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How do I Become a Freelance Proofreader?

Someone who wants to become a freelance proofreader should have an excellent grasp of the English language and grammar. Though formal education beyond high school is not a requirement, many people who want to become a freelance proofreader choose to pursue a college degree in English, journalism, or a related field. The extra experience you gain in college may make you more likely to be hired, even if you feel you already have the skills.

If you know you want to become a freelance proofreader, get as much experience as you can ahead of time. This can come from working on your high school or college newspaper, or taking an internship at a local newspaper or magazine. This is because, when you are finally hired as a freelance proofreader, your editor will expect you to know what you are doing. Some basic training may be provided, but in general, it is likely that you will be handed an assignment such as a newspaper article or magazine article, and be expected to complete it correctly the first time, making corrections as needed.

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It is important for someone who wants to become a freelance proofreader to study and learn various style guides, such as the Associated Press Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style, two style guides that are used quite often in journalism. Purchase these books and keep them as reference guides; it will be important to look up specific issues when you are working as a freelance proofreader. Of course, it is important to brush up on your grammar skills and proofreading skills regularly as well.

If you do want to become a freelance proofreader, it is necessary to market yourself and make connections. Send out resumes and cover letters detailing your experience and qualifications, and once you do get a client, try to do the best possible job you can do. This client may turn out to be someone who comes back to you again and again, or they may make a recommendation for someone else. In the beginning, it is important to try not to turn down any freelance work; once you get very busy and have a steady flow of regular clients, you can be pickier.

When you become a freelance proofreader, you will need to set up your home office and create your own schedule. It is important to practice good time management techniques in order to complete all your work by deadline; missing deadlines will quickly ruin your freelance career. In addition, remember to withhold your own taxes as a self-employed person, and to make estimated quarterly payments to avoid penalties.

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Discuss this Article

ZipLine
Post 3

@stoneMason-- You know, you can also apply to online publications and websites to be a proofreader. Many of them want freelancers who can work on their own. Of course, there are deadlines. The great part is that you know that your work is constant. Once you're hired, you can continue to work there.

stoneMason
Post 2

I signed up to a website for freelance work. They basically act as the middle man between the client and the freelance proofreader. People submit their offers and resumes when a client advertises a job. The client then picks one person and pays the proofreader through the site when the job is done.

I tried using the site for a few weeks but since I was a beginner without any ratings, I did not get any work. I also read some horror stories about how some clients try to get away without paying by claiming that the work that was done was not satisfactory.

I think there needs to be a better way for freelance proofreaders to get work and for clients to find proofreaders as well. I think this system is not very friendly overall.

serenesurface
Post 1

Actually, I don't think that most people go to college and study English in college to become a freelance proofreader. I think most people end up in freelance work because they have difficult finding other employment in their area. Some people also do it as a side job and some college students do it too, for some pocket money.

Most college graduates who have a degree in social sciences can become good freelance proofreaders. The hardest part is finding a constant and well paying job.

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