By Ariana Marini
Congratulations, you’ve scored an editorial assistant role! Now, how do you set yourself apart? To be an excellent editorial assistant, you should be prepared to take on any assignment and execute it like a pro. You should feel comfortable taking initiative and solving issues on the fly.
Whether it’s an exciting editorial mission or tedious administrative task, having an arsenal of resources at your disposable is crucial for doing your best work. We’ve compiled some things we think every EA should have ready to go at a moment’s notice.
1. An Ongoing Pitch List
Great ideas don’t always come to mind the moment you need them, so it’s best to keep a personal list of pitches you’re constantly adding to and developing. Some of your ideas could be tied to the edit calendar or a particular series at your publication, but many of them should be evergreen. When your editor asks for pitches, you’ll be ready. Plus, there are tons of freelance opportunities that you should be seeking out if your role allows.
2. A Mentor’s Contact Information
Is there an intern supervisor who took you under his wing? How about a journalism professor you had a special connection with? Cultivate this relationship into a meaningful one and keep in contact. You’ll be thankful you did when you’re in dire need of some career advice and your mentor is more than happy to offer up her best words of wisdom. Haven’t met your mentor yet? Try signing up for Ed’s Buddy System.
3. An AP Stylebook
If you plan to continue working in editorial, you and your AP Stylebook are in it for the long haul. Unsure whether something should be put in quotes or italicized? It’s always a good idea to reference your style guide and be sure. Of course, if the magazine you’re working for uses a different style, keep that guide handy instead.
4. Comfortable Shoes
You never know when a task will take you across town. Although, it’s usually on the one day you wore those heels that pinch your toes because you thought you’d be sitting at your desk all day. Don’t let them keep you from doing your very best work. Instead, keep a pair of flats at your desk.
5. A List of Personal Accomplishments
Keep a detailed account of all the projects you work on and the various tasks you complete throughout your work day. You’ll be able to physically see the impact you’re making and the skills you’re refining. It’s easy to lose sight of that during the day-to-day grind. More importantly, you’ll have a document to reference when it comes time for your evaluation or to update your resume.
6. Ed’s Magazine Glossary
The sooner you learn all the magazine jargon, the better off you’ll be. Luckily, Ed has put together a glossary with all the words you’ll need to know. Familiarize yourself with these terms so you’ll be able to talk the talk even if you’re still learning the walk. We’re sure this will save you from confusion later on.
7. A Notebook and Pen
This one might seem obvious, but one of the worst mistakes EAs make is not writing details down. How many times have you told yourself you’d remember something later and didn’t take notes? Now how many of those times did you end up forgetting? Even one time is too many. Don’t rely on your memory. Always keep a notebook and pen handy so you can jot down any details you might need.
8. A Positive Outlook
The life of an editorial assistant isn’t always a glamorous one. There will be grunt work and menial tasks. Don’t complain. Never show your manager you’re not into it. Instead, reach into your pocket and pull out your positive outlook. Strive to get the most out of the opportunity and do the work well. Your professionalism and willingness to contribute will be noted and rewarded.
Ariana Marini is a journalist based in New York. She loves reading up on the latest health news, trying on new beauty trends, and frequenting comedy clubs in the city. You can check out some of her work at her portfolio website or tweet her @rarirana.