8 simple steps to becoming a proofreader
Are you the type of person who is always quick to spot a misspelled word on TV or a grammatical error in the newspaper? If so, then you might have what it takes to go through the process of becoming a proofreader.
Currently, there are only about 10,000 proofreaders and copy markers working throughout the country in some capacity. But that number is expected to go up now that many companies are starting to advertise proofreading jobs.
It’s also expected to go up now that people have gotten used to working from home. A lot of them are going to want to keep working at remote jobs, which has led to a spike in the popularity of online proofreading positions.
You should take advantage of this by learning how to become a proofreader yourself. It could lead to you working at different proofreading jobs in the near future.
Here are eight simple steps that will help you turn yourself into a proofreader in no time at all.
1. Make Sure You’re Clear on What Proofreading Actually Is
Before you set out on your journey towards becoming a proofreader, it’s obviously going to be very important for you to have a clear understanding of what proofreading is. It’ll ensure that becoming a proofreader is actually what you want to do with your life.
Generally speaking, proofreaders are in charge of looking over any written content right before it’s published to make sure that it’s all grammatically correct. While reading over content, they’ll keep their eyes peeled for things like:
• Words that aren’t spelled correctly
• Missing periods, commas, etc.
• Misplaced modifiers
• And more!
Since a proofreader is often the last line of defense, you’re going to need to be very detail-oriented to do the job. You cannot let a single mistake get by you and make it to publication. All it takes is that one mistake to make it look like you haven’t done your job.
2. Obtain the Right Training for Becoming a Proofreader
Once you know what a proofreader is, the next thing you’ll want to do is figure out whether or not you have the qualifications to work as one. There is some formal training that is involved with becoming a proofreader.
Oftentimes, you’re going to need to hold a bachelor’s degree in English or a similar field to work as a proofreader. It’ll show that you know your grammar and that you’ll do a great job as a proofreader.
But depending on where you’re going to look for work, you might also be able to get away with not having a college degree to serve as a proofreader for a company. Taking a course for proofreaders and passing it with flying colors could be enough to show an employer that you have what it takes to be a proofreader for them.
3. Try to Pick Out a Specific Proofreading Niche
When you’re first cutting your teeth as a proofreader, you might be able to get away with working in a bunch of different niches. It’s a good way to see which fields you enjoy working in as a proofreader and which ones you don’t.
But as you begin to gain a little more experience as a proofreader, it’s a good idea for you to try and pick out a specific proofreading niche. For example, you might want to proofread education-related articles exclusively or specialize in proofreading court documents.
Whatever the case, you can make yourself a more attractive candidate to many employers by narrowing down your interests and working in a specific proofreading niche. It’ll take your proofreading expertise to the next level and make your skills more unique than the skills of the next proofreader.
4. Think About Who You Want to Work for as a Proofreader
Do you want to work for one particular employer as a proofreader? Or do you want to be a freelance proofreader and do work for a handful of different clients?
These are both fantastic options for those entering the proofreading field. But you should know about the differences between the two so that you’re able to set yourself up for long-term success through your preferred choice.
If you value job security and a steady paycheck, then you might want to try applying for jobs through employers that would be willing to bring you on as a full-time proofreader. If you value having the freedom to bounce around between different projects while coming up with your own schedule, then you might enjoy working as a freelance proofreader.
It’ll be up to you to decide which side of the fence you want to fall on. It’ll make it easier for you to go through the job application process while becoming a proofreader.
5. Come Up With a Pricing List for Your Proofreading Services
The average proofreader currently makes a little bit more than $50,000 per year. That’s about what you can expect to get when you’re working for one company exclusively while providing your proofreading services.
But if you’re going to take the freelance approach to becoming a proofreader, you’re going to be in charge of coming up with your own pricing list for your services. You’ll want to do your research on what other proofreaders in your specific niche are charging their clients for their services.
When you’re first getting your feet wet in the proofreading industry, you might be tempted to keep your prices on the lower side. But you should try to find out what you’re worth sooner rather than later so that you don’t ever sell yourself short.
6. Build Up a Portfolio of Your Proofreading Work
Prior to hiring you for a proofreading position, a company is likely going to ask you to take some kind of proofreading test. They’re going to want to make sure that you have the proofreading skills that they’re looking for in your back pocket.
They’re also likely going to ask you if they can see a portfolio of some of your past work. It’s why you’re going to want to begin to build this portfolio as soon as you start taking on proofreading assignments. Don’t be afraid to document everything that you do so that you can create a portfolio that will stand out in the crowd.
7. Find Ways to Market Your Proofreading Skills
As we mentioned back at the beginning, the proofreading field is going to be growing in the coming months and years. There will be more proofreaders out there than ever before once everything is all said and done.
This means that it’s going to be of the utmost importance for you to market your proofreading skills so that potential employers know that you exist. You shouldn’t be shy about showing off what you bring to the table in order to entice individuals and companies to hire you.
The first thing you should do when it comes to marketing yourself is set up a website that advertises you and your proofreading skills. You can send this site out to any employers who might be thinking about doing business with you.
You should also use the power of social media marketing and email marketing to your advantage. You can really sell other people on your proofreading skills by marketing yourself in the right way to the masses.
8. Go Above and Beyond When Providing Your Proofreading Services
In a perfect world, you’ll do everything that we’ve talked about here and start to generate interest in your proofreading skills in no time. You’ll have clients banging down your front door asking you to proofread for them.
It’ll be great! But it’ll also be a little bit nerve-racking since you’ll have to make sure that you “wow!” your clients to keep them coming back to you again and again.
You should be sure that you blow your clients away by doing these things:
• Sticking to the deadlines that clients give to you
• Following the instructions that clients provide for you
• Communicating with your clients early and often about their needs
When you go the extra mile for your clients, they’ll appreciate it a lot. They’ll remember this the next time that they need to hire a proofreader for a job. It’ll help you get the ball rolling and make becoming a proofreader a reality for you.
You Can Become a Proofreader and Lead a More Fulfilling Life From Now On
If you’ve always dreamed about working as a proofreader, what are you waiting for? There has never been a better time for people to throw their hats into the ring and become proofreaders.
Work your way through the steps listed here while becoming a proofreader and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. You’ll be getting work thrown your way within just a few weeks so that you can show off what you’re able to do. It’ll be a welcomed career change for many people.
Are you interested in obtaining more valuable career advice? Find it by browsing through all of the other articles that are found on our website.