Resumes for Editing Jobs
In writing a resume for editing positions, it’s important to give a prospective employer an idea of your skills by listing the specific responsibilities you’ve had in former positions. For example, if your previous editorial experience was at a newspaper, then list the types of stories you worked on (e.g., city desk, sports, etc.) or the department of the publication in which you performed the majority of your work. If your background is in publishing, then refer to as many published titles you have worked on as you can in your resume without turning it into a multi-page laundry list.
One resume element which is especially important for the resume of someone seeking an editing position is a summary of your strongest and most relevant skills and abilities. This section should also contain a list of the common writing styles that you are proficient in, such as Strunk and White, Chicago, AP, etc. This should go near the top of your resume just after your personal contact information and your objective statement, if that is included in your resume. It’s important to highlight your skill set before moving on to your specific accomplishments. Accomplishments are generally noted in the employment history portion of your resume.
Due to the demand for details required on resumes for this industry, going with the traditional chronologically based resume format is the best choice. List each position you have held and then make a point of listing your achievements and publications within each paragraph or section. Expand on your areas of leadership and editing responsibilities. This will be the majority of the content of your resume. Often, writing disciplines focus on collaboration and mentorship abilities within an editing environment. Let prospective employers know that you have edited a lot of content in your previous positions and how involved you were in the process. You must convey the message that your work is of the highest caliber, which can be somewhat difficult to prove in an editing position, other than through the example of your own resume.
Any writing experience you have should not be neglected when crafting a resume for an editing position. Writing, as a skill, is very relevant in the editing field because of its importance in understanding a writer’s voice and style. It’s rare to find an editor who has not had experience as a copywriter or journalist of some type. Play up your publication and writing contributions, especially if this is one of your strengths.
As in any other field, you should include software and other industry-standard tools you are skilled in, without going overboard. It should go without saying that an editor can use MS Word proficiently. However, it would be beneficial to let a prospective employer know if you have skills with desktop publishing software programs such as InDesign, PageMaker, or Quark.
As an editor, you know style and formatting will make a big difference in how your resume is received. As such, make sure that your resume is easy to read and can be scanned quickly. Although despised by some, bullet-pointed references make individual comments in your resume brief, and quickly move the reader's eye down the page. Bullets also present your relevant qualifications in a way that allows them to be read in a short amount of time. Remember, the average resume is looked at and evaluated in a matter of seconds. As an editor, you know that brevity is important, so make good use of the short time you have to grab your reader's attention.
Your cover letter is where you'll be able to make the case that you are an ideal fit for the editing position you are seeking in a more leisurely manner. Emphasize your general skill set here without going into too many specifics, and remember to mention your communications and interpersonal skills. You will be spending a lot of time peering at text, and your interpersonal skills become very important as you communicate with writers, editorial staff members, and management.
Creating a resume for an editing position can be a real challenge, but if editing is your calling, you know that the rewards are more than worth the effort. Seeing a piece of copy, a news story, or even a novel go from rough draft to finished product can be incredibly rewarding, and although editors do not always get their due, this is a profession which a chosen few wouldn't trade for anything in the world.