Case study

Assistant editor — Rebecca Panks

Rebecca discovered a love of editing through the peer appraisal sessions on her creative writing degree; find out how this helped her get her assistant editor job

How did you get your job?

I found my job on a job search website by searching for both general jobs in my area, and for the keyword 'creative writing'. Doing this is especially helpful if you are not sure what you want to go for.

A lot of the jobs advertised require you to have experience, so I would suggest working part time at first. That way you also get to build your skills while you are searching and having a job definitely helps get another one.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

An English-related degree was one of the requirements for application. I found the skills I learned during peer appraisal sessions were most important, as it was through these appraisals that I gained experience of proofing and discovered a love of editing.

I was in my element and I loved trying to work out where a piece of writing could be improved and what I could suggest to help them do it.

What are your main work activities?

I work as an assistant editor for , a company that produces analytical reports for businesses. My job is to read through the reports and look for places where the analyst has not adhered to the style guide. I make corrections using Microsoft Word's track changes and comment features.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy working by myself and focusing on one thing at a time. I get to work at my own pace and I can chat to the head editor if I need any advice. It's a lovely quiet office with people who are like me.

I also like the challenge the job presents, I learn new things every day.

What are the most challenging parts?

Sometimes the reports can be quite complicated and I have to really slow down and take my time to re-read them. It is also difficult to remember all of the style guide rules, but they do come with time.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope to find a similar job, but in the fiction publishing industry. While editing non-fictional reports is great, I see it more as a fantastic first step to get myself into the more crowded fiction publishing industry.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Make sure you show how passionate you are and demonstrate enthusiasm in interviews. Use any small bit of experience as evidence of why you'd be good at the job. Any editing experience you can get is a must, even if it is just proofreading your friend's long lost story.

Also, read a lot. As I'm sure you know from your course, reading is a great way of getting those rules in your head before you even know you know them.

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