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How can I know if becoming an editor is right for me?

As a kid, I always wanted to become an author. Now that I'm older, I'm more interested in editing at a publishing company. When friends have given me their writing to look over, I enjoy cleaning up the grammar as well as improving the flow and phrasing. However, since this has been my dream for a few years now, I'm worried I may have overlooked other interests I could enjoy more. How can I tell if editing is the career for me? career editor publishing writing english

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Ken’s Answer

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
• It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##

Thank you for your answer! I think it'll prove very helpful. Emmalee B.

Thank you! Ray K.

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Nadina’s Answer

Hi Emmalee,


It's okay to feel a little uncertain about this. I would say, start with doing your homework. Read up on the field. What is the pathway to success? What would you need to study? What skills do people have? If you look at these things and decide these things aren't compatible with your personality, then you have your answer.


I can tell you this: to be an editor, you need to be passionate and dedicated. You will commit years of your life doing unpaid work (in the case of many internships) or work that is paid very little before you become an editor. You will work very hard to get there. You will need to study hard in college, build plenty of writing samples, intern, and meet people to land your first job after graduation. If that's something you think you can do, that's a good start.


Definitely start with some unpaid work or an internship if it's at all possible. Try working on a blog for a few weeks to see if you like it. Take a few classes in journalism if your school offers that program. Find out if there are any opportunities at your local newspaper. Visit a few colleges that have good programs and talk to some of the students. In my experience, doing this sort of thing goes one of two ways: you discover that you love this kind of work and get excited to go into the field, or you realize it's not for you at all and you wonder what on earth you were thinking.


Good luck, and feel free to reach out again if you need to.

Nadina recommends the following next steps:

Research the field
Research colleges
Look for internships and volunteer opportunities

Thank you for the answer! Emmalee B.

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Rachel Joy’s Answer

As with any profession, experience and actually trying out the role will answer that. I would suggest applying for an editorial internship. You can get real experience doing the job, working in the environment, and deciding if that role is for you. You are not committed and can learn and then redirect your focus if editorial is a good fit.

Rachel Joy recommends the following next steps:

Apply for an editorial internship with a publishing house or platform you want to work in.

Thanks for the suggestion! Emmalee B.

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