Creating a stand out Editorial Assistant Application!

Jobs in editorial are highly popular and sought after. It makes it that much more challenging in writing an application which stands out when you are applying for an entry-level role in editorial as an Editorial Assistant, an intern, a trainee or for work experience. Drawing on the Inspired Selection team’s knowledge of the publishing world, we have compiled some top tips on how to help entry-level job seekers make their application stand out.

  • Whilst this is being relayed a lot more now, it is always worth showing why being an editorial assistant is important to you, beyond just saying that you enjoy reading and have a passion for books. Try mentioning any workshops, courses, blogs, articles or work experience you have proactively found and done.


  • Being an editorial assistant actually involves a lot of administration and managing many projects such as making sure the books and their materials stay on schedule as well as managing the inbox when submissions come in and liaising with rights, production and other departments. If you have any office experience or had provided administrative support for a management team of any kind before, make sure to highlight that in your cover letter too.


  • The same goes for any customer-facing experience – communication skills are very important! The editorial assistant will be involved in communicating with people at all levels from authors, editors and designers. One soft skill often sought out for an editorial assistant is being able to navigate different and sometimes difficult situations and to maintain good relationships. Be sure to bring up any transferable skills from when you have been in charge of customer/client management (e.g. being front of house, strong phone manner, retail experience etc.)


  • Write your CV and cover letter, read it and then read again. Walk away. Have a cup of tea. Then read it again. It is key that you check for mistakes such as misspellings, formatting oversights or grammar errors as an attention to detail is always something publishers are looking for, particularly with editorial roles.


  • To really gain an edge, aim to build your general contextual knowledge of the publishing industry and its performance. You can do this through many means: subscribing to newsletters of publishers or book trade news-sites, keeping up to date on bestseller lists, following publishing companies’ social media accounts or even visiting bookstores regularly to see what’s selling. Get to know the importance of awards and prizes such as the Booker Prize Award as well as events like the London Book Festival. They might feature on the covers of books and give you an idea of what drives interest and sales. See if your desired company has won any awards and research their significance!


  • Try to mirror the language on the ‘About Us’ pages of publishers’ websites, their mission statements and on their job descriptions. Not only will this show your research but also give you an idea of the company’s values and goals.


  • Researching the division or imprint as well as the publisher itself is also essential for your application. It helps to prove your interest in the specific books and/or authors the division publishes. In the end, doing this research will not only benefit your application but also help you gain a better idea of exactly which sort of books you would like to work on. Bearing this in mind will also help you to tailor your application if you are looking for a role in other sectors of publishing – remember to show your interest in that specific sector and the types of books they produce. Furthermore, keep in mind that publishers are looking for editorial assistants to help draw more attention to their authors and their books, helping them to push their company’s brand and values forward and up in the market and distinguishing it in the process. Pushing for and presenting evidence of wanting to bring in more diverse voices to allow for yet unheard narratives will help make your application stand out as it would further advance the diversification of the publishing industry but also the literary landscape, developing the publishers’ own values and bolstering the book selection available for everyone out there!


Proofreading, editing, writing are all great skills to mention in your application but there is more to the editorial assistant than meets the eye, asking for a skillset which can come from a range of professions and work experiences as well as from a passion for reading.

We hope that this will help you further with putting together a stand out application and help you secure your dream role! Don’t forget to check out our Jobs Page to start applying for roles now, and do sign up to our Vacancy Update Service to keep up to date on our latest positions!