Can I be a proofreader without experience?

Last Updated on September 29, 2021 by Ludiah

Everyone has to start somewhere. Proofreading can be an intimidating field in which to get your feet wet. With so many people asking can I be a proofreader without experience, your first impression of the title might be to think, of course, you can’t proofread without experience. But don’t worry! I’m here to tell you that it is actually possible.

So, can I be a proofreader without experience? Yes, you can be a proofreader without experience, but there are several things to keep in mind. First of all, if you want to land an entry-level job as a proofreader, then yes, you can potentially get that position with no previous work experience.

However, this doesn’t mean that the client will look at your proposal and say “great, I can tell by looking at his cover letter she is highly qualified for the position of a proofreader.” Because of how competitive today’s remote market is (that would be an understatement) and due to the fact that they receive dozens of applications for any given job opening (and sometimes even more), many clients want you to demonstrate that you’re the best.

Can I be a proofreader without experience?

Yes. There are many ways to become a proofreader without experience whatsoever. The following is a list of ways in which you can make money as a proofreader before you have any proofreading experience.

Can I be a proofreader without experience?

How to become a proofreader without experience

When you’re ready to get paid to proofread, here’s what you need to know:

Study the basics of grammar and writing for at least a couple of months

If your grammar is not that great, and by this, I mean that mistakes such as these are regular occurrences:
✅Misspelled words
✅Comma splices
✅Run-on sentences,
✅Bad word choices (for example, there vs. their), etc.,
Then you’ll want to work on improving that first. If you can’t even write properly, then what makes you think you can catch someone else’s mistakes?

Get yourself a copy of William Strunk’s Elements of Style

Can I be a proofreader without experience?

This book will teach you how to avoid the most common errors in writing. If you struggle with grammar, this book will also help to improve your overall writing skills.

Read for at least 30 minutes per day

This can help to improve your reading speed and concentration skills. These skills that are imperative for any proofreader who wants to be successful at their job. Once you become a pro at reading for long periods of time without losing focus or getting bored, then it’s time to read something more challenging.

For example, try reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This novel is not considered an easy read due to the use of complex phrases and vocabulary words, but don’t give up! With enough practice, you’ll get through it in no time and earn yourself some bragging rights (not to mention a greater understanding of the English language).

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Read articles from different publications

Spend some time reading articles from different publications such as the Economist, Business Insider, and various editorials from different newspapers. This will help you to have a good idea about how materials should be styled for publication. And if you can’t find any articles to read on your own, just wait, they’re coming! There are many sites on the internet full of content written by people who don’t know what they’re doing. You’ll learn more than you’ve ever imagined through their lack of proper style and structure.

Start applying for proofreading jobs online

Make sure that as soon as you complete step number four (or even earlier) you start looking for proofreading gigs online. Check out this article for additional tips on finding online proofreading jobs for beginners.
Visit those sites daily so that you can keep up with the latest job postings.

Share your completed work with experts for review

Show your completed work to everyone or experts around you who will listen if they are willing to review it. Whether it is through email, Facebook, Twitter, or even just conversations with your family and friends. Get feedback on your edits from as many people as possible because the more eyes you have looking over your work, the less likely you are to miss something important.

Enroll for this free workshop

become a proofreader without experience

Another way to become a proofreader without experience is to learn how to be one. You can do so by signing up for Catlin Pyle’s free proofreading workshop here.

How to apply for for proofreading jobs online

Once you’re ready to begin applying for proofreading jobs online, there are several things I suggest that you do in order to maximize your chances of getting hired by clients:

Create a cover letter template

Keep your cover letter short and make sure you elaborate on the skills you possess that directly apply to the job posting. You can do this by doing one or all of the following:

  • List specific things that you love about proofreading. Make it personal! If you’re answering an ad for a certain company or business, mention why they’re so awesome and how much you would enjoy working with them.
  • Mention what interests you most about the opportunity itself. For example, if the opportunity entails editing articles written around a certain topic, mention how much fun it is to read different perspectives on similar topics. By doing so, the client knows they are not just hiring who enjoys reading books or articles, but who enjoys reading a specific kind of book or article (specific content).
  • Write about why you would be perfect for the position. This ties in with number one. Mention all of the awesome things you know how to do and why they apply directly to what the client is looking for.

Create your own website

This is so that clients can refer back to it once they hire you. If they like your work, chances are they’ll want to hire you again, and having a website will make sure that when they need another trustworthy proofreader in the future, they’ll come straight to you! Here’s a quick post on why you need a website as a proofreader.

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Also, if you’re ready to create a website, use WP Engine – Get 3 months free on WP Engine’s new eCommerce plans with coupon code ecommwpe10

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Finetune your resume & cover letter at all times

Make sure that when applying for jobs, your cover letter and resume are perfect (compared to the rest of the candidates). Don’t settle with anything less than what you know you deserve. This is key in making clients take notice and want to work with you. Make them feel they need you more than you do.

Keep in mind that there will be lots of competition out there when looking for proofreading gigs on fiverr or anywhere. So, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again! If you’re serious about getting hired as a freelance proofreader, then you must show potential clients that they can trust hiring you without feeling like they may get cheated or ripped off in any way.

As long as you keep practicing and apply yourself 100%, it is only a matter of time until someone takes notice and hires you to proofread their work. So, can I be a proofreader without experience? Yes, you can if you follow the above steps. Good luck!

Can I be a proofreader without experience?

If you’ve never been paid for proofreading and editing, then no. If however, you have done it privately (e.g., correcting your sister-in-law’s spelling on her Facebook post), then yes. Just like any other job, the only way to get hired is to get your foot in the door through either working for free or by proving that you can do it well enough so that whoever is hiring will trust you with their work.

How to prove your credibility when applying for proofreading jobs

The second part of this question has already been answered at great length throughout this article so I’m going to focus more on how to prove your credibility when applying for a proofreading job.

Create a cover letter template

Proofreading is all about attention to detail, consistency, and communication; your cover letter is the perfect opportunity to let clients know that you possess these skills (and then some). When writing this template (which you should use when applying for jobs), make sure that you mention the following:

  • Your passion for reading or writing
  • Why exactly it is that you enjoy proofreading or editing
  • What interests you most about the job itself
  • Why you would be the best person for the position.

You can find more advice on how to ace an interview online. However, here are a few key points:

  • Make sure your cover letter isn’t too long. Stick to one page and keep it at three to four paragraphs long. Clients usually don’t enjoy reading too much and they especially do not want to hire someone who is going to take up a lot of their time.
  • Proofread your cover letter! This includes spell checking, grammar checking, AND getting someone else to read through it as well (ideally an English speaker with excellent writing skills). You’re are a proofreader, right? If you are basing your cover letter around how much you love reading or writing, mention what kinds of books or articles you like best so the reader knows exactly what kind of writing styles you prefer. You can find some general advice on how to write a resume here: How To Write A Resume.
  • Every time that I proofread a document, I have to have complete peace of mind that the client is completely satisfied with the final product. When you proofread something for someone else, it’s their name on the line, not yours. So, don’t take this responsibility lightly and never deliver anything less than your best work.
  • In your cover letter, mention how much experience you have proofreading or editing as well as what types of documents you’re most comfortable proofreading (e.g., resumes, contracts, articles, etc.).
  • Make sure to include any experience (no matter how small) that you’ve had working in an office environment, using computers and other software, or attending meetings.
  • Consider taking a course. Taking a course on proofreading isn’t expensive and it will provide you with the skills needed to land that dream job. These days, many of them are even offered online so you don’t have to leave your home in order to take one.
  • Try getting an internship. Some businesses or companies are willing to take on interns, especially if they are short on staff members or need some extra help for a limited time period (e.g., during the busy season). If you’re able to prove yourself as valuable during this time, then there’s a chance that they’ll want to keep you around after the internship is over!
  • Volunteer or swap your services. It can be difficult to find people who either need an editor or are willing tswap or hire one for free. However, there are many websites where you can volunteer your services. One of the most popular ones is Fiverr, but you’ll also find other sites like PeoplePerHour
  • Reach out to small businesses who might need someone on a part-time basis (bonus points if they’re working in their own office). You can find these companies by searching through business directories or by asking friends & family members if they know anyone who could use an editor.
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Do not be afraid! The job market is tough right now, so it’s important that you don’t let this stop you from reaching your goal of being hired as a proofreader. The more you apply to jobs, the more your chances of getting hired?

Conclusion

Can I be a proofreader without experience? Yes. All that’s required is a love of reading and writing and a desire to be the best person for the job. There are many ways to get experience (e.g., internships, courses, volunteering, etc.) some that require more time & money than others. However, don’t let this discourage you from reaching your goal! Anyone with the capabilities mentioned, can be a proofreader given the right motivation and desire!

Good luck!

About the author

A writer, virtual assistant, course creator, and go-getter. I'm also the CEO of Writers & Spire. I am here to inspire you to greater heights. I believe in having a good time while doing what I love. And yes, I do love what I do and the freedom that comes with it.

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