How To Become A Proofreader

Proofreading jobs on the online platforms is a convenient way of topping up your income. If you are good enough you can even pursue it as a full-time career and make fantastic money doing. If this is your first time trying to become a proofreader then it may be tricky to get started in the field. Rest assured in this article we shall cover  questions like, ‘Is a degree or formal training necessary?’  and much, much more

This guide is designed and intended to help beginners to proofreading jump-start their careers on the right foot.

What is Proofreading?

Many people often mistake proofreading for editing. However, editing is a more comprehensive task. This is because it entails checking the flow of contents, crosschecking the meanings of words, and ascertaining the readability of words.

It is hence more involving than proofreading.

Proofreading, on the other hand, is a bit narrow than editing. This is because the exercise entails skimming a piece of literature in finer details.

Its main purpose is to see to it that the texts are devoid of any spelling, typographical or grammatical errors.

You will hardly make any suggestions that may significantly alter the entire structure or flow of the contents. Your only goal is to ensure that the text is free of any errors.

If you can spot mistakes in text, this could be a profitable hustle

Why Not use a spellchecker?

Many people do rely heavily on the built-in grammar and spell checkers such as those of Microsoft Word. These tools are definitely helpful to the users. They are however unreliable because they are far from perfection.

It is for these reasons that may resort to proofreaders to scan their writings for any residual errors and final reviews.

What makes a good Proofreader?

Several factors converge to make the best proofreader. First and foremost, you have to be an avid reader. This is because an avid reader tends to notice errors and mistakes faster than those who read only occasionally.

They also tend to have a natural grasp of the grammar and spelling errors much more reliably.

Is an English Degree necessary for the Online Proofreading Job?

Not really! Possessing an English degree or lack of it has almost no bearing at all on your proofreading proficiency. Your willingness to learn is, by all means, more indispensable.

In case you have no experience at all, you will have to go through a learning curve. This is to mean that you will have to nurture the skills and ultimately market yourself as a proofreader for you to grow your career.

To be able to achieve this, you will have to constantly learn grow, and evolve.

“You will be surprised who needs proofreaders and the amount of work you can get if you are good.”

What if I have The skills already, what should I do now?

This job entails a lot of attentiveness to details. You must thus be great at spotting errors in blog posts, advertisements, books, magazines, pamphlets, and articles with ease.

For you to elevate these skills to successful levels, you will, by all means, have to possess a great command of the English language or the language you speak including every aspect of it like the grammar, spelling, and the syntax.

Depending mainly on the job at hand, you will also have to know the proofreader’s marks. These are traditional signs and symbols that are used to indicate the points that need to be changed as well as the kinds of changes that ought to be implemented.

Some clients may, as a matter of fact, ask you to track those changes in Microsoft Word to enable them to spot the edits you suggested.

Beating the Competition

Now that you know what it takes to be a good proofreader, you are now ready to apply for these jobs online. 

It is strongly recommended that you, first of all, find your niche. Why? This is because it is easier to find plenty of work while targeting a certain niche market rather than adopting a generalized approach.

Also, settling for a particular niche also enables you to position yourself strategically to be an expert later. With an expert ranking, you may charge much more than a generalized proofreader.

This is not to mention the focus and attendant elevation of your proofreading success at a later date.

Online Courses like Proofread Anywhere will help you with the skills you need to target specific niches such as content creators, publishers, and entrepreneurs.

A world of clients await you.

Who Needs to Use Proofreading Skills?

Anyone who writes generally needs a proofreader. Much of our written communications these days are informal. Usually if you have no writing training you may write in the wrong tone.

So, just because you might write your own blog its not a good enough reason though not to seek the services of a proofreader to make you blog better.

Below are some of the professionals who leverage proofreading services:

  • Bloggers
  • Authors
  • Small businesses
  • Social media marketers
  • Publishers
  • Marketers
  • Students
  • Web content creators
  • Copywriters
  • Small businesses
  • Brands

To propel yourself to be a professional proofreader, you have to settle on a combination of niches to market yourself in or even settle on a specific niche from the ones listed above.

How should I choose a specific niche?

Some times when starting you might find that finding a niche might be hard. Try what you have a passion in or you could try some of the below.

Here are some suggestions you might want to consider trying out:

  • e-Books
  • Transcripts
  • Press releases
  • Whitepapers
  • Marketing materials
  • Resumes
  • Contracts
  • Academic papers

Needless to say, the list above is by no means exhaustive. To get started in choosing the right niche, pick one that you deem most comfortable with.

You might even find yourself settling for one you did not like before. As a matter of fact, you can always extend to other niches later on. You are however advised to start with one and then expand thereafter.

finding Proofreading Jobs Online?

If you have progressed to this point, you are ready to get to know where exactly you might find these jobs online. These jobs are everywhere on the internet.

Indeed, just about every other website or blog might normally need the services of a proofreader.

Some of the sites with the highest concentration of the proofreading jobs at the moment are:


This is by far the largest freelancing marketplace. In case you want to attempt this feat, this could as well be the best platform to consider trying out on. How does the platform work?

Step I: Clients post their jobs on the platform.

Step II: Freelancers like you respond to the jobs by submitting the proposals.

Step III: The clients then read through the proposals and then select the freelancers they are comfortable with.

Submitting proposals is free-of-charge. The platform, however, takes a 10% commission on all the payments you receive. To position yourself strategically for these proofreading jobs, you have to fill out your profile completely.

You also have to submit proposals that stand out of the pack. Some of the best practices you have to keep in mind while doing this are:

  • Let the clients know what you might do for them as a matter of priority
  • Showcase to them your skills and expertise
  • Finish off with a call to action (use phrases like hire me, contact me, and so on.)

To boost your chances of being hired for work, you are strongly advised to take the US English Proofreading Skills Test (Chicago). Upwork administers this test free-of-charge.

You can also display your results of the test on your profile. By taking this test and displaying the results, you will earn greater credibility as a professional proofreader.

This is because most clients will often inquire from you about the kinds of tests you have already taken on the site which have a bearing on your skills and suitability for the given tasks at hand.

By taking this test, you will also likely stand out as the skilled proofreader they require.

Before taking the test, you will observe that it displays the contents of the tests on the right-hand side. The tests are styled around the Chicago Manual Style.

It is necessary that you familiarize yourself with the guide before taking the test. The guide is indeed comprehensive and touches on everything from the task of formatting the book titles to the use of the punctuation in list and so on.

You can also reference the guide while taking the test. It is, however, more important to be comfortable with it before starting out.

In case you do not perform well on the test, worry not. You may choose not to display the results on your public profiles. What’s more? You may even study and re-take the test after 30 days!

Job Boards

A plethora of online platforms does exist where proofreading jobs may be posted.

Examples of these include the ProBloggers. You are advised to check it out every quite often several times in a typical week. In most cases, jobs are filled quickly due to the high volumes of applicants.

To find the right job, try searching for ‘proofreader’ in the ‘what’ box and key in ‘remote’ in the ‘where’ box. This search criterion will normally produce a number of remote proofreading jobs on the online platforms.

While applying for these jobs, remember to customize your resumes to the individual listing. You should also always carry out a thorough due diligence before submitting your application.

Remember also to disclose your personal information fully as well. In case something appears unrealistic or too good to be true, it probably is!

Proofreading and Editing Companies

There are quite a number of regular companies that post and recruit proofreaders and editors. To be eligible for employment by these companies, you will have to first and foremost sit several tests most via the online platform.

These companies often offer varying workloads. They are hence not so reliable for consistent pay and workflow.

Some of the top companies that offer these kinds of jobs are:

To save yourself a bit of time and effort, and avoid unnecessary frustrations in the process, you should read through each of the company’s qualifications before submitting your application.

Go Solo

In case you are interested in pursuing proofreading as a permanent and full-time career, you may also consider launching your own business. Starting out in this venture takes a bit of work and effort.

However, if you maintain a bit of consistency, effort, and hard work, you will indeed reap great success.

It is a good idea to create and launch your own website or blog rather than relying on already existing sites. This site or blog is your ‘business card’ as it enables you to easily market yourself to your prospects.

It also provides a convenient place where your clients might interact with you, have a peek at your work, and even allow you to set your own rates.

Resources and Courses to Guide your Proofreading Career Path

Go ahead and proofread anywhere you can learn the skills that a successful proofreader ought to possess. Do bear in mind that proofreading is not a profession for everyone.

This course that is precisely designed to acquaint the starters in the field of proofreading who are intent on making money with these skills.

It is a tool you inevitably have to check out before delving into the career of proofreading.

Do not forget also to sign up for the free General Proofreading web-based seminar. This seminar will show your 3 very important thing if you want to great at proofreading from home.

You may also sign up for the free trial version of the Kindle Unlimited to let you read helpful e-Books such as ‘How to start a successful Proofreading Business’ and the ‘The Pockets of Proofreading: A Guide to Freelance Proofreading and Editing.’

If you think this may be a step too far for you then try check out our article on transcription companies. Its requires accuracy and good typing speeds.



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