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How to Become a Proofreader With No Experience

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How to Become a Proofreader With No Experience

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Want to start your career as a freelance proofreader? Well, a proofreading career is a good idea. The niche has a good earning potential for newbies entering the marketplace. 

It can be estimated from Internet Live Stats that the World Wide Web consists of almost 200 million active websites. The content published on these sites needs to be proofread before getting live or printed. Hence, working as an online proofreader is one of the best ways to earn a living.

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If you are a keen reader and catch errors easily, this field is an ideal option for you. In this article, we will be discussing everything about proofreading, ranging from what is a proofreader to how to become a proofreader with no experience. Curious to know? Let’s get started and guide you on your proofreading career.

What is A Proofreader?

A proofreader looks at the mechanical aspects of the final draft of writing. He or she looks for spelling mistakes, grammar errors, punctuation mistakes, formatting errors, and typographical mistakes and fixes them. Whether it is an academic paper, website copy, or a work of fiction, the method is pretty much the same. Proofreading experience also does not matter for you to become a proofreader. All you need is a good command of English, basic grammar knowledge, and a sharp eye to look for mistakes.

A proofreader’s role comes after the copy editor has revised the document. His or her job is to correct any mistake or critical error that the editor has missed. Next, the proofreader finalizes the manuscript’s design, layout, and headings before submitting it for publication.

Comparing Editing, Copyediting, and Proofreading Skills

Comparing Editing, Copyediting and Proofreading Skills

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Final pieces of writing go through different editing stages, out of which, proofreading is the last phase. All of these forms are intended to refine the written work into a mistake-free and easy-to-understand version while retaining the tone, style, and voice of the publisher.

Copy editors check the storyline and recommend required changes. These editors also look for mechanical and logical errors. Still, there is a lot of confusion between the terms proofreading, and copyediting. Let us create a line of difference between the two.

Copy Editing:

Copy editing takes place before proofreading the document. The purpose is to polish the copy without affecting the author’s meaning and voice. A copy editor reads the entire document to identify and correct the following:

  • Spelling

  • Grammar

  • Wordiness 

  • Uneven flow

  • Confusing syntax

  • Clunky transitions

  • Tone and style errors

  • Misused or problematic words

After a copy editor revises a document, it needs to be readable, cohesive, and logical, while adhering to the publisher’s tone and guidelines.

Proofreading:

The role of proofreader comes in when the copy has passed the copy editor’s role, and now needs to be published. He or she reviews the mechanical elements of a written document to resolve issues such as:

  • Spelling

  • Grammar

  • Formatting

  • Punctuation

  • Capitalization

  • On-page layout

The on-page layout consists of fixing inconsistent headers, breaks, page numbers, placement of visuals like charts, and formatting mistakes.

Notable Differences:

The overlap between the two terms, copyediting, and proofreading, is to fix grammar and spelling mistakes. However, there are notable differences, too.

Copyeditors

  • Ensure the logical flow from one sentence to the next

  • Make the content accessible to its target readership

  • Follow the publisher’s style and tone rules

  • Ensure clarity of ideas and statements

  • Maintain cohesion within a single work and across all works under a publication

Proofreaders

  • Clean mechanical inconsistencies overlooked during the editing process

  • Make the words on the page look like they should

Who Uses Proofreaders?

Proofreading is consequential for companies. If they publish content with mistakes and errors, it would cost them credibility and potential customers. That is the reason companies do not rely on software to proofread their copies.

They prefer to hire a second set of human eyeballs to skim through the content and make it error-free.

Hence, numerous people and companies hire proofreaders to work for them. For instance:

5 Super Easy Tips to Become a Successful Proofreader with No Experience

5 Super Easy Tips to Become a Successful Proofreader with No Experience

Source: Unsplash

1. Learn What a Proofreader Does

To become a proofreader, you do not need a specific degree. Rather, all you need is a strong command of the English language. Although, taking an online proofreading course will further help you perform the core duties of a proofreader like:

  • Write an error-free copy

  • Modify the document for clarity and consistency

  • Properly format the copy

  • Appropriate usage of English dialects and different writing styles

Hence, you need to brush up on your grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills to find entry-level proofreading jobs and ultimately, become a successful proofreader. If you learned basic grammar in elementary school, it would not take you much time to review it.

2. Learn How to Use Editing Tools in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is one of the highly used platforms for writing. Hence, to thrive in your freelance proofreading career, you need to learn every bit of it. Particularly, you should know how to use common editing tools in Word. Some of these tools are:

  • Track Changes: A built-in tool in MS Word that records any changes made to the document. It is useful for general proofreading and editing.

  • Compare: This tool compares the old and new versions of the copy by highlighting the points you corrected. Thus, it helps you showcase to your client or boss the edits you made. 

  • Comment: This tool helps ask questions, leave feedback, and highlight potential problems. It lets you highlight a word, sentence, or segment that needs the author’s attention.

3. Explore Helpful Tools

Some handy tools are available to check the documents for grammatical errors, punctuation errors and also offer other suggestions. These are particularly important for proofreaders with no prior experience.

  • Microsoft Word: Helps track changes and leave feedback.

  • Google Docs: Helps you stay in touch and collaborate with the client.

  • Grammarly: For checking grammar rules, mistakes, and other suggestions.

  • Hemingway: Improves readability and word choice in your copy.

4. Be Familiar with Major Style Guides

Familiarity with major English style guides is not only essential for freelance writers and editors but also for entry-level proofreaders. These guides are critical for good writing. To start working as a proofreader with no proofreading experience, one needs to know basic style guides and when they are used, such as:

  • Formal writing 

  • Academic writing; Specific style manuals such as MLA and APA

  • Business writing; AP Stylebook

5. Volunteer for Your Proofreading Services

If you do not have any experience yet, it is time to get some. Online job hunting does not require your money, but there is always some sort of investment you have to make. To start proofreading without experience, the best investment is to volunteer as a freelance proofreader. It will be beneficial in several ways:

  • Free services will attract potential clients

  • They would not expect advanced proofreading skills

  • It will enrich your experience

  • Help you build your portfolio

You can ask your colleagues, family members, and friends to proofread any of their documents. Make sure to provide the best possible quality. Once you become confident in your skill and have some samples to showcase, start looking for online proofreading jobs and work at a specific rate.

How To Find Proofreading Jobs Online?

How To Find Proofreading Jobs Online?

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If you think you have good English command and a keen eye to capture mistakes, this is the perfect moment to find proofreading jobs online. No prior experience or qualification is mandatory for this role. Several organizations hire people for revising their documents before publishing or printing them. You can become a part of one such platform and enjoy the perks of flexible remote working.

Below are mentioned some organizations that offer freelance proofreading jobs to beginners. You can easily find entry-level proofreading jobs from these companies. But some may require a little experience, too. Though, we suggest you try all of them. 

Scribendi

Scribendi is an online editing organization that connects clients with copyediting and proofreading services. It works with 500 independent editors who revise documents and deliver high-quality copies. The platform lets proofreaders choose tasks based on their expertise, interests, and availability.

In return, proofreaders receive a competitive sum. The company also offers comprehensive training programs and online courses to those who are not that confident in their skills. Whether you offer general proofreading or niche-specific, Scribendi has tremendous opportunities for you.

Kibin

Another reliable source for exploring freelance proofreading jobs is Kibin. The company was founded in 2011, and since then, it is delivering professional writing, editing, and proofreading services. With its global network of freelance editors, Kibin receives editing and proofreading services 24 hours a day.

When you visit other sites to get a proofreading job, either the client picks you or the site decides when to send you work. But on Kibin, you can see the work coming in and pick it yourself.

Reedsy

Reedsy is a company that provides a good range of services. Here you can find editors, proofreaders, marketers, ghostwriters, web designers, and publicists, all in one place. They help the clients finalize and publish their books. Reedsy automates service contracts between the author and proofreaders.

It sends the profiles of editors and proofreaders to the author, makes a deal, and manages payments. Authors have the option to visit all profiles of proofreaders on this site and work with the one they want.

Scribe Media

Scribe Media is another proofreading business that connects the book author to a proofreader. Authors who need another set of eyeballs to finalize their book visit Scribe Media and seek help from online proofreaders. The company hires full-time proofreaders and provides them with immense perks.

These include a flexible schedule, remote working opportunities, health and wellness benefits, and educational reimbursement. You can visit their site and explore job openings if available. If there are no job openings available, turn on email alerts to stay updated.

Proofed

The Proofed company was founded in 2017 and aims to help students, authors, academics, businesses, and professionals in revising their documents. Their team delivers high-quality proofreading services ensuring the copy is free from:

  • Grammar mistakes

  • Punctuation errors

  • Inappropriate word choice, and

  • Spelling errors

The organization maintains a strong work-life balance for its employees. A supportive team, flexible work, a remote work environment, and opportunities to hone editing skills are all you get as a Proofed employee.

Cambridge Proofreading

Cambridge Proofreading is an organization with more than 300 editing professionals. They serve clients worldwide with their high-quality proofreading and editing services. With expertise in both the private and public sectors, the team helps non-profit organizations, public agencies, and businesses.

You can find remote proofreading jobs related to your interest and expertise at this proofreading company. Hence, you get the opportunity to pick projects and set schedules. Moreover, the platform gives its employees access to comprehensive resources to help them develop proofreading skills and maintain top-notch work quality.

Become A Freelance Proofreader on Upwork

Upwork is a well-known freelance marketplace that connects clients with a required service provider. Proofreaders create their profiles on Upwork and set a defined rate. The platform operates in two ways. One, in which a service provider explores a potential online proofreading job, sends proposals, and bids on them.

The other is when a client approaches the proofreader and sends an invitation to work on his project. But the latter occurs only if your profile has a high success score. As a beginner proofreader, you can bid for entry-level projects first. The pay rate might be low in the beginning but that is good for building a portfolio and showcasing your skills.

Polished Paper

Polished Paper is an editing and proofreading company that offers work-from-home and online proofreading jobs. It consists of a team of editors who revise your documents 24 hours a day on niches such as:

  • Novels

  • Resumes

  • Cover letters

  • Screenplays

  • Blog entries

  • Dissertations

  • Journal articles

  • Application essays

  • Personal statements

  • Business documents

The company makes sure that high-quality standards of editing and proofreading are met. That is why they pass new editors through a vetting process. Do not neglect the site just because you do not have experience. Instead, its recruitment criteria can be a good source for evaluating your proofreading skills.

Final Words

Proofreading is a good side hustle with the potential to become a full-time living. Numerous online platforms offer proofreading jobs to both experts and newbies who want to make their way into it.

So if you ask yourself how to become a proofreader with no experience, this guide has summarized all you need to know. Just work on your skills, offer free services in the beginning, and build your portfolio. Once it is done, you are ready to set your price and earn a good income. And who knows, you may even open your own proofreading business in the future!


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