How to Become a Certified Proofreader
Proofreading is a flexible career with many perks that you can pursue. However, before you get started, there are a few things you should know about it. Read on to learn how to become a proofreader and what it takes to succeed in this competitive niche.
What is Proofreading?
Proofreading is simply reading a document or text and marking or correcting any mistakes and errors. A proofreader makes the final pass to make sure that the published work is free of all grammar and spelling mistakes.
To be a successful proofreader, you must have exceptional attention to detail. If the proofreader is having a difficult time understanding something, chances are that the readers/audience will struggle as well. And the writer may not even read it once the proofreader has done his job, so the document has to be perfect.
How to Become a Certified Proofreader
To secure employment as a proofreader, there are certain qualifications that you must meet. Understanding these qualifications and taking the time to meet them can help you stand out from the competition. Here are some guidelines you should consider following:
1. Determine if You Have the Skills to Become a Proofreader
Proofreading isn’t for everyone. You have to have great attention to detail and be able to work fast. Sometimes it is crucial to learn specialized skills that are beyond traditional grammar and punctuation. While skills vary across different types of proofreading, following are some universal qualities that one must possess to become a successful proofreader:
- Flexibility: A proofreader must be able to work with digital and printed materials.
- Reliability: A proofreader must be able to respond to client emails promptly and meet deadlines in a timely manner.
- Perfectionism: Proofreaders should be detail-oriented and meticulous.
2. Figure Out Your Proofreading Niche
As a proofreader, you have the opportunity to work on a wide range of platforms, materials, and content. There are many different types of proofreading jobs that you can look into, including (but not limited to):
- Variety of Websites
- Ecommerce Sites
- Blog Posts
- Technical Articles
- Medical Publications
- Educational Reports
- Court Documents
- Amazon Proofreading Jobs, and more
Figuring out your own preferred niche can provide you with a competitive edge and help you secure certain clients in the future.
3. Hone Your Proofreading Skills
To pursue a proofreading career, you need a wide range of strong skills that showcase your ability to get the job done with ease. Improving your editorial skills, in particular, makes it easier for you to find work as a proofreader. Following are some ways you can improve your editorial and proofreading skills:
- Understand Style Guides: Style guides are manuals that feature guidelines for the proper design and formatting of various documents. As an aspiring proofreader, it is important that you know certain style guides so that you can make sure that the copy you are reviewing meets these standards.
- Practice Proofreading: It is highly recommended that you spend time reading to practice and sharpen your proofreading skills. Don’t just read for pleasure, read as if you are proofreading. Using this approach will accustom you to your future obligations as a proofreader.
- Test Your Skills: Once you have honed your proofreading skills, you should consider taking proofreading tests online. From textual exercises to multiple-choice quizzes, there are numerous tests available on the internet that can measure your ability to identify inconsistencies and errors.
4. Consider Getting a Proofreading Certificate
It is highly recommended that you get a proofreading certification online to help you hone your skills as well as show your competency in this niche. While you don’t necessarily need to acquire a certificate in order to become a proofreader, accreditation will prove to be very beneficial as it will make it easier for you to secure contracts and clients in the future. Before getting a certificate, you should do proper research so you can find the platform that has the proofreading courses and recognition you need. A few recommendations include Proofreading Academy, Proofread Anywhere, and Publishing Training Centre.
5. Find Proofreading Jobs
There are two primary ways to earn money as a proofreader:
- Online proofreading jobs
- In-house proofreading jobs
Whether it makes sense to choose one over the other depends entirely on what your goals are as an aspiring proofreader.
If you are looking for a job that offers a steady schedule and consistent pay, then you should research companies that hire proofreaders. On the other hand, if you would like to have more control of your schedule or the types of work that you can take on, then you may be better off working as a self-employed individual or an independent contractor.
Proofreading is a flexible and reliable career that has been around since the dawn of print media. It is one of the lucrative jobs that will continue to stick around as the demand for court reporting and content marketing increase. Just like any other editorial job, proofreading has its challenges. But if you really invest in your craft, then becoming a certified proofreader will be certainly worth it in the long run.