Qualification to be an editor: um, I like reading?

A year ago, I was at the point that I was having to turn down editing projects because I simply didn’t have the time to take on anything else. Rather than turn away work, I thought it would make sense, financially and professionally, to start outsourcing certain projects. I advertised on various email lists in Israel, and I was stunned to receive in my Inbox no less than 100 resumes. I don’t believe that my list of requirements was too unreasonable: I required an English-language editor with a strong background in Jewish studies, and at least three years’ experience in the field. My first thought was, “Wow, there are THIS many English-language editors with over three years’ experience in editing in Israel?” It struck me as I read through some of the resumes that many applicants (erroneously) thought they were suitable for the job simply because, “I have always loved reading,” “When I worked as a medical secretary, I would often have to read and write letters,” “As part of my job as a sales assistant, I had to write out orders”…. you get my drift.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that you can’t study editing in university – there is no degree in the subject – and sometimes you either have it, or you don’t. I certainly didn’t enter the profession with any particular qualification in editing, and sometimes it is just a case of possessing a sharp eye. However, I would never dare apply for a profession that is so clearly beyond my capabilities. You would never catch me applying for a job as a web designer because websites are made up of words, or a job in psychology because I deal with difficult clients on a daily basis.

You can’t blame them for trying, but still… you might want to consider whether you actually fulfill any of the requirements before applying for a job. I’m just saying…

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