Ed remembers the days when each magazine had at least five editorial assistants working at a time. Sadly, times have change, downsizing happened and now most magazines have one to two editorial assistant positions that thousands of whippersnappers with five internships vie for. With few EA positions around, what’s a whippersnapper to do? First, don’t give up; there are other routes you can go until you snag your dream job. Take it from the editors who’ve #beenthere.
As a web producer, you spend the day building content, photo researching , and making sure that every story you put up is optimized with the best SEO practices. “The bulk of my job was building stories in our CMS (content management system), which included knowing a bit of HTML, having a basic Photoshop background and adequate photo research skills, and being familiar with the best SEO practices,” says Taylor Bryant, news beauty editor at Refinery29 who got her start there as a production assistant. Being a web producer may not seem glamorous, but you’ll get to know the foundations of what makes a killer web story and there may be some writing opportunities along the way. That’s how Bryant got promoted to her current role. “Eventually, I started writing a bit more and helping out with news more frequently,” says Bryant. “When the company decided to hire news editors for each vertical, my boss came to me with the gig, since, at that point, I was handling a portion of the news writing anyway, it was a natural fit. Almost a year later, here I am!”
Every brand dreams of hiring a writer who can make their vision come to life , and if you love to write and play with words, it’s a great entry-level job to consider.”Copywriters create content, just like magazine and web editors do,” says Yelena Shuster, senior copywriter at Victoria’s Secret. “You have to figure out the what’s most compelling copy, whether it’s for a clothing brand or an editorial website.” As a copywriter, you get your feet wet in different aspects of writing from advertising copy to newsletters, and even social media. And psst: brand copywriters tend to get paid better than those in magazines do, a great reason to dive into this field.
Social Media Assistant
As a social media assistant, you’re involved in maintaining a brand’s social presence, requiring a knack for catchy writing and willing to experiment. ” It’s a great job for entry level eds because a lot of this work is trial and error,” says Stephanie Osmanski, social media editor at Parents.com. “There is no magical number or strategy that works universally amongst all brands, so if you are open to seeing what works and what doesn’t, you can glean a lot of experience and information in a short amount of time.”
Since social media moves fast, you’ll become a pro at writing fast copy and understanding who your audience is and what they like to read. “Your finger is constantly on the pulse of what’s happening and you become insanely good at turning around tight and accurate copy,” adds Osmanski. “There’s no revision process for live tweeting or crafting a Facebook post so you have to exercise impeccable judgment, have a hawk-eye for errors, and be able to self-edit.“
An Editorial Assistant at Non-Magazine/Website
If you believe that being an editorial assistant is your calling you may be overlooking another outlet: book publishing. In this business, the EA is responsible with working with authors to ensure that their manuscripts are formatted correctly, helps guide books from conception to production, and with other basic administrative tasks says Betsy Blumenthal, current venues assistant editor at Condé Nast Traveler who got her start at Princeton University Press. Blumenthal was able to use her EA skills and previous social media experience to snag her current role. “More than anything, my EA job taught me reliability and accountability,” says Blumenthal. “I had a lot of responsibility to manage, and people were relying on me to come through, on time and with the right answers, always. In some ways, the pressure was tough, but it helped me to understand the expectations that would be placed on me in any job.”