Get a Job in Copy Editing
Finding copy editing jobs can be tough. Copy editors are in high demand in all fields of publishing, both traditional and electronic, but there are a lot of English majors, journalism interns and all-around word nerds competing for the chance to show their skills at polishing copy. Grab your blue pencil and follow these suggestions to delete the obstacles and take your choice of copy editing jobs.
1. Enroll in an accredited journalism or English program at a college or university before pursuing a copy editing job. Take as many courses as you can on the basics, such as grammar, style, spelling, copy editing, reporting, headline writing and news decision-making.
2. Familiarize yourself with the standard style books: the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style, “The Elements of Style” and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). These are the bibles of copy editing.
3. Produce a winning cover letter and resume to apply for the job of your choice. These must outline your interest in the job and your work experience. Be sure to double check your spelling and mechanics, and try to have your application documents reflect the style book used by the company to which you are applying.
4. Start your job search by looking at career websites such as Monster or Journalism Jobs. You can also check the newspaper classified ads or trade publications such as “Editor & Publisher” for job openings.
5. Go to the interview. Be prepared to discuss current events or the latest publishing trends with the hiring editor. Explain why you will be a good fit for the company and how your skills can contribute to the publication. Offer a portfolio of editing, layout or headline writing samples if possible.
6. Take a copy editing test administered by the employer. Most employers require that you pass with a score of 90 percent or higher in order to be offered a copy editing job. The test will be based on the employer’s preferred style guide. (This is where all that studying comes in handy.)
7. Follow up with a handwritten note thanking the interviewer for seeing you and expressing your enthusiasm for the job. Double check your note, too!