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What Skills should an Editor Have

What Skills should an Editor Have
Bachelor's degree

Typically, a college degree is required for a person to be an editor. A bachelor's degree in English, journalism or communications is common. An editor must additionally be computer literate.

Work Experience

Numerous editors start their career as reporters, writers and editorial assistants. Individuals, who enjoy reading, recognize talent when they see it and who are skilled with identifying good stories may enjoy editing for a living.

Other Experience

Editors may gain additional experience working on college newspapers, publishing and advertising companies, television and radio stations, magazine, non-profit organizations and high-school newspapers.

There are a variety of internships offered by newspapers and magazines. Much internship is offered to qualified full-time junior and senior college students. Interns may be responsible for conducting interviews, research and story writing. Gaining general publishing experience is a huge asset.

Education & Training

Many employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor's degree; however, they require individuals with cross-media and mass-media experience.

Individuals with different backgrounds may still find editing jobs as long as they can demonstrate strong writing skills. Editors who specialize in a specific subject matter often need additional work experience that relates to their field. For instance, fashion editors may gain fashion expertise via work experience or formal training.


Editors rely on communications equipment including computers to communicate with fellow editors and writers. They often utilize digital media programs, graphics, multimedia production and electronic publishing; therefore, being familiar with these programs is essential. Less time is spent reviewing traditional paper manuscripts as online reading prevails.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Creativity: Editors need to be knowledgeable in a wide range of topics while being curious and creative. Editors are often tasked with coming up with attention-grabbing headlines and exciting stories.

Detail Oriented: Proofreading is a regular editorial job as everything published must be free of errors. Every piece chosen additionally has to be in line with the publication's style.

Good Judgment: Editors are responsible for deciding if particular stories are ethical and whether or not there is enough evidence to report them.

Interpersonal Skills: Editors must rely on tact and have the ability to provide constructive criticism while working with writers. Encouraging and guiding clients is an integral part of the process.

Language Skills: Editors are responsible for ensuring that all punctuation, grammar and syntax are correct prior to publication. Therefore, proficiency in language skills is necessary for editing positions.

Writing Skills: Ideally, editors are superior writers themselves and should enjoy most aspects of writing. Being able to communicate ideas logically and clearly while showcasing aptitude in punctuation and grammar is essential to overall success.

How To Advance

The majority of editors, besides copy editors, secures management positions and is responsible for making executive decisions that pertain to running a business. Advancement generally means working for larger publications with greater prestige and higher circulation.

Copy editors may take on freelancing, substantive editing positions or concentrate on writing original works.