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You’ve finished your editing certification, now what? Making your way in the marketplace

A worksheet for moving smoothly from gaining skills to honing and using them. With a geographical bias, for local organizations, of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Develop your skills, network

You’ve got to mingle and become visible, yes, but also to continue learning. Always be learning.

  • Review job descriptions for your target jobs and list the skills you’ve got and the skills you need yet to gain (you might save those descriptions to PDF and keep a file)
  • Figure out the big names in your target area and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other relevant social media
  • Take classes and workshops, both editing (UCB Extension, Editcetera, various editing organizations) and anything relevant to your particular target industry
  • Take advantage of live and recorded webinars available online (BrightTALK, and so on), many of them available free of charge
  • Listen to relevant podcasts, read relevant blogs
  • Join editing and other industry organizations and communities
  • Go to conferences, if possible (in tech doc, content marketing, and content strategy, these can be pricey; editing conferences are typically more reasonably priced)
  • Seek out mentors
  • Read widely

Gain experience and samples

In the beginning, you may well be trading time for experience and samples. If so, hang in there: experience and samples can help get you to where you want to be.

  • Look for pro bono work that maps to your current and desired skills (for editing, most of this work is remote and flexible, which means you can do it on the side)
  • Search through job sites for internships
  • Edit for friends and family (though this can be tough)

Get active on LinkedIn

It’s important to establish a strong and professional presence on LinkedIn so that agency and in-house recruiters, interviewers, potential clients, and peers can get a sense of who you are.

  • Put together a LinkedIn profile and work on growing your network (connecting with people you know is best, but do connect with recruiters if they approach you first)
  • Join editing groups, and become active in those groups
  • Post links publicly to interesting and relevant content, with brief comments of your own (Home page > Update status > Share with: Public)
  • If you’ve got a unique angle or topic, publish longform pieces — there are a kazillion blogs out there, you’re more likely to reach an audience in the beginning on LinkedIn
  • Upgrade to the Job Seeker premium account as soon as you can

Curate your online presence

Potential employers now routinely search on candidate’s names online, as do potential clients.

  • Make sure that all social media activity is either shielded or relevant to your professional life
  • Search on your name to see what comes up, endeavor to excise anything negative or unprofessional

Put together a digital portfolio

Both recruiters and potential employers will want to see a portfolio. For many positions, it’s required.

  • Find a portfolio site you like, and organize samples of your best work
  • Use schoolwork only if it cannot be identified as such, and remove it as you accumulate more samples
  • Link to the portfolio from your LinkedIn profile
  • Link to it also from your resume (which you’ll supply digitally, most often in PDF)

Corral that first job

After an internship, and maybe some pro bono work, now that you have something on the resume, samples in the portfolio — now you’re ready for the first real job.

  • Be prepared to do an editing “exercise” or a sample edit
  • If staff positions aren’t working out, consider working with a placement agency — sometimes employers are more willing to go out on a limb with a contractor (you’re easier to let go) and sometimes those positions turn into staff roles, but remember that you’ll be up against the competition with these as well
  • Be aware that job boards are most often a study in frustration: it’s better to attract agency and in-house recruiters to you through your LinkedIn profile, and to search also for jobs through LinkedIn with the Job Seeker premium account
  • The most difficult task of all: not getting discouraged if jobs don’t come your way readily
  • Even if you must temporarily take a job outside the field, don’t give up

Information and networking

Some resources for continuing your education and investigating possibilities.

Standard online references

AP Stylebook (w/ subscription, also offers quizzes)

The Chicago Manual of Style Online (w/ subscription)

American Heritage

Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus

The Free Dictionary (presents entries from multiple sources)

Some editing positions to search on, to get a feel for the range of possibilities

Acquisitions editor, project editor, developmental editor, copyeditor, production editor.

Magazine editor. Executive editor, managing editor, deputy editor, senior editor, assistant editor, associate editor, editorial assistant. Health editor, fashion editor, features editor, research editor, news editor.

Fiction editor, literary fiction editor, literary editor.

Science editor, medical editor.

Brand editor, content marketing editor, marketing brand editor.

Content editor, web editor, web content editor, digital editor, site editor, blog editor, social media editor. Search editor.

Technical editor.

Freelance editor.

Editing organizations and communities 
(membership requirements vary)

American Copy Editors Society

American Society of Magazine Editors

Bay Area Editors’ Forum (for those located in the SF Bay Area)

Copyediting-L (subscription-based list group)

Editcetera (for those located in the SF Bay Area)

Editorial Freelancers Association

Freelancers Union (primarily addresses the business side of freelancing)

Northwest Independent Editors Guild (membership limited to residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska)

Publishing Professionals Network

Tech editing SIG (special interest group) of STC

* Search also for relevant Meetups (editing, tech editing, magazine editing, content marketing, etc.) in your area

Other sites, publications

/ Editing and publishing

Barbara McNichol’s blog

The Book Deal (Alan Rinzler’s blog)

Copyediting (newsletter by subscription, blog, books in the works)

Copyediting-L, list of subscriber blogs

EAC, Professional Editorial Standards (although this is a Canadian group, this analysis of editorial skills provides a useful reference)

EFA booklets

EFA articles

I’d Rather Be Writing (Tom Johnson’s tech writing blog, great insights too for tech editors)

KOK Edit, blog

KOK Edit, copyeditors’ knowledge base

New York Book Editors blog

The Subversive Copy Editor blog (Carol Saller’s blog)

Writers and Editors

/ Content marketing

Ceros blog

Content Marketing Institute

The Content Strategist (Contently’s publication)

Contently resources (start here, lays a great foundation) *

Sorry for Marketing

/ Content strategy

A List Apart (delves as well into other topics relevant to digital content)

Brain Traffic blog

Content Science

Content Strategy Inc

The Content Strategy ToolKit (TOC and Ch. 1 of the book)

The Content Wrangler (Scott Abel)

Contents Magazine

Podcasts

/ Content marketing

Content Inc with Joe Puluzzi

The Content Sutra Podcast

Content Warfare

Copyblogger FM

The Craft of Marketing

Modern Marketing (not up in an iTunes preview link yet)

PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Puluzzi and Robert Rose

The Superheroes of Marketing

/ Content strategy

Content Talks (short series from 2011, but filled with big names in the industry)

Insert Content Here (no longer active)

Interview with Kristina Halvorson

Interview with Karen McGrane

/ Tech editing

I’d Rather Be Writing (only the most recent seven are listed in the iTunes feed)

Videos, slides, webinars
(search on topics or presenter names)

BrightTALK (no charge, be sure to check out the Content Wrangler channel)

SlideShare (no charge)

Skillshare (charge for premium access)

Prerecorded open courses

Search iTunes U by topic

Conferences

/ Editing and publishing

American Copy Editors Society (2016, 2016 conference handouts, 2016 conference blog)

Editors’ Association of Canada (2016)

Editorial Freelancers Association (2016)

Northwest Independent Editors Guild (conferences possibly no longer happening)

Publishing Professionals Network (2016)

/ Technical documentation (and so also content strategy)

Information Development World 2015 (info for 2016 not yet up)

Society for Technical Communication (Summit ’16)

/ Content marketing

Content Marketing World 2016

Intelligent Content 2017 (“content strategy for enterprise marketers”)

/ Content strategy

Confab events 2016

Professional training
Workshops and webinars

American Copy Editors Society (regional workshops)

Copyediting (recorded audio classes and webinars, also onsite training)

Editcetera (in-person workshops in the Bay Area; webinars; correspondence courses)

Editorial Freelancers Association | Current catalogue (online)

Media Bistro (online)

Society for Technical Communication (live web seminars, archived seminars, recorded webinars)

Professional training
Certificate programs

Content Marketing Institute University, twelve-month online program

Society for Technical Communication, online certificate courses

UC Berkeley Extension, Professional Sequence in Editing (for those located in the SF Bay Area)

UC Santa Cruz Extension, Technical Writing program, select courses can be useful for tech editors (for those located in the SF Bay Area or Santa Cruz)


Experience and samples

Some resources for gaining experience to start and putting your samples out there.

Pro bono work

Catchafire

Skills for Change (“microvolunteering”)

VolunteerMatch, which also posts its positions on LinkedIn

LinkedIn for Volunteers

(You can also try simply approaching nonprofits in your area and offering your services.)

Some internship listings

Ed2010, search on “internships”

Indeed, paid editorial internships

Indeed, editorial internship summer jobs

InternMatch (Looksharp.com), publishing internships

Internships, publishing internships

LinkedIn, editorial internships

Media Bistro, search on “internships”

Simply Hired, paid editorial internships

Summer internships, publishing internships

Portfolio sites

Behance

Brushd

clippings.me

Journo Portfolio

Pressfolios

(Usually the way it works is you can sign up for a limited portfolio for free, to try it out. If you find a site you like, you’ll want to join and pay the fee for the additional space and features. Look for tracking capabilities.)

. . . or build your own on a full-service website

Squarespace

WordPress