How to Get a Job as an Editor: 6 Steps to be Hired

By | October 18, 2023
How to Get a Job as an Editor
Getting a job as an editor may be tough, but focused preparation will improve your chances.

How to Get a Job as an Editor: 6 Steps to be Hired

Getting a job as an editor will not come easy; you will most likely to face tough hiring process as employers strive to ensure they are recruiting the best person for the job.

To improve your chances of getting the job, there are things you should put in place; this post highlights six steps you need to take to make yourself attractive to employers for them to hire you as their editor.

Please, read on …

6 Steps to Get a Job as an Editor

1. Prepare for Editing Job

Editing jobs require adequate preparation, which includes possessing qualities that enable editors to attract and work with first-class writers, harmonize the workflow from manuscript to publication, and manage day-to-day editorial tasks.

Most magazine and newspaper publications, as well as website owners look for editors with appropriate skills and knowledge. Having these qualities before applying for the position will certainly increase your chances of employers.

Some of the qualities employers look for when recruiting for editor position include:

  • Educational qualification: Education plays a vital role in the life of an editor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers obviously require a Bachelor’s degree in English, mass communication or journalism. Editors can also attend colleges or training organizations, and gain certification in copy editing or publishing.
  • Creativity: As an editor, you should be creative and knowledgeable in diverse topics. Your capacity should include identification of thrilling content and graphics, and inserting flavor to dull content to meet a magazine’s standard.
  • Good Marketing Knowledge: An editor cannot do without contacts of writers, writers’ agents and other content creators so that they can find contributors for upcoming projects.
  • Attention to Details: Matching the right images to articles, spotting space issues, and lining out ad placements are part of an editor’s job description. A keen eye to detail will help the editor accomplish this. There might be grammatical errors and little deviations from pictures and document presentations, but meticulous skill will help the editor to spot and correct them.
  • Empathy: Editors should be able to discover the needs and desires of readers of their magazine. They need to also empathize with new authors and mentor them to perfect their content. Empathy makes creating a good relationship and better collaboration with writers possible.
  • Teamwork: Editors need to coordinate the work of other members of the publishing team for efficiency in work. In the book publishing business, editors set schedules for authors to finish manuscripts, and for copy editors to review and deal with queries, as well as for designers to prepare artwork, etc.
  • Partnership: Partnership with writers is a way you as an editor can improve the quality of your work; make recommendations on structure, length or style to ensure suitable contribution for the publication and the readership. You can further make suggestions on changes or request additional details to make clear meaning or add value to the piece.

2. Find an Editing Job

The second step you need to take in your quest for an editor job is to find one. Some of the places you can find editing jobs include:

Other places you can find editing jobs include:

Academic Journals

Research publications are good examples of academic journals. They employ work-at-home editors, though they usually require their editors to undergo specific training in a particular style guide – normally MLA or APA format – and obtain Masters Degree in a journal-related subject matter.

Flex Jobs

This is another place you can find great editing job opportunities for those interested in working remotely.

Editorial Freelancers Association

When you join Editorial Freelancers Association, you will get a chance to add your name to their freelancer directory, join their email list, take valuable online training, learn more about being a freelance editor, and gain access to their job board for frequent job leads.

Set up a Website

This method of getting editing jobs doesn’t require credentials. All you need to do is set up a website for yourself and start marketing yourself as an editor. Build a network of people and let them know that you are an editor for hire.

Copy Editing Listserv

Copy Editing Listserv or CEL in abbreviation is a goldmine of information, job leads, support, and more. You can subscribe and start getting insight from people who are already in the field.

3. Apply for the Job

To apply for a job as an editor, you should take the time to customize your cover letter in a way it will match your qualifications to the requirements listed in the job posting.

Almost every editorial position requires strong editing and organizational skills, while some editorial positions require strong project management abilities, creativity and ability to brainstorm ideas easily.

Avoid spelling and grammar errors in order to have a professional and presentable cover letter. Customize your template by fiddling with the layout settings to give it a personal touch.

Organize things in order of importance and keep it short. Your letter should not exceed two pages except a situation where you have to use curricula vitae to show your accomplishments.

4. Prepare for Pre-employment Assessment Tests

A lot of editorial jobs seen on magazines and newspapers require taking editorial tests. Edit or editorial tests are typically take-home exams that employers give to applicants after an interview. How applicants perform on those edit tests normally determines whether they will land the job or not.

Before you start editing, be sure to carefully read over all of the instructions provided with your edit test.

When you take the test, try to follow all instructions or directions to the letter and do not deviate, to avoid not being contacted by the manager.

Take note of any deadline for submitting the test – this way your time management skills are being tested.

Edit your work and don’t be afraid to lightly insert queries in an editorial test, as if you were actually communicating with a writer.

Avoid too many queries as this may delay publishing and also indicate a lack of confidence in your editing on a real manuscript.

You need to ask what style guide the employer prefers. There are Associated Press (AP), Chicago Manual of Style, and the Council of Biology Editors guide.

Using the right style for the type of the work you are editing will hint the employer that you can fit into the style and nature of their publication.

Always remember to spell-check and review your work because you can only take this test once. Dot your is and cross your ts, and come up with smart solutions when editing and writing.

Using the spellchecker function on your Word Processor will help you a lot during the test, and don’t forget to conduct a final spell-check to reveal any mistakes that you might have missed in your initial editing.

Check for typos, over or deleted spaces between words, or duplicated words like “an an” or “for for”. And finally, you can wait a day or two to review your work before submitting the edit test to the employer to help you spot second last errors or typos.

Some employers may also require that you take certain online tests to prove your suitability for the editor position. Learn more about it here: Pre-employment assessment tests.

5. Prepare for Interviews – Major Important Editing Interview Questions and Answers

Getting an editor job
Putting up a good performance at an interview is important to getting an editing job.

When you are interviewing for an editorial job, it is vital to prove tough verbal and written communication skills.

An excellent command of the English language, published clips, and solid writing skills, are important when trying to stir someone in publishing whether you are interviewing for the editor-in-chief position or for an editorial internship.

The employer wants to assess your personality, work ethic and goals. With some outstanding skills, you have made it through the resume screening process, but the interview experience can be more demanding.

Being your first time, you have to show the prospective employer your true personality as both an individual and a future employee.

Here are questions you may likely come across during an editor’s job interview and examples of good answers:

  • What is the role of a managing editor? In answering this question, you should describe a managing editor as one who oversees much of a company’s printed and published material, the coverage and focus of press releases and other documents, and also who determines and enforces the standards of this material, ensuring maintenance of appropriate formatting style and grammar.
  • How do you approach a document you receive to edit? You can start answering this question by saying that when you receive a document to edit, you first of all review the focus and goal of the material; and then complete an initial read-through focused on the content of the piece to make sure it fits the outlined goals. The second read-through process is to find glaring errors and smaller phrasing issues. Then the final reading is to ensure that all tiny grammar problems are fixed.
  • How did you handle collaboration with media outlets? Explain! You can tell how you communicated with newspapers on upcoming press releases or worked with editors at a news organization.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as an editor? “I believe that with my skills and experience, I can identify the goals of a PR campaign and ensure that written materials stick to the goals of the company. For instance, I applied this experience when I worked with a media outlet I helped achieve its goal of producing quality writers. Furthermore, as an editor, I can perhaps be a bit too direct in dealing with writer errors. Acknowledgement of positive attributes is as important as communicating and fixing problems. I continue to work on this directness and have radically improved.”
  • What do you do for fun? When asked this question you should talk about things you do on the weekends such as visiting fun places. You can talk about your favorite restaurant and personal life experience. They want to know how you can handle topics such as life, beauty, travel, fashion, food, relationships, etc., and whether you can be a fun person to be with around the office.
  • Why do you want to work at XYZ Magazine? They want to know what attracted you to apply at this magazine company. It may be a particular writer that you’ve come to love, or a story they published that impacted your life a great deal, say it. Portray your answers towards the magazine you want to work with.
  • What do you read? While answering this question, be ready to give a list of anything interesting you’ve read recently – things like books and interviews.
  • What did you do at XYZ Magazine Internship? How you answer this question gives the interviewer clues about how perfectly you’re qualified for the editing position. Talk about anything relevant during your internship program, but don’t speak poorly about anywhere you’ve worked, because the employer will feel bad and assume you’ll do the same at their magazine.
  • How are you with social media? You must have a strong social media presence as an editor. Talk about the platform you love and use often, and your interest for it will become clear. If the employer asks you something like, “What about Facebook and Twitter – don’t you use them?” You can say, “They’re strong and relevant ways to drive traffic as well”.
  • Can you openly make XYZ Magazine part of your job? Just say “yes” because you really need the job. Prove that you’re ready to give your best to this job. You may not actually perform all the tasks imposed on you but with a willing heart some of the job responsibilities will be relieved from you.

6. Follow up

It is important that after an interview you should write an error-free follow-up letter to thank the interviewer for his/her time, and to say again why you’re committed to the position. It is a great way to showcase your communication skills and stand out from the crowd.

The letter should be written in the form of a short note, an email, or a formal letter. It should be timed and don’t wait too long to send it.

Your follow up letter should not exceed 48 hours of meeting with the prospective employer. Even if you’re not hired for the position, you may be remembered for other opportunities depending on your qualifications and abilities.

Some employers might provide a time frame during which you will receive a response, and the means by which you will receive it. In this case, the aim of your letter will be to thank them for their time, and to indicate that you look forward to hearing from them, repeating the contact information and time frame they suggested.

If after the end of the time limit given you did not hear from the employer, you can then politely call and inquire about your application and the job in question.


Are you searching for an editing job? This post has been packed up with enough information to make it easy for you to get a job as an editor.

You need to put certain things in place, including developing the necessary skills and experience in order to beat the competition and be irresistible to prospective employers, and also to ensure a successful career.