Preparing a copyeditor’s résumé: Adding relevant information

by | Sep 29, 2023 | Miscellaneous

When you compare the number of people looking for copyediting jobs and the number of available jobs, it is evident that it is an unfair competition. When applying for that elusive copyediting role you desire, you must remember that your competitors might also have similar qualifications. You must emphasize your most relevant skills and highlight accomplishments that will set you apart and help you emerge as a winner amongst people who are just as eligible as you for the role. Write with caution about every piece of information you add in your résumé.

The previous blog post showed you how to prepare a clean and professionally formatted résumé. In this post, we will focus on the information that you will have to provide or avoid in your résumé.

A résumé is not a place where you showcase all your talents. Be picky about which skills, accomplishments, and hobbies you include based on the role you are applying for.

Objective statement

The objective statement is usually ladened with so many adjectives, such as dynamic, result-oriented, self-motivated, and a hundred others. More than anyone else, you as a copyeditor know that each adjective has a meaning. Therefore, you should exercise care to not add adjectives because they look cool. Only add those that define you. Even in this case, limit your adjectives to two (yes, this could be my personal preference). And learn which ones you should avoid. Here is an example:

A novice copyeditor with experience in editing STEM journal articles looking for a role that provides an opportunity to edit HSS books. A quick learner who knows how to use style guides effectively.

Personal data

Avoid adding demographic and personal information beyond your name and contact details in your résumé. Information such as your marital status, number of children, and passport number is unnecessary, and your employer does not need to know these details, at least at the initial stages. When there is an onshore opportunity, your employer will ask for your passport number! And you don’t get a special bonus if you have two children instead of one.

Personal information, such as religious beliefs and caste details, is an absolute no-no. Remember, you are not providing census information!

Your achievements, skills, and hobbies

Other common page fillers that make your résumé look less professional are adding less-relevant or irrelevant achievements/skills/hobbies. For example, consider these cases:

  • A detailed description of your project from college may be relevant if it was published in a journal with a high impact factor. If it is a run-of-the-mill project, don’t bother to include it.
  • Being a winner at a school-level oratory competition on one occasion might have been a significant achievement at that time, but your current job might not need that information. But if your essays were a winner on many occasions, you can flaunt it as proof of your writing skill.

Unless you are applying for a job that requires you to have a good ear for music, listing “listening to music” as a hobby may not evoke the emotion you expected. (By the way, it is “listening to music”, not “listening music”.)

Make the connection obvious

If you choose to include an achievement or a hobby, relate it to your role. For example, you may say, “I wrote prize-winning essays in school and college, which helped me become a better writer and later a good editor.”

If reading is your hobby (which is directly relevant to copyediting), add how reading helps you in copyediting. Showing the connection is important.

Such a connection can be made even for seemingly unrelated hobby/work pairs: for example, drawing a mandala needs focus and meticulous execution, which is needed for copyediting as well. Sometimes, copyediting is about doing mundane tasks!

Even the most relevant hobbies or interests should only take up a couple of lines on your résumé, and anything more will only undermine your application. Just as you would string only carefully chosen beads to make an ornament, remember to meticulously add the required information to make an extraordinary résumé.

The crux of your résumé

The crux of the résumé is your accomplishments — your previous roles, responsibilities, and the kind of knowledge it has enriched you with.

List your most recent work experience first, with less recent job titles below. Listing your work experience reverse chronologically on your résumé shows hiring managers how far you have come in your career and lets them see how your skills have evolved over time. While your résumé cannot time-travel, it does allow you to transport hiring managers to your past experiences. It’s like having a magic carpet to take the recruiter to different periods of time.

Don’t assume anything while you use copyediting jargon. For example, when listing your achievements, instead of just stating “Performed Level 2 editing”, explain more about the role and its expectations you are referring to. An effective way could be to write “Performed Level 2 editing with an eye for libelous language”. Particularly in the Indian typesetting industry, the responsibilities for such levels are blurred, and the definition for level 2 in one company might be level 3 in another and so on. Unless you explain in detail, your application might be misinterpreted, and the chances of a potential mismatch occurring between expectations and what you can offer become higher.

Consider adding specific skills that you have gained from each work experience that you have listed, such as using inclusive language or using plain English. Keep yourself updated with the latest trends and technologies in copyediting, from blogs to web articles, and tailor your résumé to highlight the specific skills you have acquired. Your résumé will stand out from the competition.

Also include details of your contribution to the role. Instead of just saying you “Contributed to AI development for an internal tool”, try adding “Contributed to sentence analysis for the AI development of an internal language tool”, which highlights your specific skillset. However, be cautious not to divulge too much, or you might be in trouble.

Use metrics. For example, information such as “In the last three years, I have increased my productivity and met my monthly targets 100% of the time” or “I increased my editing speed from editing 20 standard pages a day to editing 30 standard pages a day in 12 months” will help recruiters compare you objectively – and maybe favourably – against other candidates. Quantifying your résumé shows how you measurably improved your performance.

Your résumé: Your wingman in the job hunt

Think of your résumé as your trusty sidekick in the job-hunting adventure. It is there to help you save the day! With the right combination of words and experiences, it can summon job interviews faster than you can imagine.

Consolidating all the information from both blog posts, all you must do is remember to pay immaculate attention to the formatting and provide a concise overview of your accomplishments, highlighting the skills that match the job description. So, there you have it, your impressive résumé that is going to give you the chance to shine and demonstrate why you are the best fit for the job. All the best!

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