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Editorial assistants are employed by newspapers, publishing houses, magazines and online publishers to support the editorial department. The job specification will vary depending on the nature and subject matter of the company or publication. The work load will also be varied as editorial assistants generally work alongside all members of the editorial team and responsibilities will often alternate between editorial and administrative.
The editorial assistant is often the point of contact between editorial and other departments, such as advertising and pictures.
They are often responsible for proofreading material and suggesting amendments where necessary, although significant changes will need to be verified by more senior editorial staff. Therefore a keen eye for detail and writing skills are necessary.
Starting a career as an editorial assistant is a very good way to learn the workings of the whole editorial department and the roles performed within it. Most members of the editorial team, and certainly those in senior positions, are likely to have started their careers as editorial assistants.
Editorial assistants working for smaller companies or publications will tend to be given more responsibility. In this sense, small publications are an extremely good place to start working.
The industry is extremely competitive and who you know is often more important than what you know, so making a good impression, working hard and being permanently friendly and polite will undoubtedly increase chances of career progression.