Ways to Learn to Proofread & Become a Professional

Proofreading can add power to your writing while ensuring the document is free of errors and is polished to a high standard. As you proofread your work, you might find that crucial points you wished to include were missing. You also get the chance to see whether your argument is being presented clearly and will not cause the reader to stumble (unless intentionally).

Proofreading is simply re-reading what has already been written with a different perspective. It helps you include all the information on your paper with nothing left out. If you want to learn how to proofread professionally, please read on for the best ways to learn to proofread.

Understand the scope of a proofreaders work

Proofreading comes after the structural and copyediting phases in the editing process. A proofreader has responsibilities that include double-checking works for mistakes and errors. The errors may include; inconsistencies’ in style and layout, typographical errors, missing punctuation and spelling mistakes, awkward page and word breaks, and any other issues that might spoil the reading experience.

Figure out your proofreading niche

With the divergent material in the field, no shortage of material requires proofreading. Picking from the available areas to focus on is good, but choosing a niche will push you above the rest. The only advantage you have with other prospective employees is your niche. The clients will appreciate the expertise in most cases more than scattered knowledge of barely related work experiences. 

Some options you have to help choose your niche include:

  • Books
  • Legal documents
  • Website pages
  • Blog posts
  • Transcripts
  • Essays
  • Court reports

Since each of the above will have its specific requirements in terms of language and format, it is advisable to phone your specialty in one or two. If you decide to work in publishing, consider narrowing your focus down to several genres, as they may require different skills.

Proofreading a nonfiction historical book will require a lot of fact-checking, while a fantasy novel will require sharp attention to the mechanics of an imaginary language.

Hone your skills to perfection

There is more to proofreading than just the written word. You will be responsible for perfecting the formatting and appearance of the text as well. It is advisable to sign up for a proofreading course for a thorough guide on what is required of you.

Below are a few guidelines if you decide to learn on your own:

  • Know your style guide – the most common styles used in the industry are; APA styles, Chicago style, and AP style. For the scholarly way, you need to know MLA and Turabian style.
  • Practice – the more you do it, the more adept you’ll be at noticing discrepancies and errors. For everything that you write, proofread.
  • Test your proofreading skills – Testing your skills is a great way to gauge your ability to find and recognize critical errors and inconsistencies.

Find proofreading jobs

As a beginner, the jobs offered to you will not be as glamorous as you expected. You accept the work offered to you regardless of the pay offered and use them to build a reputation. After a consistent stellar work output with not-so-big payouts, you emerge with the skills and track record to pull you through your proofreading career.

With these, you can start setting rates that are favorable to you as the writer. You can now fight off any intimidation by the clients, especially if you have the fundamental skills for the job.

Keep developing your resume

If you are persistent and constant with the work, you push out; before long, you will start finding jobs with ease and commanding higher wages. The quality of work produced is the most important thing. The level should not fluctuate as a slight change in quality will destroy your reputation.

Ensure your resume is updated regularly to include projects that might be relevant to your career goals.

Final take

Like in any business, there are always challenges. For proofreading, newcomers often receive low wages, and some end up discouraged. If you are persistent in your craft and stick out the challenging first days, then good tidings await you ahead.

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