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What does an Editor do?

Learn all about Editor duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an Editor.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

An editor is a person who corrects and improves the writing of others.

Editor job duties include:

  • Read and analyze manuscripts to determine if they are appropriate for publication
  • Edit manuscripts to improve their quality
  • Work with authors to help them improve their manuscripts
  • Make decisions about which manuscripts to publish
  • Plan and organize the publication of books or magazines
  • Oversee the production of books or magazines
  • Promote books or magazines to potential readers
  • Write articles or give lectures about publishing
  • Manage the finances of a publishing company

Editor Job Requirements

An editor is responsible for reviewing and editing content before it is published. They work with writers and other content creators to ensure that the final product is accurate and meets the publication's standards. Editors typically have a bachelor's degree in English, journalism, or communications. Some employers may require editors to have a master's degree or experience working in a related field. Many editors are certified by the American Copy Editors Society.

Editor Skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Editing skills
  • Grammar skills
  • Research skills
  • Writing skills
  • Proofreading skills
  • Creativity
  • Time management skills
  • Multitasking

Related: Top Editor Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Editor

There is no one formula for becoming an editor. Some people study journalism or English in college and then go on to get a master’s degree in publishing, while others start out as editorial assistants or even interns and work their way up the ladder. No matter what path you take, there are certain skills that all successful editors share.

First and foremost, editors must be excellent communicators. They need to be able to express themselves clearly and concisely, both in writing and in person. They also need to be good listeners, so that they can understand the vision of the author or the needs of the publication they’re working for.

Editors also need to have a keen eye for detail. They need to be able to spot errors, both grammatical and factual, and know how to fix them. A good editor is also able to see beyond the words on the page and identify larger issues with structure or clarity.

Finally, editors need to be organized and efficient. They often have to manage multiple projects at once, so they need to be able to prioritize and stay on deadline.

If you have these qualities, then a career in editing could be a good fit for you. To get started, consider interning at a publishing house or magazine, or working as an editorial assistant. These positions will give you a chance to hone your skills and learn more about the industry.

Related: Editor Resume Example

Related: Editor Interview Questions (With Example Answers)