5 Tips on How to Find Work as a Proofreader
Working as a proofreader can be very rewarding. But finding that work in the first place can seem tricky, especially if you’re just starting out. You don’t have to do this alone, though! We’ve got five top tips on how to find work as a proofreader when you’re new to the editing world:
- Look for work (and recommendations) from friends and family.
- Get in touch with publishers to see if they have work.
- Create a website and/or social media presence for yourself as a proofreader.
- Join a professional society and online groups for editors.
- Pass the Becoming A Proofreader course and work with Proofed.
Read on for more information on finding work as a freelance proofreader.
1. Start Close to Home
When you’re new to proofreading, the people around you are a great resource! Is anyone you know studying at university? Then they’ll probably have essays they need checking. Are you the spelling nerd in your family? Maybe you can help your relations with your editing skills.
Even if you have to offer this help for free to start with, it can still help you:
- Practice your proofreading skills.
- Develop contacts and word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Build a portfolio that you can use to impress other clients.
As such, if you’re looking for work, the best place to start may be close to home.
2. Contact Publishers
If a squeaky wheel gets the grease, then it’s time to start squeaking! Or, to put it in less figurative terms, if you want to find work as a proofreader, it never hurts to ask for it.
Contacting publishers is a great first step. Most have a list of trusted proofreaders they use regularly. You may have to provide a resume detailing your experience or even pass a test to get on the list, but they can be a brilliant source of repeat work for freelancers. Simply:
- Make a list of publishers you would like to work for.
- Look up who is responsible for hiring at each one.
- Send a speculative email explaining why you’re a good fit for the job.
It can also help if you have some experience in the same field as the publisher. If you have a postgraduate degree, for instance, you might want to focus on academic publishers. Or if you’ve written fiction before, you could look for publishers that specialize in the same genre.
3. Have a Presence Online
Self-promotion counts for a lot these days, especially in the world of freelance work. And if you’re not already promoting your proofreading skills online, you should:
- Refresh your social media presence to sell yourself and your services.
- Consider creating a personal website for yourself as a proofreader.
Being active on social media will also help you make new connections in the industry. And as well as giving you a presence on search engines, having a personal website will let you provide detailed descriptions of the services you offer and testimonials from satisfied clients.
4. Join Proofreading and Editing Groups
There are many professional groups you can join as a proofreader. One of the biggest is the EfA, which has a directory for freelance proofreaders to promote their services.
However, there are many other groups available. And even informal online communities – such as message boards and LinkedIn groups – can be a valuable source of work contacts.
5. Take the Becoming A Proofreader Course
Possibly the best way to find work as a freelance proofreader is to join Knowadays. That’s because we guarantee work with our partner company, Proofed, for anyone who finishes the course with a mark of 80% or above within three attempts. After that, Proofed’s helpful support staff will help you start out in your freelance career, earning back the price of the course as you work!