3 Tips for Tackling Your First Edit Test

If you’re applying for a job in media, you will probably be faced with an edit test at some point. Here’s how to handle it.

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Take it from your resident unemployed journalism major — applying for media jobs is equal parts exciting and completely intimidating…especially when you get offered your first edit test.

Now, if you haven’t gotten that far in your employment search quite yet here is the low down: edit tests are a publication’s way of test driving you before they proceed with an interview or the next step in their application process. Basically, it is step one in the process for anyone searching to write, edit, etc. professionally.

I’m not going to lie: This step can be intimidating, especially if it’s with a publication you deeply admire. But, it doesn’t have to be if you are prepared and know what to expect.

Read on for the 3 tips you should know before tackling your first edit test:

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1. Do Your Research

Read the job description thoroughly.

Are there things you don’t know how to do? Do you need to brush up on some skills? Are they asking you to be well versed in a topic that is foreign to you?

Fear not! Though you may not be strong in all aspects of the job description, that doesn’t mean you won’t flourish in the position or on the edit test. Research the topics they’re asking you to write about, practice the edit marks, and educate yourself on the skills you may not be so strong in.

A little research goes a long way, so take your time and make sure you are setting yourself up to do the best job possible.

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2. Familiarize Yourself with the Styles

Whether you’re acting as a copywriter, a columnist, or a social media guru, your writing style has to be easily adaptable to the brand or the publication.

Regardless of the style they follow (MLA, APA, etc.) each publication has cornered the market with their own unique “voice.” Though employers are always looking for someone who can bring their own uniqueness to the table, they are also looking to see if you can easily mimic and adapt to their sound.

Being easily adaptable makes you an important player on any application or edit test!

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3. Use Your Time Wisely

No matter if you’re given two hours or two days, each edit test you preform will have a certain deadline.

Now, this is something that can really trip people (um, me) up. If you’re given too little time, you’re prone to rushing through, but if you’re given too much time, it’s easy to question every move you make and overthink to the point that you drive yourself crazy.

My best advice: Take a deep breath and tackle what you know you are great at. And, for the things you aren’t so great at, just make sure you do them correctly. Spell check everything, make sure you are meeting all of the criteria, and showcase your originality.

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Edit tests are intimidating, but they don’t have to be! Take a deep breath and repeat your positive mantra.


I want to hear from you in the comments below!

Have you completed an edit test? What criteria did you have to meet? Did you learn something new? What advice would you give to someone tackling their first edit test?

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