Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
My parents were both editors and I have early memories of them marking my school papers with revision suggestions, teaching me the written proofreaders’ marks. After college, where I studied art history, I got a job as an assistant editor of a local arts and events website. There, I discovered my own love of editing and have been editing ever since.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I work in internal communications at a finance company, where I edit and write. Our content covers the business, company strategy, key initiatives and employee news. I have no finance background, but I joined the company in the marketing department. I learned a lot, but not enough to feel comfortable as a finance writer or editor. When a position opened in internal communications, I jumped at it because it was an editing/writing role that was more human focused than finance focused.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I edit and write articles for our intranet and provide communication consultation to other departments. And I help with a bit of everything my team handles, which includes internal social media, company-wide emails, screen savers, digital signs in offices and biannual all-employee events.
I block time on my calendar for solid chunks in which to edit or write. Otherwise, meetings pop up and I don’t get consistent time to concentrate. A typical day would be a few morning meetings, a couple editing projects, interviewing someone for an article, getting some writing done, posting something fun on Yammer and dealing with whatever emails pop up in between.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I’m on a small, tight-knit team who support each other. I like that I get broader experiences than just editing. I get to meet people and learn about parts of the business I would otherwise have no knowledge of. I love keeping up on language evolution and best practices. And, of course, my perfectionism loves finding all those little errors and correcting them.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
It can be hard to condense technical or complicated business news into interesting articles that appeal to all employees. I try to remember what it was like for me when I joined the company eight years ago, knowing nothing about the industry, and ask myself if someone in that position today could understand the content. If not, I try to simplify or add explanations so it is more accessible.
What are you currently working on?
The pace of my role moves quickly, so I’m always onto the next article. We just wrapped an all-employee event and are getting ready for the first anniversary of a large acquisition, so we are working on celebratory articles for that. Our company has more than 10,000 employees, all with a story to share. I’ve interviewed someone whose son plays in the NHL, someone who does wilderness search and rescue, and someone who was training for the Olympics.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Do informational interviews with other editors to learn what their jobs are like. Consider cross-over roles that include broader communications responsibilities to widen your skillset.