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How to Become a Proofreader: A Career Guide

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By Scott Winstead

how to become a proofreader

If you love writing and have an eagle eye for spelling and grammar, you may want to consider working as a proofreader.

Proofreaders provide an important service: they check a piece of writing and catch any spelling, grammar, or style errors before it’s published.

Proofreaders read and correct everything from magazines to newspapers to websites to novels.

It’s an excellent career for anyone who’s passionate about writing and editing.

Proofreading is also a great option for those who prefer a more flexible job, as most of the work can be done remotely.

If you’re thinking about a career in proofreading, but don’t have experience in the field, online learning platforms like Knowadays make it easy to get the training you need to break into the business.

If you’re interested in learning more about this rewarding career, read on. Then stay tuned for the easiest ways to start working as a proofreader as soon as possible!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.

Why Become a Proofreader?

There are plenty of upsides to being a proofreader.

As mentioned above, the flexibility of the job is a huge draw.  Proofreading – and its closely related cousin, copy editing – are well-suited to a remote work environment.

This is because most clients will send the text to be proofread to an employee’s computer.

As long as the reader has a strong internet connection, there should be no problem for them to read and edit the content from pretty much anywhere in the world!

Location isn’t the only flexible aspect of the proofreading lifestyle.  Hours are also essentially up to the proofreader’s preference.

Whether you prefer to work in the morning, afternoon, or evening, as long as you’re meeting your deadlines, there’s no reason you can’t block off whatever time of day works best for you.

This can be especially helpful for those with busy family lives, hobbies, or even other jobs.

The work itself is another added bonus for those who love to read.  Becoming a proofreader means constantly being exposed to new types of text and content.

Proofreaders can choose what type of work they enjoy editing, or opt to rotate through several different formats.

From long-form articles to short blog posts, research papers to fiction stories, there’s a huge variety of text to keep proofreaders from feeling stagnant in their work.

If proofreading sounds like your career match made in heaven, read on to learn more about how to get started!


A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Proofreader

Becoming a proofreader doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process.

Unlike some career switches, you don’t need to go back to college to become a successful proofreader.

Instead, check out these tips for giving yourself the best shot at being successful in this new field.

Master the Basics

A solid foundation of spelling and grammar is important for any proofreader.  Make sure you have these core skills locked down.

A good proofreader has a strong command of the English language, including a diverse vocabulary and a detailed knowledge of idioms and syntax.

You should feel confident correcting errors, editing text for clarity, maintaining consistent formatting, and polishing any missteps related to tone or word usage.

You can look into guidebooks or online resources to hone your spelling and grammar skills, or simply make time to read a variety of books for pleasure.

Feeling comfortable with the basics will help you focus on other, more nuanced skills as you prepare to work as a professional proofreader.

Say it with Style

Once you’re sure of your foundation, it’s time to delve into commonly used English style guides.

Style guides offer a roadmap for writers and proofreaders to follow.  They provide a set of standards for how a text should be written, formatted, or designed.

Style guides can cover everything from how names and sources should be cited, to how certain words should be spelled or capitalized.

Some clients will provide proofreaders with their company’s own unique style guide upon hiring.

Most, however, will defer to one of the common style guides used in their field.

For academic topics, this might be the Modern Language Association (MLA) standards, or the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines.

The Elements of Style is a classic reference for most American articles, along with the AP Stylebook.

Familiarizing yourself with these standards is a great way to ensure that you have the background knowledge you need to proofread with confidence.

Make Time for Tech

Proofreading isn’t necessarily a high-tech job, but it’s important to know what skills you’ll need to do it well.

To work remotely, proofreaders will need a strong internet connection.  In order to receive and send completed work, this is a nonnegotiable element of the job.

Many companies also prefer their proofreaders to work with a Mac or a PC, as opposed to a Chromebook or tablet.  This is because tablets and Chromebooks often have issues supporting the writing and editing software that proofreaders will need to use.

Proofreaders should have a strong grasp of word processing programs, like Google Docs and the Microsoft suite.  Depending on the client, proofreaders will typically be working in one of these programs.

It’s important that you know how to track changes, compare drafts, show markups on text, leave comments, and share documents.

These functions will help you stay organized and show your client what you’ve done to clarify or strengthen the text you’re proofreading.

If you feel like your knowledge is lacking, devote some time to learning these programs and checking various tutorials on how to make them work for you.

Being fluent in these programs is almost as important as being a fluent writer and reader!

Put Yourself Out There

When you’ve made sure you have the spelling, grammar, style, and tech skills you need to be successful, it’s time to jump in!

This can be a daunting part of becoming a proofreader.  Some people aren’t sure of where to start their careers.

There are plenty of options for entry-level proofreaders, however.

You can join an online freelance site, message board, or social media community and begin to advertise your proofreading availability and rates.  Most of these sites will provide a great jumping-off point for your proofreading career.

Just be careful to only work with reputable clients, and be mindful of the percentage each platform might take of your earnings.

You can also use word of mouth by taking on small editing projects for friends and former coworkers.

Even if you start slow, practice makes perfect.

Take the Fast Track with Knowadays

Knowadays - Proofreading & Editing Courses Knowadays - Proofreading & Editing Courses

Knowadays offers world-class proofreading and editing courses to help you build a thriving career in the field with guaranteed work for students.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

If you’re serious about becoming a proofreader and want to jumpstart the entire experience, consider taking a course with Knowadays.

This online platform offers courses that are specifically tailored to your proofreading or editing needs or desires.

Knowadays courses essentially cover all of steps above in one streamlined package.

A Knowadays proofreading course will provide you with professionally-designed, industry-leading courses to get you where you want to be.

Knowadays courses also provide built-in tutoring options, so you can confer with a live professional to talk through any challenges.

Best of all, completing a Knowadays course with distinction (a score of 80% of above on your final evaluation) means you will have guaranteed work in their proofreading company.


Knowadays: The Best Way to Kickstart Your Proofreading Career

Read on to learn more about how Knowadays fits your proofreading and editing needs.

What Does Knowadays Do?

Knowadays offers courses for both proofreading and editing.  They also provide a free trial so that you can figure out exactly which course best suits your skill level.

The courses are built by industry professionals, so you can be sure they’re designed with everything you actually need to be successful in the field… without any unneeded filler.

Live, professional Knowadays tutors are available to help you throughout the process.  These are people with a ton of proofreading and editing experience under their belts who are ready to share their knowledge with you.

Unlike the guidebooks and online tutorials we’ve mentioned above, this means you’ll actually be able to talk in real time with someone who knows the proofreading world.

Knowadays classes are completely online, of course, which means you’ll be able to take them remotely and complete them around your own schedule.

The flexibility of these Knowadays courses is a big advantage over the“night school” style classes that are often traditional for those trying to develop skills for a new career.

What Does Knowadays Cost?

Knowadays, like any professional-level training platform, is not free.  Courses range from $299 to $499, based on the type of class.

While you have the option to take individual courses, Knowadays does provide a discount for those who wish to bundle the Proofreading and Editing course together.

Taking both courses will also give you a broader skill set and a deeper understanding of the editing world and proofreading profession.

Since courses can be paid in installments, you can look at the cost of the Knowadays bundle as a career investment (a far less costly one than even one semester of college courses!).

And because completing the courses with distinction leads directly to guaranteed paid work, this is an investment you can be sure will pay off.

How Does Knowadays Guarantee Work?

One of the biggest perks of the Knowadays platform is the guaranteed space in their own editing company, Proofed.

Proofreaders and editors who complete a course with a score of distinction (80% or above) are automatically given a trial position at Proofed.

During this trial, Knowadays graduates are given the opportunity to proofread or edit several short assignments to test their newly polished skills.

This trial period helps proofreaders test their proofing prowess in a real, industry setting.

Proofreaders who are successful in their trial may then continue to work for Proofed, accepting more and longer assignments as they wish.

These assignments are all paid, and those who continue working past the trial may work up to a higher payment rate as their abilities grow.

Of course, Knowadays doesn’t require graduates to work solely for Proofed.

You’re welcome to work for other clients and companies instead, or to take on those jobs in addition to your assignments for Proofed.

This is a fantastic way to start building a resume and portfolio, especially for proofreaders who may be new to the industry.

Is Knowadays Worth It?

For those who prefer a faster and more surefire method of launching their new career, Knowadays is a great path forward.

Knowadays classes ensure that you have time to build your foundational skills and receive guidance from actual professionals.  That’s an excellent way to set yourself up for success from the start.

Meanwhile, the guaranteed work program gives you the opportunity to make money right away while building your portfolio and client base.

This makes Knowadays a wise option for anyone wishing to perfect their proofreading and editing skills or grow their professional network.


Moving Forward With Proofreading

As we’ve said before, there’s no one path to becoming a proofreader.  If you’re confident that this career is a good fit for your skill set, then don’t delay!

By building the writing, grammar, style, and tech skills you need, you’ll be well on your way to making proofreading a part of your everyday routine.

Whether you invest in a comprehensive Knowadays class or go it alone, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits the proofreading field has to offer.

Happy proofing!

Have any questions about how to become a proofreader? Let us know by commenting below.

Knowadays - Proofreading & Editing Courses Knowadays - Proofreading & Editing Courses

Knowadays offers world-class proofreading and editing courses to help you build a thriving career in the field with guaranteed work for students.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

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