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Careers In Writing – Editorial Assistant

editorial assistant

If you’re organised, a quick learner and you’re great at grammar and spelling, how do you fancy working as an editorial assistant?

The publishing process is a complex one and working as an editorial assistant can be a job that gives you plenty of variety in your working day.

There are several sub-divisions of the publishing industry including book, journal, magazine and newspaper publishing. Editorial assistants are employed in all of these areas.

The job of an editorial assistant

The job of the editorial assistant is an entry-level role and they are employed to support the senior editorial staff all the way through the publication process.

Being an entry-level role doesn’t mean that you can just walk into the job straight from school however, most editorial assistants will have a degree or at least an HND. If you are hoping to work as an editorial assistant in a specialist area, such as science publications, then you will probably need some subject knowledge.

What’s the work like?

The work is varied and involves a fair bit of administrative work on top of some proofreading, editing, writing and uploading of content.

One day you might be issuing contracts for the commissioning editor – this is the person who is in charge of finding and accepting writers, the next day you might be working with photographers, designers or printers to make sure that images are sourced or proofs are uploaded to the printers.

You’ll also be expected to do other everyday office tasks such as answering phones and emails, dealing with queries and filing.

Be aware that if you want to work in publishing, most jobs are in London and Oxford, where major publishing houses are based.

Getting started in publishing

Work experience is valuable and there is a lot of competition for places. Some of the big publishing houses, such as Penguin offer paid work experience placements and internships. There are also short courses and online courses that you might want to look into. You can find details of these on the Society for Editors and Proofreaders website at

You can find out more about working in publishing from The Publishers Association at




About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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