How to Become a Proofreader And Make a Living (5 Steps)

Are you looking for a new career that allows you to work from home? If so, you may want to consider becoming a proofreader.

Proofreading is a great way to make a living from home, and it’s a career that is in high demand. Many companies and individuals need proofreaders to help them ensure that their materials are error-free.

If you want to work as a proofreader, this guide will point you in the right direction. You’ll learn five important steps you must take to work in this industry.

So, if you’re ready? Let’s start with the basics.

What is a Proofreader?

If you are reading this post, I am pretty sure you know what a proofreader is.

But in case you’re confused, a proofreader is someone who reads content, manuscripts, and other texts for the purpose of detecting and fixing the following errors:

  • grammatical, spelling, formatting, and typographical errors.
  • incorrect/missed punctuation
  • Inconsistencies (textual and numerical)
  • clarity and phrasing of content.

Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process before printing or publication. As a result, it holds a significant position.

Depending on the job demand, proofreaders can perform heavy corrections as well as minor corrections. Some even do the editing themselves.

How to Become a Proofreader

If you’re determined to enter the field of proofreading but aren’t sure how to get started, I’ve outlined five key steps you should take.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if you already know the ins and outs of proofreading; working on each step will get you ready for the real world.

So, what are they? Let’s find out.

1. Get The Required Qualification

Consider yourself fortunate if you have a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or communications, as you will have the advantage of being able to advance in proofreading.

This is because proofreaders are fluent in English. They have a strong foundation in the English language, including grammar, spelling, and writing.

Having a bachelor’s degree means that you have already learned, trained, and excelled in the English language, making you the perfect fit for the job. It will also be an added advantage to your CV as well.

But what if you lack the necessary degree? Can you still work as a proofreader?

Of course! Just make sure you have at least a good grade in your English language GCSE or in written subjects.

You can also sign up for a proofreading course that will teach you the skills and techniques you need and give you a certificate when you finish.

If you want some recommendations, I highly recommend Proofread Anywhere or Knowadays’ “Becoming a Proofreader” course.

Both are highly rated courses that have helped many newbies in beginning their careers. Gladly, Proofread Anywhere also provides a free workshop to help you learn more about this profession.

Note:

  • You can also go for a master’s program in proofreading to further advance your career, which will raise your profile overall.
  • Some proofreading jobs require an advanced degree and/or relevant work experience. For example, Proofreaders of legal documents benefit from having a legal education and background. So, if you want to work in these fields, you should get the desired qualification.

2. Figure Out Your Niche

The next step is to decide where you want to work. If you want to advance in this career, you must first identify a niche and stick to it.

For example, you can proofread general texts like essays, blog posts, marketing material, press releases, or company reports under general proofreading. There are many job opportunities here, but the pay is average.

You can also work with traditional publishing houses by proofreading books and other published works.

Lastly, if you want to have higher-paying jobs, you can work in specialized areas such as legal, medical, science, or technical industries.

These areas require knowledge of the subject matter as well as formal education. So, if you decide to work in this niche, make sure you’re prepared.

3. Gain Experience & Hone Your Skills

Once you have the necessary qualifications and have chosen a niche, you should gain some experience before working for a client or company.

This will not only boost your confidence but will also speed up your proofreading, which is essential for proofreaders.

You can begin by proofreading anything you read online or offline, such as books, newspapers, blog posts, and so on. You can also find a lot of proofreading material online that you can proofread by setting a time limit.

While proofreading, look for typos, misspellings, grammar errors, and other proofreading errors as quickly as possible. Reading faster will also help you proofread more quickly.

Being a proofreader, familiarity with style guides such as the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Handbook, etc., is also crucial.

This is useful when working with clients who require final proofread content to be formatted in accordance with a particular style guide.

4. Create a Resume/CV

Before applying for any job, you must have a compelling CV that highlights all of your achievements, experience, and skills.

There is no problem if you know how to create one. However, if this is your first time writing a CV, don’t worry; there are plenty of templates available online that you can customize to fit your needs.

Another option is to have a professional write your resume for you. Pick whichever suits you.

While writing a CV, you can describe your experience as well as your educational background. Make sure you’ve listed all of your skills that will help you proofread different text documents.

This includes being able to work for longer periods of time, being able to focus well, and a lot more, which I will talk about in a bit.

Furthermore, your CV should be tailored to the job role for which you are applying. For example, if you want to proofread medical-related texts, make sure it highlights your medical knowledge and background. This will help you get more attention.

5. Apply for Jobs

Now, you are ready to apply for jobs. If you are a beginner, I strongly advise you to begin slowly. You can start by creating a profile and looking for clients on freelance platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork.

If you believe you are not getting enough jobs, you can take things a step further by joining job searching platforms that charge a monthly fee.

FlexJobs and Contena are two popular platforms with low monthly fees where you can find a wide range of freelance and full-time job opportunities.

Once you have gained enough experience, you can also apply for proofreading jobs in various proofreading online companies.

What Skills Does a Proofreader Possess?

If you believe that fixing errors is the only skill a proofreader requires, you are mistaken.

A skilled proofreader knows the importance of meeting tight deadlines without sacrificing quality. So, to accomplish the desired result, you will require specific skills.

Now, what are they? Let’s find out!

  • Excellent spelling and grammar knowledge.
  • Eagle eye: To find errors that are difficult to detect, you must have a keen eye. Even though editors have already corrected the majority of the errors, a few may remain. As a result, if you have an eagle eye, you can easily detect it.
  • A love for reading: The truth is, proofreading can be a dull job if you aren’t a voracious reader. That’s because spotting mistakes will require reading through multiple pages and paragraphs. As a result, if you aren’t a reader, this job probably isn’t for you.
  • Better concentration: If you cannot sit for long periods of time and are easily distracted by your surroundings, you will struggle to complete tasks on time. So, improved concentration will always help you in remaining focused.
  • Better time management: It’s not uncommon for proofreaders to be swamped with work, often at inconvenient hours. So, knowing how to manage your time so that you can complete your proofreading tasks on time will always be helpful.
  • Excellent communication: The best proofreaders can pinpoint exactly where a writer went wrong and express why it happened. It’s crucial to be able to convey errors to writers in a way that doesn’t make them feel defensive, as writing is often a deeply personal activity.

To learn more about skills, read my detailed post on what skills a Proofreader requires.

Final Thoughts:

Proofreading is a demanding job, and you need to be able to meet deadlines and keep up with the demands of your clients. If you have what it takes, then proofreading may just be the career for you

If you are still unsure, I highly recommend enrolling in Proofread Anywhere’s 76-minute workshop, which is completely FREE to join.

If you have any further questions, please leave them in the comments section. I will surely answer them.

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