Last September, we got the editorial assistants of some of Manila’s established publications together to share their experiences. After telling us about how much they’ve learned on the job, they imparted a few nuggets of wisdom for others who aspire to get their start in the publishing industry.
Here are 11 commandments that all budding editorial assistants can follow if they want to make the most out of their jobs.
I : Thou shalt learn how to make small talk.
That’s part of the job. You start talking, and you make connections. When you make friends within the industry, your job is gonna be easier. So when you need an interview, it’s gonna be so much easier. Or when you need press kits and you’ve already made connections, you’ve already made friends with them. — Steph Sison, Preview.ph
II: Thou shalt always act professional.
When you go to events, you’re gonna meet a lot of important people like celebrities. But you always have to be prepared. You have to prepare questions so you can have content for your stories, and then fangirl after you get the work done. A lot of the times, you’re gonna be starstruck because you’re gonna interview a lot of industry people. Not even just celebrities — even writers you admire. You can’t ask for a signature or an autograph. Be professional. You’re there for work, so that comes first all the time. — Janelle Yau, Candymag.com
III: Thou shalt know how to troubleshoot
Cramming happens. Kunyari you get an idea for a shoot last minute, so you book the photographer last minute. So it’s not really all your fault. If you feel like you’re gonna fail on something, just remember that it’s not always your fault. Sometimes it’s the whole team na na-delay. — Alyana Cabral, CNN Philippines Life
IV: Thou shalt read.
Read. That’s something I regret, not being a big reader. Ironic, because now I work for a very literary magazine. I wish I had read more. But at this point, I would be better-read. If you’re looking into it, you have to consume not just magazines, but books too. Look at them. See what makes them. A lot of the job is something that you learn on the fly. — Miguel Escobar, Esquire Philippines
VII. Thou shalt be meticulous.
You have to be meticulous with everything because you never know what you’re going to leave out. You never know what you’re going to forget. — Miguel Escobar
VIII. Thou shalt take care of yourself.
Our work can be so physical. Let’s not romanticize tiredness because it’s not something to romanticize. Take care of yourself and get as much sleep as possible. — Yanna Lopez
IX. Thou shalt be brave.
Number one, don’t be afraid ‘cause you’re not gonna die. Just go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? Second is, find like-minded people. If you’re starting out, the people on your team are most likely older than you. Like really accept going to events and field work where you can meet people who you can relate to. And I’m not sure if I read it from Neil Gaiman, but I always remember this advice every time. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pretend that you do, and you’ll eventually get it. — Alyana Cabral
X. Thou shalt not be afraid of change and take every opportunity to learn.
Just go for it. I also think that you should surround yourself with really good mentors because they’re the ones who’ll guide you and also keep you grounded. Also, don’t be afraid of change because the digital world is never stable, it’s always changing. So just embrace it. — Janelle Yau
XI. Thou shalt be humble.
When you have articles that people appreciate, you appreciate the appreciation, but it has to end there. You have to always be humble when you write. When you write, you always have to have a sense of purpose, of humility. When you write a feature, it’s not about you. It’s about the person being featured. — Andre Orandain, Pepper.ph