Do you have an eye for spotting spelling mistakes and typos and a knack for fixing them? If so, a proofreading job is worth considering. Many industries hire proofreaders, including publishing houses, marketing agencies
Many of these jobs can be performed virtually if you’d prefer working from home. Read on for valuable info and tips to share to help you in your job search.
Main Takeaways: Getting a Proofreading Job
- Some type of education or an upper-level English class can help you land a proofreading job.
- Sample job titles for this work include copy editor, writer, and technical proofreader.
- Read on to discover how to find a proofreading job and to look for our live listings.
- What Does a Proofreading Job Entail?
- Do I Need an English Degree to Work in this Field?
- Types of Proofreading Jobs and Titles
- Salary Ranges and Expectations for Proofreading Jobs
- Projected Growth Rate of the Proofreading Field
- How to Get a Proofreading Job
- Top 7 Skills to Be Successful at Proofreading
- Is a Proofreading Job Right Up Your Alley?
What Does a Proofreading Job Entail?
A proofreader reviews various documents for businesses looking for errors in spelling, content, punctuation and grammar in books, magazines, website content and other materials. Proofreaders adhere to a company’s style guide and other standardized style guides, such as the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook when proofreading copy and provide feedback and suggested edits.
Proofreaders don’t rewrite or suggest content in materials. Instead, they review drafts of documents before they’re finalized and sent to print to check for errors. They use software programs such as Adobe Acrobat to enable editing tools, mark up documents and share with colleagues and business partners.
You need to know common proofreading marks (such as redlining, which indicates a deletion, or a caret, which indicates an insertion), and be meticulous, fast and observant. Proofreaders are valuable assets to businesses as they ensure corporate materials are 100% accurate and easy to understand.
Do I Need an English Degree to Work in this Field?
A bachelor’s degree in English or Communications is highly recommended if you want to pursue a career in proofreading. In some cases, an associate’s degree is enough depending on the employer. A master’s degree isn’t necessary but would be a plus. Either way, you should have several upper-level English courses listed on your resume to demonstrate your expertise.
Tip: Some companies offer certifications in proofreading. Also, you can watch training videos online to learn more about the job.
Types of Proofreading Jobs and Titles
Let’s take a look at some sample job titles and descriptions that fall under the larger proofreading jobs umbrella.
Entry-Level Proofreading Jobs
An entry-level proofreading job is ideal if you have little or no experience in the field. You could be a current college student and work as an intern or a recent college graduate. As an entry-level proofreader, you’ll gain valuable on-the-job experience you can add to your resume if you want to take your career to the next level.
Sample job titles: Entry-level proofreader, junior proofreader, junior proofing specialist
Editors are much like proofreaders because they review, proofread and edit documents. They are also tasked with writing and creating content and adhering to style guide parameters. Editors contribute in healthcare corporations and automotive companies to media outlets and websites. An editing job usually requires more education than a proofreading job.
Sample job titles: Editor, news editor, junior editor
There are many remote proofreading job opportunities available since most proofreaders do their work online. If you’re a good proofreader and don’t want to commute, you can find work-from-home jobs on most reputable job search engines.
Sample job titles: Work-from-home proofreader, virtual proofreader, remote editor
Copy Editing Jobs
Copy editors perform different work than proofreaders. Copy editors can revise content as needed before documents get to the proofreading phase. Copy editors review and rewrite copy for all business sectors, and can be hired as a full-time, contract or remote worker.
Sample job titles: Copy editor, junior copy editor, senior copy editor
Writing jobs encompass a vast number of job titles and descriptions. Writing is a much more specialized field than proofreading and requires at least a bachelor’s degree in English or communications. Writers create original content or revise existing content for companies such as marketing agencies, health care corporations, publishers and television stations.
Sample job titles: Writer, staff writer, senior writer
Quality Assurance Proofreader Jobs
A quality assurance proofreader might be tasked with reviewing medical or legal documents as they’re going through a quality assurance process. Most companies have quality assurance processes in place to ensure documents are consistent, uniform and accurate. A quality assurance proofreader is a more specialized proofreader and may require additional training from an employer.
Sample job titles: Quality assurance proofreader, quality control proofreader, quality assurance document reviewer
Technical Proofreader Jobs
A technical proofreader reviews technical documents such as product descriptions, software documents or scientific research papers. This is a more specialized field and requires training and knowledge about a specific industry or job sector.
Sample job titles: Technical proofreader, scientific proofreader, remote technical proofreader
Pharmaceutical Proofreader Jobs
A pharmaceutical proofreader is part of an editing and project team at a pharmaceutical company. A candidate must be experienced in the pharmaceutical industry, familiar with the American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines, and be proficient in medical and pharmaceutical terminology.
Sample job titles: Pharmaceutical proofreader, remote pharmaceutical proofreader, medical proofreader
Salary Ranges and Expectations for Proofreading Jobs
How much money can you make as a proofreader? According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average annual median salary for proofreaders is $41,950. If you have more experience and credentials, you can earn over $61,000 a year, and if you have your own business, you can set your hourly rate.
Projected Growth Rate of the Proofreading Field
The demand for proofreaders is going up. According to Recruiter.com, there were over 4,300 new proofreading jobs added in 2018, an increase of 4.25% over previous years.
The highest employment levels are in New York, California, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Even if you don’t live in one of these states, there are many proofreading job opportunities available. As hard copy publications continue to dwindle, the demand for online proofreaders continue to grow.
How to Get a Proofreading Job
If you’re ready to look for a proofreading job, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Network: Join professional proofreading networking groups and attend forums and seminars. Check your library or online sites for networking books to learn about more ways to network. You can also join Facebook and LinkedIn proofreader groups to connect with like-minded job seekers.
- Search online job boards: Besides the usual suspects, check out sites such as Upwork, Freelancer and PureContent for onsite and remote proofreading gigs.
- Goof-proof your resume: If proofreading is your specialty, your resume will be the first document an employer will see, so it needs to be 100% error-free. Triple-check it and have it reviewed by a professional resume writer.
- Sign up with a staffing agency: An agency can help you find a part- or full-time contract or direct-hire position.
- Join a professional organization: Join organizations such as the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors and the Editorial Freelancers Association to find out about training opportunities and job postings.
- Seek out your target companies: Target companies’ careers sections for proofreader opportunities. Make a wish list of the companies you’d like to work for and contact department heads.
- Start your own business: You can create a website for about $10 a month and advertise your services on the site or a dedicated Facebook page.
- Do some gratis proofreading work: Proofread documents such as resumes and legal papers for family members and friends to get your feet wet. Take feedback they have into consideration, and have them post customer reviews on your Facebook page or website.
Top 7 Skills to Be Successful at Proofreading
What kind of talents and abilities do you need if you want to pursue a career in proofreading? Here are the top 7 skills if you want to be successful:
1. An Eye for Detail
Proofreading is all about details. You can’t miss a detail, no matter how small,because your job depends on it. You should be a meticulous observer, with a methodical system for reviewing every detail, from words and spaces to punctuation and graphics. You’ll need to review a document line-by-line, noticing a missing period or space.
2. Technical Skills
You need to be comfortable with marking up documents using programs such as Adobe Acrobat and InCopy and noting changes using Microsoft Word’s track changes tools. You should also be proficient using Google Docs, Grammarly and other tools needed to proofread documents thoroughly.
3. Writing Skills
As a proofreader, you need to know what good writing is, and to do that you should have good writing skills. Know what constitutes clear, concise writing. Many publishers hire proofreaders who demonstrate excellent writing skills.
4. Editing Skills
You need to be a strong editor to be successful at proofreading. Most proofreading jobs will require you to take a proofreading test, which is very similar to an editing test, so you have to be adept at editing.
5. Organizational Skills
Many proofreaders work independently, either remotely or in contract roles, requiring strong organizational skills. You may have to juggle multiple projects for one employer or even multiple employers, so organization is a must.
6. Be an Ace Speller
Spell-check programs don’t catch every spelling mistake, so you can’t rely on them as your only source for checking documents. You should be an exceptional speller if you want to be a successful proofreader. That said, if your resume contains spelling mistakes, you won’t make the short list for the job.
7. Project management skills
Most proofreading jobs are project-based, so you’ll need to be able to follow a project from beginning to end effectively. Your proofreading projects will usually feature tight deadlines and multiple project goals.
Is a Proofreading Job Right Up Your Alley?
You have many options to explore in the field of proofreading and content management, whether you want to work at a large corporation or from home. If you’re looking for a proofreading job at a company, make sure they offer a good plan for retirement and benefits.
A career in proofreading and editing could be for you If you have a knack for detail and enjoy making good copy great. Keep in mind that accurate copy represents your work and reputation and the satisfaction of producing a quality-written piece is important in all business sectors and a skill that businesses seek.