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Get a Job as an Editorial Assistant

Your love of books or newspapers won’t automatically translate to a career in publishing. To earn an entry-level job as an editorial assistant at a newspaper, magazine, website or publishing house, you need any help you can muster from colleagues, friends or relatives. Editorial assistants often answer phones, sort mail and make lunch reservations in addition to their editorial duties, so you must be willing to handle administrative tasks.

Editors' Education

Your education to become an editorial assistant depends on which industry you want to work for. If you want to be an editorial assistant for a newspaper, then a bachelor's degree in journalism might be the best fit. Those who aspire to be editorial assistants for book publishers might choose English, history or literature. Good editorial assistants should also be good writers, so writing-intensive schools will help prepare you. U.S. News & World Report recommends looking at schools such as Brown University of Providence, Rhode Island; Hamilton College of Clinton, New York; and Middlebury College of Middlebury, Vermont. Once you’re there, volunteer to write for or edit the student newspaper or literary magazine.

Enterprising Intern

Seek out internships at editorial departments in newspapers, magazines or publishing houses while you’re in college or immediately after you graduate. Learning the job as an intern can give you an edge in an extremely competitive job marketplace. Do your homework when you apply for internships. For example, if you are interested in landing a job in the book publishing industry, target publishers of books on topics you enjoy. You don't want to go to an internship interview with a company that specializes in history books, then spend the interview explaining your love of science fiction. Instead, seek out an internship at a science fiction publisher. Your application letter must be flawless from a grammar and style standpoint, so craft it carefully and edit it for errors. After all, you’re applying to be an editorial assistant.

Necessary Networking

If you want to be an editorial assistant, seek out people in the publishing industry. Forming a person a connection will help you get hired more readily than by applying through an online solicitation. Ask your parents whether you have any relatives who work in publishing. Or, look up the editors at publications you read. Don't be afraid to contact them and ask them for pointers on how to get an entry-level job, how they got into the field and what they look for in editorial assistants. On her website, former editor Margaret Maloney suggests reaching out through emails or letters -- never through phone calls. This way individuals can respond to your inquiries at their convenience. For those willing to offer advice, follow up with a written thank-you note. Not every connection will open a door, but each can offer some insight into the industry.

Clip It

It is important to build some kind of work record before applying for an editorial assistant position so that you have something to show potential employees. Create a file of writing and editing clips you have built up for school publications as well as during internships. Also, research potential employers and find out what they seek in terms of special skills and expertise. For example, Simon & Schuster looks for candidates who know Microsoft Office Suite for its associate's program. Along with Office Suite, you should be able to demonstrate familiarity with social media.



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