Fancy being a part-time proofreader?

Fancy being a part-time proofreader?

Working part-time from home in professional proofreading has much appeal about it for retirees or mature workers. There is, of course, no physical toll on the body so seniors have no restrictions here.

The hours can be flexible and many proofreaders work as little or as much as they like in any given week.

A proofreader will work under time restriction and will mark up any content that needs correcting, provide it to the appropriate party for correction, and follow up to ensure that corrected copy is indeed corrected prior to passing along for final publication.

Below is a short guide for retirees and seniors who are interested in working as a professional proofreader.

What are the Requirements to become a Proofreader?

Most proofreaders are trained during employment, as opposed to having a specific degree or certification. Attention to detail and prior experience are two qualities that are the basic foundation for the role.

Three key skills are complements to the basic qualities for the job: speed, accuracy and spelling.

Speed is the ability to identify mistakes in a timely manner. Proofreaders are judged on accuracy, but all publications do not have much lead time for the proofreader to use in the process of scanning for errors. Therefore, the time taken is an important sub-skill for the job.

Accuracy means knowing what is out of place or incorrect in the first place. Sometimes an improper graphic might be used, which would require immediate correction by the graphic artist or other relevant party. If you know how to ferret out mistakes accurately, it is germane to the role.

Spelling and context is the third critical skill. Most programs have spelling correction these days, but few will know the proper context for “to,” “too” and “two.” A good proofreader can identify contextual errors and misspellings that are not caught by conventional means, such as “Schmidt” vs. “Smith.”

Where can I find jobs and resources?

Useful resources:

National Careers Service guide to proofreading careers

Louise Harnby’s Proofreading Parlour blog

Society for Editors and Proofreaders

Agencies who are currently advertising for recruitment:

Quality Proofreading

Libro Editing

Search ‘proofreading agency’ in Google to find many more.

How do I Prepare for the Interview?

If you can, find practice tests, whether free or not. These can assist you in becoming familiar with fairly typical proofreading workflows. Having this knowledge and comfort can be invaluable for the interview.

In addition, read up on the publication process in order to understand your potential role better. You would come in toward the tail-end of the process, but in an invaluable role to the consistency and quality of the product.

If you have the opportunity, you might ask the perspective employer for information on the codes they use in marking up copy. Familiarity there might be an asset in preparing.

What are keys to Success in the Interview?

Be calm under pressure. You cannot underestimate the need for a relaxed proofreader in the face of a publication time crunch.

Experience counts. Understand that any prior experience in roles requiring analysis, layout and/or writing will aid in attaining the job. Knowing how to identify mistakes can come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Chances are strong you will have one which can make you a potential asset for the role.

Above all, be confident in your ability to bring the desired skills to bear immediately and with quality to the perspective employer.