How to Become a Proofreader in 6 Simple Steps
If you want to become a proofreader on your own, you will be a freelance proofreader. Freelancers find work in different ways. For example, you can network on LinkedIn (highly recommend). You can set up a freelance service website (also a good idea) to showcase your skills and gain new clients. May 04, †Ј If youТre looking to get started as a proofreader and you donТt have an English degree, I highly recommend either of PyleТs Proofread Anywhere courses. How to Qualify to Be a Proofreader. One important aspect of landing proofreading work, especially if you want to be hired by a company rather than freelance clients, is the editing test.
INSIDE: Proofreading jobs are one of the easiest ways to earn money from home if you enjoy correcting grammatical errors. Are you quick to pick up grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in the things you read? Do you know where to insert commas and where to leave them out?
If you answered a resounding yes to these questions, you might be a candidate for a great proofreading job. Many people want more information about this type of gig because they have a solid command of the language and know how to recognize punctuation errors. Do you remember learning about the writing process back in high school English classes?
When you write something with the intent of publishing it, you move through five distinct phases. Proofreading is the final step in the editing part of the process. This final step includes looking for and correcting typographical mistakes, grammatical errors and style preferences.
Anyone who produces content may have a need for a proofreader. This includes bloggers, small businesses, and large companies. Though some people and companies choose to do their own proofreading, many bring in help for this phase of the process.
They want to ensure everything they publish has a second set of eyes on it to ensure it is error-free. When working as a freelance proofreader, you may be asked to proofread anything from social media updates to emails and blog posts to books.
Many proofreaders choose to focus on one main type of content. Examples include:. You may also choose to work with a specific type of client, providing all of their proofreading needs.
Your client focus could be:. In addition to basic proofreading, you may be interested in copy editing. This type of editing is more in-depth. Copy editors often suggest larger changes to a draft or manuscript.
These recommendations go beyond grammar and punctuation, and they deal with things such as clarity, consistency, and brevity. Copy editors might specialize in a particular type of work such as self-published authors of any genre or in a particular field or industry such as technical manuals for software companies.
Copy editing typically happens before proofreading, which serves as a final check before publication. Many of these will be covered in more detail further down in the post. Freelance proofreading jobs often provide flexibility. That means you may be able to proofread as a side-hustle in addition to your regular 9-to-5 job. It can also be a great fit for moms who are trying to earn some income while staying home with their kids.
There are people making money by proofreading on other devices, such as a laptop or tablet. Technological advances have made it incredibly easy to share files around the world.
So freelance proofreading is a viable option if you live in a small town or out in the boonies. As an added bonus, online proofreading work is plentiful. Tons of content creators are looking for people to polish their work. As with many online jobs, proofreading pay rates run the gamut from very little to very lucrative.
Proofreading tends to pay less than freelance writing jobs. The number can be higher or lower depending on your specialty and experience. As mentioned above, flexibility is one of the biggest perks of proofreading. As you gain experience, you will naturally become faster, which helps increase the amount you can earn.
The other caveat to the flexibility of proofreading is that, depending on the type of clients you have, you might need to turn your projects around quickly. You might receive a document to proofread and have to return it the next day, for example.
Being able to manage your time well is essential, even for flexible work such as proofreading. In addition to being able to manage your time well, you need some specific skills to succeed as a proofreader. Qualified proofreaders need a great vocabulary and top-notch grammar skills. You also need to know proper comma usage, subject-verb agreement, and standard proofreading marks, for example.
Some employers require freelance proofreaders to have a college degree. Others simply want proofreading experience. To work for a large content producer or news-centric website, you may need more advanced skills. Many professional organizations and content mills follow AP Stylebook guidelines. The Chicago Manual of Style is another popular style manual being used by many digital publications.
If you want to proof academic papers for students, in some instances you need to use the MLA Style Manual. Proofreading is one of the great online jobs that can be done from just about anywhere and on just about any device. Work on your tabletif you like. A few proofreading tools may make your life easier, however. There are several ways to search for proofreading work, and the way you pick should be determined by the type of work you want to do. Here are some common search terms and keywords you can use to find editing jobs and companies:.
How to play moonlight sonata part 5 bulk of your interview process will involve proving your proofreading skill by taking editing tests. You may be given a small sample and asked to proof it. This type of work is very much performance-based. The best way is with your testimonials from happy clients. FlexJobs is an online job board that lists only researched telecommute positions. What you do need are testimonials.
Caitlin Pyle of Proofread Anywhere has two very popular proofreading courses that can help you get started creating your own successful business. The General Proofreading Theory and Practice course is a great place to start. It helps you turn your proofreading abilities into cash. While the first course is great for general how to update from 10.6.8 to 10.7 jobs, this one is more specialized.
Transcripts are a written version of content that was originally produced in another medium. A transcript proofreader reads the transcript and proofs it. Because of specialized language, transcription services require more in-depth training.
This helps prepare you for the actual job of a transcription proofreader. There are other exams throughout the course, along with worksheets, handouts, videos, tutorials, and text.
Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice is broken down into four what is a tlh hysterectomy. You are required to score a certain amount on each level before moving on.
One important aspect of landing proofreading work, especially if you want to be hired by a company rather than freelance clients, is the editing test. Pretty much any legitimate company hiring proofreaders will have an editing test if not several tests that potential new hires need to pass.
You can learn much of it by getting a copy of each manual and finding free training online. The Purdue Online Writing Lab is a great place to get started. Once you feel like you have a good grip on a particular style, you can add it to your resume. If you want to try your hand at a sample test before you take one for a potential client, here are some options:.
These courses are a great investment to help you build your proofreading business. Angie Nelson began working from home in when she took her future into her own hands and found a way to escape the corporate cubicle farm. Today she balances several successful online ventures and loves to share her passion for home business with others. Angie Nelson began working from home in when she figured out how to take her future into her own hands and escape the corporate cubicle farm.
Thank you so much for the work you do and share with the world. Definitely an excellent idea to keep your skill set fresh. Maybe you could add the Purdue OWL link to this article? Thanks for mentioning ProofreadingPal. What Is Proofreading? Writers how to remove and replace keys on a laptop already finished the prewriting stage with brainstorming sessions and research.
The content and structure have been developed during the writing or drafting phase. Then the content has been revised and any major errors in organization or flow have been corrected with the editor.
Now the piece is ready for copy editing. Proofreading is the final stage. What is Proofreading? Examples include: Student essays Court transcripts Online articles and blog posts Legal transcription Medical transcription Self-published novels User manuals Restaurant menus Press releases Newsletters You may also choose to work with a specific type of client, providing all of their proofreading needs.
What Tools Do You Need? Google Docs Many online proofreading jobs are done via Google Docs, which allows for a markup procedure and the ability to add comments to an original document. Documents can also be what is the scientific name for seaweed easily online. Dropbox is another great option for sharing documents with clients who prefer to use Microsoft Word or another word processor.
Grammarly is a fabulous proofreading tool for spotting grammar and spelling mistakes.
How to Become a Proofreader from Home
I recommend you spend some time thinking about which client types you want to work with, what their requirements are, which media they work in, and which courses will fit best. For example, if you want to proofread for publishers, you'll likely be annotating designed page proofs.
This article is a quick-start guide that shows you how to become a proofreader Ч including some important tips on how to be a good one.
Proofreading is an essential part of turning out good writing, no matter the subject matter or genre. A copyeditor makes changes that improve the accuracy and readability of the text, so that all of the information is factual and the writing style is pleasing to readers.
That stated, some clients are unwilling to hire both a proofreader and a copyeditor and will rely on you to do some copyediting work as well. So be sure to understand the expectations a client has. It can be hard for the writer of a text to spot mistakes in their own writing, so a second set of eyes is required.
In some cases, a writer may simply not have the time to proof their own work and will need to hire outside help to handle the task. A good proofreader has an eye for small mistakes that most people would pass over, plus a complete grasp of the English language including spelling, grammar and punctuation. There are proofreading software programs out there, but none of them can catch everything because the English language and the various rules and standards around it are so numerous and complex.
The good news is that becoming a proofreader is easier than you might think. Maybe you have an English degree, edited corporate documents in your day job, or served as the editor for your high school or college newspaper or yearbook. All of these are perfectly sufficient for getting an entry-level work. So in cases like this, you need to drill down a little deeper. Do these examples seem like a stretch? Maybe, but keep in mind that you only need to sell yourself this way to your first couple of clients.
Key Takeaway : Link your background to your ability to be an effective proofreader Ч even if that requires thinking creatively about your skills and experience. Clients want to work with real people, whose real names they know, and who have active online profiles.
So at the base level, just give up on the idea that you can do this work anonymously. For most people, that means making changes to your online profiles to highlight the strengths and selling points you identified in Step 1.
The most important of these are style guides, which set specific rules for usage and punctuation within fields and industries. As a proofreader, your job is to obsess over details. Take a deep breath! You just need to understand the kinds of things to look up. You can also find the answers to many common questions Ч but not all of them Ч online. You should get to know each well enough to decide which you prefer to work in.
Key Takeaway : Follow the major style guides on Twitter and Facebook, and pay attention to announcements and changes.
In Step 1, we talked about identifying the parts of your background that will make you attractive as a proofreader Ч the skills and experience that show clients you can be trusted to correct their grammar and punctuation.
But when it comes to finding actual proofreading jobs, you want to circle back to your prior work history. Because while your experience as a nurse is irrelevant when it comes to your proofreading ability, it makes you dramatically more attractive to clients who have health and wellness content that needs to be checked.
So the key is to think about where you can add value compared to other proofreaders, and then align your job search accordingly. If you have a nursing background but spend time targeting proofreading jobs in the personal finance niche, you will:. Key Takeaway : Targeting niches where you have domain expertise can help you overcome a lack of proofreading experience.
If your first project garners a poor review, your proofreading career can be over before it begins. But your first two or three are the only things people will see Ч so they have to be good. Before accepting a project, look at the feedback the client has left for others.
Are they overly critical? Do they leave nasty reviews? And look for feedback on the client from other freelancers. Does the client fail to clearly communicate what they want? Are they difficult to get in touch with?
As discussed above, your ability to make money as a proofreader is largely dependent on the success of your first project. That first client can leave you glowing feedback and refer you to others, or they can be brutally honest about the flaws in the work you deliver. Everyone makes mistakes in their job Ч even when their job is catching mistakes! But your first project has to be absolutely perfect. Read it 10 times before submitting it to the client. Do whatever it takes to make sure there is nothing that can be criticized.
But you do have to be perfect on this project. Like any online job , there are some tricks of the trade that will help you improve your proofing skills and land more work.
The vast majority of your proofing will be done on a computer, and you should do multiple read-throughs of every project. But the final read should be done the old fashioned way. Print out every word of your project on paper and proof it with a red pen. Even if a project is fairly small and straightforward, and you can turn it around in a single day, always stretch it to at least two days. When you read something twice in a row, your brain will start anticipating the next words and that anticipation can cause you to gloss over mistakes.
To avoid this, do your first and last read on two different days. The first read of a project should be in the order the text was written.
But one of your reads should be from the bottom up, starting with the beginning of the last paragraph and moving in reverse order. If you try to do too much in a single sitting or in one day, your accuracy will decline as your brain becomes fatigued. Monitor yourself closely until you can pinpoint at how many words your accuracy starts to falter, and make that number your cut-off point for that sitting or that day.
Every good proofreader has a tool bag that should include the following items, most of which are free or relatively inexpensive. There are still a few holdouts who use Microsoft Word rather than Google Docs. Word is more complicated, but has a fuller set of proofing features, such as Track Changes Ч an editing option that allows you to keep track of revisions made to the original document.
Grammarly Premium is an online app, available by monthly or annual subscription, that automatically scans documents for the kinds of mistakes a proofreader is looking for. It really is indispensable for this kind of work and worth every penny. The Hemmingway App works on that principle. It can help you shorten unnecessary passages and revise language that makes a text unnecessarily difficult to read. While the app is more of a copyediting app than a proofreading one, it will be useful if you have clients that expect you to do some copyediting as well.
Whether you want to work part-time or full-time, there are scores of proofreading jobs available Ч and most of them are work-from-home jobs with schedule flexibility. Upwork is the biggest freelancing site out there. It has posts for thousands of jobs, including plenty of proofreading jobs. You can see feedback on the clients, as well as feedback they have left, so you can get a sense of how good or bad a client will be to work with.
Related : I wrote an in-depth article about getting your first job on Upwork. On Fiverr, the clients come to you. Additionally, the pay for projects on Fiverr is typically a bit less than on Upwork. Note : Learn more about the site and how it works in our detailed FlexJobs review. Content agencies hire for all manner of jobs, including proofreading, editing and writing. An agency does the legwork for clients who need people to fill these positions, typically on a project-by-project basis.
Caitlin Pyle has been earning money as a proofreader since She now teaches others how to start their own proofreading business from home as the founder of Proofread Anywhere. I talked to Caitlin about how she first got started, what types of clients she enjoys working with, good skills to have as a proofreader and more.
Pyle : I started proofreading back in college! While I was a communications major, I studied abroad in Germany, and students there would ask me to help them proofread their essays.
Then when I started working for a court reporting agency after I graduated, court reporters asked me to look over their transcripts to make sure they were free of grammar errors. I am glad you asked me this! Because it is so important to find a niche to proofread in. Even though I started proofreading for college students, when I got to work with transcripts, I realized I had found an area I really liked and could do well in.
So I focused all my energy on transcripts. But once you find your niche , really learn how to hone your skills to that particular subject. Are you interested in medical writing?
Learn medical terminology. Want to proofread for financial bloggers? Study financial lingo. You get the idea. Pyle : I got my first consistent clients while I was working for the court reporting agency. I kept those clients on as I got started on my own proofreading business in My proofreading business kept growing from there Ч so much so that I could make a full-time income working anywhere I wanted. TWTW : What type of personality traits or inherent skills do successful proofreaders tend to have?
Pyle : You need to have a natural knack for spotting grammar errors and typos. You must be attentive. Proofreading is all about focusing on details.