How do I Become an Assistant Editor?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
An assistant editor in a newspaper assists the editor in selecting stories for print.
An assistant editor in a newspaper assists the editor in selecting stories for print.

If you want to become an assistant editor, you need top-notch proofreading skills as well as a proven writing ability. You'll have to include published pieces, or clips, when applying for assistant editor positions at newspapers and magazines. Becoming an assistant editor in book publishing is not usually possible without previous experience, so it's advisable to begin working in newspapers or magazines. When you're applying for an assistant editor position at a publication, make sure you have actually read several issues of the magazine or newspaper.

Proofreading ability is essential for an assistant editor.
Proofreading ability is essential for an assistant editor.

Advertised editorial assistant positions attract many applicants. Presenting yourself as not only a candidate who has read the publication, but thoroughly understands the style, advertisers, and editorial focus can make you stand out from the rest. To become an assistant editor, you'll need to explain at the interview why you'd be the ideal fit for the position. Since you'll be the editor's assistant, you'll have to convince him or her that you're the person who will best carry out assigned tasks.

Assistant editors help determine the tone of stories printed in a newspaper.
Assistant editors help determine the tone of stories printed in a newspaper.

To find unadvertised or future assistant editor jobs, contact the editor-in-chief of a magazine by finding his or her name on the masthead or nameplate near the front of each issue. Make sure you follow the writers' guidelines for style and other details. Also be sure you get the editor-in-chief's name from the most recent issue of the publication or you could be contacting the wrong person. Since excellent proofreading is an essential quality to have if you want to become an assistant editor, you must make absolutely sure that your resume is error free. Your cover letter has to be extremely well written; if an editor is going to hire you to assist writers in creating top level work, your own writing will have to be outstanding.

Make sure you read several issues of a newspaper or magazine before applying to be an assistant editor.
Make sure you read several issues of a newspaper or magazine before applying to be an assistant editor.

You'll need published clips of your writing to send to editors. Any leadership experience you have in working with writers, even as a tutor, may help you to become an assistant editor. Giving editors information about the type of feedback you give to writers could help you stand out from the others who contact them about assistant positions. Do as much research you can on the company so that you understand its values and expectations of employees.

An assistant editor helps determine the tone of a publication.
An assistant editor helps determine the tone of a publication.

Keep in mind that merely listing relevant education on your resume isn't likely to make you stand out from other editorial assistant job applicants. Instead, relate your specific school accomplishments to how you'll fit in at the publication more than the typical candidate who wants to become an editorial assistant. For instance, if the publication is a fashion magazine and your successful school assignments were on that subject, quote your professor's comments about your work as well as your interest in style-related topics.

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    • An assistant editor in a newspaper assists the editor in selecting stories for print.
      By: artshotphoto
      An assistant editor in a newspaper assists the editor in selecting stories for print.
    • Proofreading ability is essential for an assistant editor.
      By: Elenathewise
      Proofreading ability is essential for an assistant editor.
    • Assistant editors help determine the tone of stories printed in a newspaper.
      By: minoandriani
      Assistant editors help determine the tone of stories printed in a newspaper.
    • Make sure you read several issues of a newspaper or magazine before applying to be an assistant editor.
      By: miklav
      Make sure you read several issues of a newspaper or magazine before applying to be an assistant editor.
    • An assistant editor helps determine the tone of a publication.
      By: maska82
      An assistant editor helps determine the tone of a publication.