Editorial Freelancer's Skill Set

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What are the skills I need as a copy editor?

Editorial Freelancer's Skill Set

Editorial freelancers need more than just a love of words to get work -- although that helps. Here are some skills to look for when you're hiring and build up when you're job-hunting:

  • Microsoft Word (including the Reviewing and Track Changes functions, which are standard copy editing tools)
  • XML and HTML for Web-based editing assignments
  • Knowledge of various styles including AP, APA and Chicago Manual
  • Wide general knowledge
  • Expertise in specialized content areas
  • Advanced knowledge of English grammar and spelling (some knowledge of languages other than English is helpful as well)
  • Publishing programs such as Microsoft Publisher, Quark Xpress, PageMaker, Adobe InDesign
  • Web publishing programs (Macromedia Dreamweaver is probably the most popular)
  • Web content management systems (these can range from arcane proprietary systems at large companies to simple wiki or blogging software)
  • Libel and other legal issues that may come up in the publishing field. If it has been a while since you reviewed this material, a refresher book or course may be in order, as legal issues have changed a great deal with the rise of Internet publishing.



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Susan Sayour