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How to Find a Job Editing Manuscripts

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There are many jobs that involve editing manuscripts (books), and these mainly fall into two categories: freelance and in-office. Finding those jobs can be a challenge, but with the necessary know-how, it is possible to land some great gigs. One of the best places to shop for manuscript editing jobs is the Internet.

Have the necessary skills and education, such as a journalism or English degree, manuscript editing experience and knowledge of standard style guides like The Chicago Manual of Style. Also have the necessary computer skills and programs, given that much manuscript editing takes place online.

Determine whether you are interested in on-site or freelance work. Tailor your job search and resume accordingly.

Create a current, professional resume that lists your editing qualifications, skills, education and any other pertinent information. If you have accumulated a great deal of work experience, also generate a separate document that lists publications and manuscripts you have edited.

If you are looking for an in-office job, determine which geographical area(s) in which you want to find a job.

Gather manuscript editing leads by searching job listings websites, including Copyediting.com, Bookjobs.com and Craigslist.org.

Join professional organizations, such as the Editorial Freelancers Association or American Medical Writers Association. Often, these groups have job lists or ways for potential employers and clients to connect with manuscript editors.

Determine which publishing companies interest you as potential employers or clients. “Cold calling” companies, even ones who have not advertised jobs, can be a great way to tap into potential manuscript editing jobs.

Follow the potential employers’ or clients’ instructions for contacting them about job ads. For example, at times you send cover letters via e-mail along with attached resumes, and other times you complete companies’ online forms and submit your resume from those.

Complete editing tests as requested by potential employers and clients. Many companies do require qualified applicants to complete these tests, which are generally several-page excerpts from manuscripts.

Attend job interviews in person or via phone and e-mail. Complete negotiations, and receive job offers.

Tip

Networking is a tried-and-true way to get editing work. For example, you can join professional editorial organizations and connect with potential employers that way. Much networking takes place online and not in person. On that note, many job seekers use social media for finding editing positions. Having a website is not imperative but is ideal, given that potential employers and clients can find you via your website, your online business card.

Warning

The editing world can be highly competitive. Having the best skills and training possible is key to finding great jobs editing manuscripts.

About the Author

Judy Wilson has writing and editing expertise in health, technology, pets, business and travel. She has contributed to USAToday.com, SFGate.com and numerous other publications. Wilson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she completed Mini Medical School.

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