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12 Copy Editor Skills: Definition and Examples

Every copy editor has a different set of skills, but there are some skills that are essential for all copy editors. This article will define 12 of those skills.

Copy Editor Resume Example
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Copy Editor Skills


Copy editing is the process of reviewing and correcting errors in a text before it is published. It is important to do this to ensure that the text is clear, accurate, and free of errors.


Proofreading is the process of reading a text closely to find and correct any errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. It is an important skill for copy editors, who must ensure that texts are error-free before they are published.


Copy editors need to have strong research skills in order to be able to fact check articles and ensure that they are accurate. They also need to be able to find additional information to help improve the quality of the article.


Copy editors need to have strong writing skills in order to be able to effectively edit text. They need to be able to identify errors and make corrections that improve the overall quality of the writing. Good writing skills are essential for copy editors, as they need to be able to understand and communicate complex information clearly and concisely.


Copywriting is the process of writing text for the purpose of advertising or marketing. It is a form of persuasive writing that seeks to promote, sell, or otherwise advocate for a product, service, or point of view.

As a copy editor, you need to be able to identify errors in copywriting and make corrections accordingly. This skill is important because it helps ensure that the text you are editing is accurate and error-free.


Fact-checking is the process of verifying the accuracy of information. As a copy editor, you need to be able to do this quickly and efficiently in order to ensure that the information in a piece is correct.


The ability to organize information is critical for copy editors, who must often take complex topics and distill them into clear, concise prose. This skill allows copy editors to break down information into manageable chunks, identify the most important points, and develop a clear structure for presenting this information.


Copy editors need excellent communication skills in order to effectively edit text. They must be able to understand the author's intent and convey any changes or suggestions in a clear, concise manner. Good communication also helps build trust and rapport between editor and author, which is essential for a productive working relationship.


Interpersonal skills are the ability to communicate and interact with others. As a copy editor, you need interpersonal skills to be able to effectively communicate with your team, clients, and customers.


As a copy editor, you will need to be proficient in using computers in order to edit text documents. This skill is necessary in order to efficiently make changes to a document and track the changes that have been made.

Time management

Time management is a skill that copy editors need in order to be able to effectively manage their time and meet deadlines.


Multi-tasking is the ability to juggle multiple tasks or projects at the same time. This skill is important for copy editors because they often have to work on multiple projects simultaneously, and need to be able to keep track of all the different elements.

How to improve copy editor skills

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to improve copy editor skills will vary depending on the individual's current skill level and experience. However, there are a few general tips that can help any copy editor become more proficient at their job.

First and foremost, it is important to have a strong grasp of grammar and style rules. While it is not necessary to be a grammar expert, knowing the basics will go a long way in ensuring that edited copy is error-free. It is also helpful to be familiar with different style guides, such as the Associated Press Stylebook or The Chicago Manual of Style, as they can provide guidance on how to format different types of content.

In addition to having strong grammar skills, it is also important for copy editors to be able to spot errors in spelling, punctuation, and syntax. A good way to improve these skills is to practice proofreading short passages of text, paying close attention to each detail. Additionally, many errors can be caught by running spell check or using other editing software; however, it is important to remember that these tools are not foolproof and should not be relied on exclusively.

Another important aspect of being a successful copy editor is being able to work quickly and efficiently. This often comes with practice and experience, but there are a few things that can help speed up the editing process. For instance, it can be helpful to create a personal style sheet that includes common spelling and grammatical errors so that they can be fixed quickly when they are spotted. Additionally, using keyboard shortcuts and other productivity hacks can save time when editing large documents.

Finally, it is important for copy editors to have excellent communication skills. This includes being able to effectively communicate with authors or clients about changes that need to be made, as well as being able to give constructive feedback. Having strong writing skills is also beneficial, as it allows copy editors to clearly explain their edits and suggestions.

Overall, becoming a successful copy editor requires a combination of strong grammar skills, attention to detail, efficiency, and good communication abilities. By honing these skills and putting in the practice, anyone can become a competent copy editor.

How to highlight copy editor skills

As a copy editor, you will need to be able to identify errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You will also need to be able to suggest changes that can improve the clarity and flow of the text. To be successful in this role, you will need to have excellent attention to detail and a keen eye for detail.

On a resume

As a copy editor, you will want to highlight your skills in editing, writing, and communication. Your resume should detail your experience in these areas, as well as any specialties you may have. In addition, be sure to list any relevant coursework or training you have completed.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, be sure to highlight your skills as a copy editor. Mention your experience editing for various publications, and point out any awards you've received for your editing work. Be sure to emphasize your attention to detail, as well as your ability to spot errors and make corrections quickly. Also mention any experience you have working with writers to help them improve their writing.

During an interview

When you are interviewing for a copy editor position, be sure to highlight your skills in editing and proofreading. You should also be able to discuss your experience working with different style guides and how you can ensure that the copy is error-free. Be sure to emphasize your attention to detail and your ability to work independently.