A friend of mine asked me, “How did you become an editor, and how can someone else get into that type of career?” That’s a tough question to answer because I never grew up thinking I’d be a writer or editor. I didn’t make up my mind on a career until high school, when I decided to explore a profession in TV journalism—either as a reporter or news anchor. At the University of Florida I studied TV and radio journalism, and even had the chance to report the news and anchor a newscast for several semesters. Nonetheless, I didn’t stick to TV journalism. I did give it a try, however. I interned at FOX News and worked at ABC News. Yet, nearly eight years since I graduated with my TV news degree, I am continents away and in a pretty different profession than I expected—Staff Editor of Middle East Content for a leading global consultancy firm. Thankfully, I enjoy my job even if I didn’t anticipate it, and can share some tips for people who are looking to enter the editing and writing field:
-Start a blog. With a blog you’ll have a presence online and be able to have proof of your writing ability when applying for jobs/internships (it will also hopefully allow you to improve your writing over time). I would suggest wordpress.com, the platform I’m using for this blog!
-Intern or try to contribute articles to publications. Most publications are in need of content (especially free) so one way to bulk up your portfolio is to send your content for consideration/publishing to media outlets that you’re interested in. So come up with a list of publications you like and then email their editors to see if they’ll accept your content. This can also help you network with people within the industry you want to enter.
-Gain the relevant skills and knowledge. Most people don’t have the time or financial ability to go back to school. Luckily there are many platforms for learning that don’t require much money or full-time attention. One of my favorites is Lynda.com, which offers thousands of intense tutorials on everything from blog writing to fashion photography. To sign up, you have two options—basic membership or premium. Both are relatively inexpensive and worth their fee. On the other hand, Coursera.org provides free classes (including writing and English courses such as English Composition offered by Duke University) from the most prestigious universities around the world. Students who successfully pass a course receive certificates from the university that offered the course (this can help freshen up one’s resume/CV and show perspective employers that they’re not complacent).