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        How to Become an Online Proofreader in 2023 [for Beginners]

        • calenderMar 02, 2023
        • calender 7 min read

        Do you have a keen eye for language? Do typos and misplaced punctuation marks stick out to you like a sore thumb? Then you’ll thrive as a proofreader! If you’re interested in finding out how to become a proofreader and where there are jobs for proofreaders from home, read along. 

        We asked the team members at PaperTrue how they became a proofreader. (“How did I, indeed?” said one of our editors, when asked how proofreading came into their life. “I was picked up straight from college like a plump chicken from a coup for my meat.”) Here’s what we found. 

        A proofreader checks for errors and inconsistencies in writing. Typically, proofreading is the last step of the editing process, after copyediting and developmental editing, usually reserved for more black-and-white mechanical aspects of your writing. 

        A proofreader usually checks for: 

        • Mechanical consistency of language (grammar, punctuation, correct spelling, sentence structure)
        • Formatting and page layout 
        • Extra spaces between words or pages 
        • Adherence to prescribed style guidelines

        What skills do you need to become a proofreader?  

        Here are the most important skills a proofreader should possess:

        • In-depth knowledge of grammar and punctuation 
        • An understanding of conventions in the English language 
        • The ability to keep up with the various formatting and referencing styles (especially for academic work)
        • The ability to work independently and keep up with tight deadlines 

        Don’t feel overwhelmed if you are not familiar with a variety of style sheets and guidelines. If you’re a beginner with no work experience, it’s enough that you have a firm understanding of grammar and punctuation. 

        In fact, what counts more than anything else is the ability to be meticulous and precise with words. If you have a love for language, but your technical skills aren’t up to par just yet, proofreading is still an excellent career choice for you. 

        What qualifications do you need to become a proofreader? 

        Many organizations looking for proofreaders require you to have a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in English, journalism, communications, or relevant fields. That said, anyone in any discipline can become a proofreader as long as they can keep up with the conventions of written language. 

        Applications usually involve a proofreading test, which is an opportunity for prospective employers to evaluate your language skills and ability to meet a deadline. 

        Where can you find proofreading jobs? 

        Proofreading online has become a lucrative occupation, especially in the past few years. There are plenty of opportunities for you to find freelance editing and proofreading jobs. 

        Here are a few of your options: 

        1. If you’re a beginner, get some experience by working at reputed editing and proofreading companies. As an in-house proofreader, you get to work under experienced professionals, work on various documents across subjects and types, and hone your skills. 
        2. Apply to companies that hire in-house proofreaders to review the content and documents they produce. This could include marketing content, business and branding documents, annual reports, etc. In an age where many companies put out content to keep up an online presence, this gives you an opportunity to proofread documents that align with your interest and educational background. 
        3. Pitch yourself as a freelance proofreader and editor. You can either have a long-term partnership with a company or work on specific projects. Another way to get freelance editing jobs is to set up a profile on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr
        4. Find opportunities in the publishing industry. Publication houses, magazines, newspapers, and periodicals are also often on the lookout for a professional proofreader to streamline their publication process. 

        Become a proofreader and editor at PaperTrue

        Find your niche as a proofreader 

        As time goes by, you might find yourself gravitating towards specific kinds of documents, either based on type or interest. If you’re inclined to academia, for instance, you might prefer working on dissertations and theses. Or if you aspire to be in publishing, you might focus on book manuscripts.

        In any case, it’s a good idea to carve a niche for yourself. This will not only give you direction on what you like, but also help you find jobs that align with your interests and, more importantly, give you insights about where you can find such jobs. 

        Tips to become a better proofreader 

        Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned proofreader, there’s always room for improvement. As a proofreader, it’s important to keep yourself abreast of changing conventions in writing. For example, if your specialization is in academic proofreading, it might be a good idea for you to keep track of new editions of style guides like APA, MLA, and the Chicago Manual of Style. 

        Here are some tips to become a better proofreader:

        • Learn how to read precisely and meticulously. 
        • Read up on referencing and formatting styles.
        • Brush up on grammar, punctuation, and language conventions (UK/US differences in English, for instance)
        • Practice your skill by trying to spot errors in books, essays, newspaper clippings, etc.
        • Help your friends with their homework or writing assignments/material. 
        • Apply to freelance platforms like Upwork or Fiverr for side gigs. 
        • Network with other editors, writers, and proofreaders to keep up with new and evolving language rules. 

        How to create a proofreading portfolio 

        The question of how to prove your skill as a proofreader is a good one (especially if you’re lacking experience). Adding it as a skill on your resume or professional platforms is a start, but the task is still to make your pitch credible. Your portfolio should answer the question, “are your editing and proofreading services reliable?”

        You can do this via the tracked changes feature on MS Word. The idea is to present before and after versions of a sample document for a prospective client/employer to see how you work.

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        Chetna Linkedin

        Chetna is a child of the internet. A writer and aspiring educator, she loves exploring digital media to create resources that are informative and engaging. Away from the writing desk, she enjoys cinema, coffee, and old books.

        2 comments on “How to Become an Online Proofreader in 2023 [for Beginners]

        1. Rajshree Chaudhary says:

          I find this interesting and challenging as one of the career options to pursue.

        2. Ashish says:

          Nice article

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