Personal Qualities Needed for a Magazine Editor

An innate attention to detail will help you excel in the editorial process.
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Working as a magazine editor allows you to exercise your creativity while immersing yourself in a field that interests you. Plus, this career can fit nicely into the modern mommy's repertoire if you can work it on a freelance basis. However, this sought-after job yields numerous applicants jockeying for the same position, putting you in the mix with recent college grads and laid off journalists. Familiarize yourself with the traits publishers desire and how to leverage your assets to ensure your resume lands on top of the pile. And in the event you score this job as a freelancer, the luxury of working in your jammies, nursing on your lunch break and Skyping during nap time may just make the going-back-to-work decision a no-brainer.

Innate Vision

    Magazine editors rarely do the writing but are the visionaries for the publication's content. Having a curiosity for your subject matter, combined specifically with an innate vision, keeps your content fresh and your publisher happy. This natural foresight helps you shape timelines and editorial calendars which act as guides for your writers. Make sure the magazine your applying for covers subject matter that excites you. Invigorating topics enhance this instinctive quality and allow it to show through in an interview.

Attention to Detail

    Editorial positions sometimes require the skills of a practiced designer. Matching compelling images to articles, spotting space issues and lining out ad placement all require a detailed eye. Additionally, identifying grammatical nuances and ensuring copy adheres to strict style guidelines is not for the hasty skimmer. If your brain approaches tasks with a fine tooth comb you'll excel as an editor. Publishers consider meticulousness a necessary skill for magazine layout. It ensures publication perfection and maximum readability.


    An editor needs to know her reader. This intrinsic understanding stimulates curiosity and sets the stage for the next best content. Being able to naturally appreciate the motivations and desires of your target audience assures you'll hit the mark. Furthermore, editors need to empathize with their writers since editing requires restructuring already-written content and mentoring freelancers. Knowing where your writers are coming from and strategically making changes to their work allows for a amicable relationship that fosters creativity.


    Sometimes magazine production doesn't flow smoothly. Deadlines change, articles get dropped and advertisers pull out. Last minute tweaks are always hiding around the corner. If you're easily adaptable and go with the flow, these mishaps occasionally give way to noteworthy standouts. Who knows -- changing an article in the eleventh hour might spark a surge of creativity, or a dropout advertiser may open up space for the underdog in waiting. Demonstrating adaptability sparks the interest of potential employers looking for someone to redirect production pitfalls.

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