How to Become a Lead Editor?
Steps to Become an EditorAn editor polishes and refines a story or article for newspapers, blogs, magazines, and books. If you're someone who has a passion for grammar and has strong communication skills, you might consider a career as an editor. In this article, we cover the steps you should take to become an editor.
Earn a degree in English.
To become an editor, most companies want you to have at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in English. Taking courses in this discipline can help you hone your comprehension of the English language. You can also get a degree in journalism and communications, both of which can give you training in drafting and publishing. If you already know that you want to edit specific types of text, such as science or history, you can get a degree in that field and a minor in journalism or English.
Gain experience through internships or school newspapers and magazines.
To perfect your editing skills, you need experience. Some undergraduate degree programs might include an internship as part of the graduation requirements. An internship is an excellent opportunity because you might be able to network or even apply for a job at the company after graduation. Certain colleges might even allow English and journalism students a chance to develop editorial and publishing skills in literary magazines or school newspapers. After you graduate, research online literary magazines since they might use editors to review submissions.
Work on your editing portfolio.
Before you can start editing the next great novel, you need to prove that you know how to edit text. Develop a portfolio of smaller assignments, and highlight some of your best work. Entry-level editing jobs are often competitive, so having a strong portfolio can help you stand out. Consider putting together a personal website so you can develop an online presence, and direct interested parties to your website to learn more about what you can offer. You can also reach out to nonprofit organizations and volunteer to review communications since they often look for cost-cutting measures.
Apply for editorial assistant positions.
Editor careers tend to follow an apprenticeship model where editorial assistants work alongside editors to learn about the industry. Many publishing companies expect you to spend a few years developing an understanding of the editing process and how books go from manuscript to the final product. Publishing houses and trading presses are great places to look for editor jobs.
Obtain certification, like BELS Board-Certified Editor.
To set yourself apart from other editors, consider obtaining certification. Two of the more popular organization-based certification programs include the following:
- Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing: The Poynter Institute's News University partnered with the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) to offer this certification program. In it, you will learn the standards, best practices, and essential skills needed to be an editor.
- BELS Board-Certified Editor: Offered by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BLS), this certification signals that you have a strong understanding of how to edit text regarding life sciences. You need a degree and at least two years of experience as a manuscript editor to qualify.
Lead Editor Career Path
Director of Editorial
Lead Editor Career Path
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