Chief / Chief Editor / In-House Editor
Both of these positions are often in the journalism industry, but they are the last people to check over a story, article, or other form of writing to make sure it meets the publishing guidelines and abides by company policies.
Not only do they need to make sure the grammar and flow are spot-on, but they also need to be sure that it matches the company’s overall goals.
#3 – How to Become an Editor
If you have skills as a writer, you might also have skills as an editor, too. If you’re looking to find an entry level editing job, there are some skills you’ll need first before you apply.
Keep in mind, with entry level jobs, they don’t usually expect you to be an expert for have decades of experience in order to get your foot in the door.
With entry jobs, most bosses know there will be some training involved.
One thing to focus on right away is building some kind of portfolio.
Even if you don’t have any actual published pieces, take articles and clippings online and show exactly what you would do it make them better.
#4 – Skills You Need as An Editor
The skills below don’t apply to all entry level editing jobs out there, but you should still take the time to learn each of these skills so you can take any editing job that you want to apply for in the future.
Have you ever read a book and realized that it lacked flow? Some scenes were out of place and in an order that didn’t make any sense.
That’s where a good structural editor comes into play. This skillset might have different names, but the overall goal of this skill is to make sure that there is good flow.
You’ll need to be able to figure out what should be taken out of a piece and what should be put in.
This will be easier for smaller pieces such as articles, but as you can imagine, this can become a huge in-depth undertaking when it comes to editing longer things such as screenplays or manuscripts.
This skill is more advanced than simply just fixing editing errors here and there, so understand that it will take time to sharpen this skill.
Attention to detail
It should go without saying that editors need a strong focus on the small details in each sentence. They need to catch every typo, grammar error, and any sentence structure issues.
Any time something is published with errors, that will fall on you, so making sure you’re thorough is essential.
This skill isn’t required of every editing jobs, more but more and more publications need editors who understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Depending on your company, you might need to also know how to do keyword research.
#5 – Where to Find Entry Level Editing Jobs
Now that you know what you’re looking for in certain positions and what skills you’ll need to acquire, it’s time to now go out and find some entry level editing jobs.
Your own network
One of the best places to start in the beginning is to see if the publications you already enjoy reading have any open positions.
When you apply to a company that creates content you already consume, you know exactly what kind of tone and brand they’re creating.
Sometimes this can give you a leg up over other people applying for the same position.
If you already write for different websites or publications, it might be worth asking someone on your team to consider you for any open editing positions in the future.
Online job boards
There are a ton of online job boards to find entry level editing jobs, but keep in mind you’ll be competing with a lot of people.
You’ll need to find ways to stand out in your application so they can understand why you’re the best person for the job.
While social media can take quite a bit of time to build up your reputation, social media can bring you job offers. Linkedin is great for this!
If you take the time to connect with the right people and showcase your skills and experience, you can establish your reputation as an editor.
You can skip the long lines of freelancers pitching on job boards and go directly to publications to pitch your skillset to. These tips will help.
You can hunt around online for entry level editing jobs to see what pops up and if you can find open positions through a publication’s main website.
Now that you know the different types of editors, what it takes to become one, and where to find those gigs, it is time to take action! If you want to connect with other writers and editors, get direct referrals, and hone your craft, check out the Freelance Writers Den.