How Do I Become An Editor With No Experience?

by Laura C. Jones

So you want to become an editor, but you don’t have any experience? You’re not alone. A lot of people are in the same boat – they have the skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm to take on editing work but don’t know where to start. This article will help you get your foot in the door and set you on the path to becoming a successful editor.

What does an editor do?

Before diving into the steps you need to take to become an editor, let’s explore what being an editor entails. Editing is a process of revising text in order to improve its accuracy, clarity, readability, and style.

Editors must be proficient in grammar, punctuation, and spelling; they must have an eye for detail, and they should be able to identify errors in writing quickly and efficiently.

In addition to these technical skills, editors must also have strong communication skills in order to effectively collaborate with writers, publishers, and other stakeholders involved in the editing process.

How to become an editor?

1. Education

The first step in becoming an editor without prior experience is to gain the necessary education for the job. It’s important to understand what makes an excellent editor, so it’s highly recommended that you pursue a degree or certificate program in editing or journalism. You will learn the technical skills and knowledge required to be successful as an editor and also gain valuable insight into the industry as a whole.

2. Research the Industry

Once you have obtained your education, the next step is to research the industry and find out what type of editing is right for you. Do some research on different types of editing, such as copy editing, proofreading, developmental editing, and so on.

This will help you understand the different responsibilities associated with each type of editing and determine which ones you’d like to focus on. Additionally, researching different publications or industries will allow you to determine which types of editors are in demand within those fields.

3. Develop Technical Skills

If you want to become an editor with no experience, then it is essential that you develop your technical skills first. You need to brush up on your grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax rules.

Familiarize yourself with common style guides such as the Chicago Manual of Style or AP Stylebook and learn how to use editing software such as Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word. These technical skills are essential for anyone wanting to become an editor.

4. Gain Experience Through Writing

One of the best ways to gain experience in editing is by writing. Writing is a great way to practice your editing skills and hone your eye for detail. You can write articles for online publications or even start a blog of your own! Not only will this give you valuable writing experience, but it will also give you practice in self-editing — a skill that is essential for any editor.

5. Volunteer as an Editor

Another way to gain experience as an editor is by volunteering with local organizations or publications that are looking for editors. This could include anything from academic journals to magazines or newspapers.

Volunteering as an editor will give you the opportunity to gain valuable experience while also making valuable contacts within the editorial world who may be able to provide more job opportunities down the line.

6. Build Your Professional Network

Networking is essential for anyone looking for work in any industry — including editing. When building your professional network, it is important that you reach out not only online but also offline by attending conferences and events related to editing or publishing where you can meet people who may be able to help advance your career goals.

7. Find a Mentor

Having someone experienced in the industry who can provide feedback on your work is extremely valuable when trying to break into freelance editing without prior experience.

Try finding an experienced editor who might be willing to act as a mentor; they can provide helpful advice regarding how best to improve your work and introduce you to people who could be beneficial contacts when looking for job opportunities down the line.

Even if they cannot offer formal mentorship opportunities, they may still be willing to review some of your work from time to time which can be just as beneficial when trying to break into this field without prior experience!

8. Create a Portfolio

When applying for jobs as an editor, it is important that you have a portfolio that showcases your best work and demonstrates your skills as an editor.

Your portfolio should include samples of your writing as well as any editing projects that you have worked on — either paid or volunteer projects.

Having a portfolio will show potential employers that you are serious about being an editor and demonstrate that you have the necessary skills needed for the job.

9. Take Classes

Taking classes related to editing or publishing can also be beneficial if you are looking for work as an editor with no experience.

There are many online courses available that can help enhance your knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and style guides — all of which are essential skills for any aspiring editor.

Additionally, taking classes can give you access to resources such as internships or job openings that may otherwise be unavailable without taking such courses.

10. Prepare For Interviews & Tests

Finally, once all of this has been completed -it’s time for the final hurdle: interviews! When applying for positions as an editor without prior experience, prepare thoroughly by researching common questions asked by employers so that you’ll be well prepared when it comes time for interviews.

Additionally, many employers ask applicants questions related directly to their job role so make sure that all your research is up-to-date before attending interviews! If employers require testing, ensure that all of these tests have been completed beforehand so that there are no last-minute surprises at the interview!

11. Be Prepared For Rejection

Lastly, when applying for jobs as an editor without any previous experience, it is important that you keep in mind that rejection may be part of the process, especially at first until you build up some credentials through volunteer work or freelance gigs, etc…

It’s important not to take rejection personally but instead use it as a learning opportunity so that when new opportunities arise, you can use them as chances for growth and improvement!


Becoming an editor with no experience may seem like a daunting task, but with dedication and hard work, it can be done! It is important that aspiring editors brush up on their technical skills (grammar, punctuation, etc.), and gain hands-on experience through writing or volunteering at local publications/organizations.

And network both online and offline, create a portfolio showcasing their best work, take classes related to editing/publishing if possible; and always remember not to take rejections personally but use them as learning experiences! With dedication and hard work, anyone can become an experienced and successful editor!

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