Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Stepping Up the Editorial Ladder

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Stepping Up the Editorial Ladder

Article excerpt

IF YOU ARE an editorial assistant, assistant editor, associate editor or a managing editor, how can you move up the editorial ladder?

You cannot leave your professional advancement to luck, even though serendipity helps now and then. More often than not, getting noticed and getting promoted require a little luck and a great deal of putting technical, business and communication skills into action. You need these skills to advance in and outside of your current company.

Consider these 17 ideas on how you can gain valuable experience, pay some dues, and ultimately move up the editorial ladder.

1. Set short-term and long-term professional goals. Deciding what to do and where to go professionally is pointless if you do not know what you want.

2. Do your job. Setting goals is inspirational, holding on to high personal expectations is uplifting, too, and knowing where you want to be professionally in a few years is motivating. Nevertheless, you build the strongest foundation for advancement one brick at a time. Hour by hour and day to day, no matter what happens at work, do your current job as best you can.

Steer clear of office gossip. Do not bad-mouth the company and its people. Do not whine. When you need to "get tough," be assertive, not aggressive. Remember two important ideas: First, you were hired to do one thing and one thing only -- your job. Second, doing that job is assignment number one.

3. Hone your editing and writing skills. Your job title has something to do with "editor," so put first things first. Let your writing and editing skills shine.

4. Get to know intimately the instrument with which your company determines revenue and expenses. The most accurate, realistic accounting can help your company adjust priorities. It can help you identify areas in which cuts can be made if necessary with the least upheaval, and it can help you discover untapped market areas.

If your company has an accounting department or a controller, ask colleagues in these areas for help in better understanding your publication's accounting. Do not step on toes by trying to do someone else's job. Just listen, learn, and ask questions. Make sure your immediate supervisor knows what you are doing and why.

5. Seek more responsibility, but start small. Volunteer when opportunities arise. For instance, offer to write a hard-to-get article -- a roundup or an interview, perhaps. The work keeps you honing those editorial skills and you help your publication in a special way.

6. Examine your printing practices and contracts. You might discover ways to lower costs while increasing or at least maintaining quality.

7. Tour your printing facility. Learn how your publication is printed so that you better understand the options that those who are responsible for these decisions have to make. Understanding the printing process is key to making smart decisions in the future, when you will make the decisions.

8. Improve your personal computer skills. Using a PC these days is essential, so make it an advantage, not an impediment.

9. Similarly, learn page makeup on a computer system. You cannot someday effectively supervise people who do this work if you have no idea what they do day in and day out.

10. Get an education in other areas of production. Experience is the best teacher. Take pictures for your publication. …

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