“I would love to get paid to read books! But I don’t have any experience! Where to begin?”
The act of building proofreading experience is going to do two things for you. First, it’s going to teach you how to do the job. Second, it’s going to give you experience that you can put on your résumé in order to get more jobs.
- It’s going to teach you how to do the job
- It’s going to give you experience for your resume in order to get more jobs
This is one of those chicken and egg situations. How do you get a proofreading job without knowing how to proofread? And how do you learn how to proofread without doing proofreading jobs? You can take all the classes you want and read every “how-to” book on the market, but quite simply, you just need to begin. The best way to learn how to proofread is to dive right in, whether or not you know the proofreading symbols or how to employ them. Chances are, if you are dealing with local publications and personal material—which you will be doing—the people you will be working for won’t know how to interpret them anyway.
The purpose of these first jobs is for you to create a serviceable pool of experience that you can put on your first résumé. Keep a list of the jobs you complete as you are building experience.
Reach out- Get in Touch with Someone (in a Corona-approved Fashion)
You may have heard that everyone on Earth is separated from everyone else by no more than six relatives or friends. Take advantage of these six commas of separation through your immediate circle of associates. Networking through friends and family is a time-honored and non-threatening place to begin any experience-building adventure. Make contact with everyone listed in your Rolodex. Don’t dismiss anyone out of hand. You may be pleasantly surprised by who can help you.
When contacting your network, simply communicate the following: “Friends, I am beginning my proofreading career. Right now, to gain different kinds of experience, I’m looking for any sort of project that needs a second eye.” If you have friends in business, you can proofread their brochures, business cards, correspondence, or even a restaurant menu. A friend in school may need someone to look over a thesis or dissertation. Someone you know (or a “friend of a friend”) may even work in some sort of publishing job and will let you come in and trail them for a day. Or perhaps they will let you swing by and poke your head in on a project.
Let’s Get Loud
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If no one knows that you’ve decided to take on proofreading as a career change, no one will be able to help you. If you don’t get a response to your first assault, ask again. People need to be gently prodded. And prodded.
Boo-Boo, Thy Name Is Internet
The Internet is an incredible resource for practice materials, offering two great benefits: instant access and anonymity. And because you can communicate with people online through written correspondence, it is a very comfortable way to start practicing the skill of approaching unfamiliar people.
Have you ever found an error on a website? (Only once every five minutes, it seems!) There’s your opportunity to reach out and land yourself a job. Reach out, say hello, politely point out the error, and offer to proofread the entire site at a discounted, Coronavirus-friendly rate. You’ll be well on your way to earning income in your PJs.
As you build experience, you can build referrals, which leads to more work and more joy for your brain and your wallet.
Wishing you joy on your proofreading journey,
To find out more about how to get paid for proofreading, read Sue Gilad’s book Paid to Proofread. It reveals the secrets of becoming a professional proofreader, and how one can earn a six-figure income reading books before they get published. Readers will learn how to develop a competitive resume and cover letter, make contacts and foster relationships with potential employers, and use proofreading symbols effectively to correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The book also features proofreading tests for further practice. Gilad began freelance proofreading to subsidize her acting career in New York. During this time, she has proofread over 1200 books for Random House, Simon & Schuster, John Wiley & Sons, St. Martin’s Press, Oxford University Press, Workman Publishing and Kensington Publishing, among others. To purchase an electronic copy of Paid to Proofread for $24.99, please visit www.paidtoproofread.com. Print copies and a five-segment video course are also available for purchase.
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