Different Types Of Careers In Editing (With Skills Required)

Updated 6 March 2023

Editors play an integral role in determining and structuring how a company communicates with its target audience. Brands hire editing professionals to help them produce innovative content like blogs, articles and social media posts that help increase customer engagement and expand their customer base. Learning about the different careers in editing can help determine if it is the right career choice for you. In this article, we talk about various career options in editing, who is an editor, what their job includes and some critical skills and the job options in the market for an editor.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

What do careers in editing entail?

The opportunities for pursuing careers in editing are immense, so it is essential to be clear about your skill set and what you enjoy doing to decide which avenue within the field of content is right for you. It has become one of the most common careers in the writing and communication industry, with companies hiring editors to edit their email communication, newsletters, press releases and webinar texts. There are plenty of editing jobs available online, with immense opportunities for those with excellent skills. Those who work as editors do so on several platforms, ranging from books to websites.

Below is a summary of some day-to-day tasks of an editor:

  • Structuring the content: Editors read through a piece of content, analyse it for readability, make it more structured, work on the writing styles used and organise the content to make sense to the reader. A poorly structured copy can be hard to read for the audience.

  • Correcting errors: Editors correct the grammar and make sure that the copy is in the right voice, correct typographical and punctuation errors, and ensure that the document adheres to all tenets of English writing.

  • Establishing a smooth content flow: Editors ensure that each section in the copy links to one before and after it. This helps ensure smooth flow and prevents a disjointed copy.

  • Following the client brief: An edited copy reflects all the specifications requested by the client or the company, and the editor has to ensure this adherence.

  • Proofreading: This may also include rewriting those document sections that need rework. Clients may often require editors to complete 2-3 rounds of proofreading and editing the copy before approving it.

  • Fact-checking: An editing job requires you to check the copy for factual errors like names of cities, people, important dates, data and statistics, and verify it from the quoted sources. This is where solid fact-checking skills may be beneficial as an editor.

Necessary skills to pursue a career in editing

A career in editing requires having exceptional skills, which enable you to locate errors and edit copies efficiently, quickly and concisely. Following are a few skills that are vital for editing jobs:

  • Excellent command over English: The capability to write a grammatically correct and expansive copy in a readable format is an important skill to possess if you intend to become an editor.

  • Ability to catch spelling and grammatical errors: As an editor, you may require to be adept at spotting commonly made typological and grammatical errors and correct them before approving the copy.

  • Strong research skills: An editor may often work on topics or subjects that might not be familiar to them. This means that they may require excellent research skills to find reliable information quickly.

  • Ability to pay attention to minute details: From the language used in the copy to adhering to the client's instructions regarding using oxford commas, colons, semicolons, em-dashes and apostrophes. Editing a piece may require meticulous attention to the minutest of details.

Related: How To Develop Your Skill Set: A Complete Guide

How to pursue a career in editing

Here are the steps you can follow to pursue a career in editing:

1. Complete your undergraduate studies

To start your career in editing, you can complete a bachelor's degree in a related course. Many employers prefer candidates with marketing, advertising, mass communication, journalism or creative writing degrees, which can help you understand editing, web design, writing, fact-checking, proofreading, researching and publishing. While these degrees equip the candidate with ancillary skills necessary for editing jobs, they are often not mandatory by some employers.

2. Get work experience

If you are still a student, you can try getting some work experience with your school newspaper or magazine. It can help familiarise you with work-life and sharpen your editing skills. If that is not possible, you can check if there are any part-time jobs available where you live or within a convenient commute. You can also volunteer at a non-profit or local news organisation. Working at such places can be effective experience to showcase on your resume and portfolio.

3. Pursue short courses

There are many short courses and certifications that you can take to hone your skills suitable for online editor jobs. Self-paced training modules and online certifications can be a great place to start. Weekend courses can help you upgrade your skills to pursue a career in editing.

4. Inculcate a reading habit

An interesting aspect to note in this field is that many acclaimed editors are often avid readers as it helps them be better writers and editors. Reading books in any genre can help you familiarise yourself with the flow of writing and become a more seasoned editor. Inculcating a reading habit may be a good starting point for you if you wish to make a career in editing.

Types of careers in editing

When pursuing a career in editing, you can opt for a branch that complements your growth potential based on your skills and interest. Following are job options you can choose from if you want to make a career in editing:

1. Web writer

National average salary: ₹2,31,854 per year

Primary duties: A web writer's tasks involve updating and curating content on a company's website. This can include writing original copy, editing existing text or updating stories, depending upon project-specific requirements. Web writers may also perform search engine optimisation (SEO) tasks to help brands establish an online presence and be visible on the internet. An added knowledge of blogging, along with sharp editing skills, is usually an advantage if you wish to become a sought-after web writer.

2. Subject-expert writer

National average salary: ₹6,10,121 per year

Primary duties: Organisations engage subject-matter expert writers to develop content on a particular topic or industry. They often write for blogs or informational websites, though they may also contribute to email newsletters and other forms of corporate communication. Subject-expert writers usually possess a thorough knowledge of their area or field to produce high-quality content for clients. The technical product writing, academic writing and finance writing genre has immense potential for editors who want to expand their careers or are looking for a vocation change in the content industry.

Related: How To Become a Subject Matter Expert (Salary and Skills)

3. Journalist

National average salary: ₹2,80,508 per year

Primary duties: Journalists write reports, articles and stories that notify and entertain their readers. News outlets require journalists to cover various themes such as local community news, national politics and sports. It is up to you to decide what you want to write about each topic from your point of view. The ability to perform journalistic research can be crucial because it allows you to interview people on various subjects to gather information for your story.

Related: 12 Types Of Journalism Jobs

4. Freelance editor

National average salary:₹2,05,443 per year

Primary duties: Most freelance editors work with various clients on different projects. For instance, you may edit medical journals one day and proofread a webpage the next. Your job responsibilities may depend on what you are editing and for whom, but some general tasks apply to all editing jobs. You can also find freelance editing jobs online. Freelance editors are often self-employed and operate independently. As a freelancer, your clients can range from independent writers and publishing houses to corporations and non-profit organisations.

Related: How To Become A Freelancer In 8 Steps

5. Advertising copy editor

National average salary: ₹3,18,603 per year

Primary duties: As an advertising copy editor, your role may include crafting creative copies that promote a brand, person, product or service. Copy editors typically review advertising copy closely to ensure it's accurate and follows proper grammatical rules. They also closely review the content to make sure it follows the client's required tone, structure and style guidelines.

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