Advice for a successful application to the Advanced Program in Editing and Content Management
Strong applicants to the Advanced Program in Editing and Content Management come to us from a variety of backgrounds, having experience in everything from school paper production and peer editing to research projects and book publishing.
A solid sports background is certainly key, as is some proofreading prowess. But while we’ll need to see that eye for detail and grammar know-how, we’re also interested in the wide range of tools you’ve picked up in college and sharpened in the real world. So we’re happy to see well-rounded résumés that show hard work, ingenuity and comfort with online media. More specifically, we’re looking for:
- An editing track record—in or out of school
- The ability to identify and correct typos; factual grammatical and punctuation errors; and deviations from style
- A feel for what is required to constitute a well-supported argument
- An understanding of the importance of sourcing and attribution
- The willingness to learn, reference stylebooks, apply feedback and collaborate
- A sense for visually appealing formatting and layout
- Facility with the technical aspects of digital publishing
- A keen attention to the nitty-gritty—balanced with excellent time management
- Knowledge about specific sports and teams
Any candidate who progresses through our admissions process will be asked to provide us with a few different supporting materials—and by that we mean to say there will be things like résumé requests and editing tests, but we emphasize the word different to underscore our hunt for individuality, special skill sets and untapped potential.
Meanwhile, these tips should apply to all stages of application across the board:
Take your time: Quick turnarounds are part of a digital editor’s daily life, but you should take the time necessary to produce a polished application. Read carefully, follow our directions and double-check everything you send our way. Proofread everything. You’re applying to an editing program, so we need to see tidy, top-notch emails. Make sure you’re addressing your message to the right people, clean up stray marks and catch any misspellings before you hit “send.”
Reference resources: This goes hand in hand with the first hint. Look things up! Consult a dictionary, thumb through your AP Stylebook, confirm grammar rules, check spellings and dates. Do all this before you hit “send,” and you’ll not only be getting a clean application in front of our admissions team but also showcasing your knack for fact-finding.
Provide a fully representative résumé: Have you done prior copy editing work in some capacity? Do you have experience with a CMS, SEO, AP style, photo/video production? Let us know. Make sure to list these tidbits so we’re getting the full picture of your skill set. In journalism’s changing landscape, roles are in flux and editorial positions are always expanding, so don’t sell yourself short because you think some of your editorial experience doesn’t fit.
Include a writing sample: A writing sample is optional, but if you have something appropriate to share, don’t be shy! A well-produced clip or undergrad essay can be a nice complement to your other supporting materials.
Ask if you’re unsure: We try to make the application process as straightforward as possible, but if you find you’re unclear about something, we welcome any questions.
Be professional and persistent: A professional attitude is required, and we’ll look favorably upon more formal rather than more casual communications. The program itself maintains a relaxed training dialogue, but do what you can to show you’re serious about your application. We also encourage you to try, try again. The APECM is very competitive, so you may not receive an offer of admission your first time out, but we’ll urge you to shore up your weaker points and take another crack at the process after a few months of practice and reflection.
We know it can be tough to stand out as a top candidate when it comes to a discipline like editing, which calls for some standardized proficiencies. But if you do your best to accomplish and demonstrate as many of the above as possible, you should have a leg up on the competition. Best of luck!