Is it difficult to get an editorial role in publishing?
Some Editorial positions are notoriously competitive (particularly in trade publishing). But there are so many different types of editorial jobs, from editorial assistant, desk editor, project editor to commissioning editors, etc… and so many different types of publishing sectors, there must be an Editorial role waiting for you! Do not forget about educational, scientific or professional publishing, as these are very dynamic and rewarding areas of publishing. How do you learn about these? Research and networking! Talk to publishing professionals, attend events to get to know different markets, get in touch with your recruiter. Keep an open mind when looking for an editorial role as the right opportunity might be at a publisher you’ve never heard of before!
What skills do I need to work in an editorial role?
It really depends on the editorial role you are trying to get. If you are intending to go towards commissioning, a commercial mind set and networking skills are essential, as well as a strong relationship building aptitude. If you are considering project editing, then project management and organisation would come in handy. Generally a good attention to detail, strong interpersonal skills and the will to learn are valued in an editorial role. Soft skills are all the rage, and a positive, flexible and a proactive approach to work will get you places!
Can I change publishing sector later in my career?
Of course you can! The first job you get doesn’t determine the rest of your career. But try to explore a few routes at the beginning of your career maybe to find that special publishing industry you love. Or be prepared to be flexible if you are considering moving publishing sectors when you have already gained solid experience. You will have developed transferrable skills and valuable experience. But for more senior roles, publishers usually require established knowledge of their sector/type of list, so you might have to take a step down in order to break into a new sector.
So just to sum up:
- Be curious and do keep an open mind when it comes to editorial roles and publishing sectors
- Do your research and speak to people! It’s the best way to discover what a particular editorial position involves or learn more about different publishing sectors
- Work on your soft skills (we have a blog on this)! You will develop many as you gain experience, but a friendly and positive attitude is your best bet to start.
- Be flexible if you are trying to move into a new sector of publishing.