Our proofreading and editing course will equip you with the editorial skills you need to become a certified proofreader and copy editor. This online proofreading course will show you how to correct printed documents and webpages, and make them readable and legally compliant.
In the final lesson you will also learn how to find proofreading and editing work and how to build your own business, but here are a few tips to get you started:
Learn to work quickly
Proofreaders and editors generally have to work against very tight deadlines. It’s part of the job description, and clients expect a consistently high standard of accuracy.
But, there are ways of making sure that the quality of your work remains high.
Make sure that you practise proofreading and editing until you can work at the industry speeds.
Complex: 800 words per hour.
Simple: 1,600 words per hour.
Complex: 2,000 words per hour.
Simple: 4,000 words per hour.
Learn to work efficiently
Following a set routine will go a long way to boosting your efficiency.
- Find a quiet place to work, and make sure that you are not interrupted. Turn off all phones and other distractions, put a “Do not disturb” sign on the door or near your desk, and instruct people not to speak to you.
- Have your tools (dictionary, style guide, pens, etc,) nearby. Check that pens and other equipment work.
- Then, recollect work you have done for this client before, if any. What were the main problems and weaknesses? These are the things to focus on.
- Then, use spellcheck. Most browsers have them for webpages, too. Grammarly is a good option, too, for documents and webpages.
- Use a style editing tool like PerfectIt. This is essential when you are up against a deadline. It will save you lots of time.
- Check your apostrophes. You can find them with the “Ctrl + F” search feature.
- Read the copy aloud or use a text-to-speech converter. This will help you to find awkward sentences and grammar errors.
Practise, practise, practise
You cannot expect to work well under pressure without practice. So, here are some aspects to work on:
- Pay attention to your personal weaknesses. Identify the things you miss, work out why you miss them and practise until you correct them. The same applies to areas in which you work slowly.
- Hold practice sessions. Set yourself proofreading and editing tasks with tight deadlines. Self-assess each one. What went well? What went badly? What did you miss? Examine how you reacted. Did panic take over? Did you rush things? Find solutions to correct weaknesses like this.
- Create working procedures and practise them so you can use them reliably under pressure.
Find proofreading work
You may have enrolled on this course with the aim of getting a job as a proofreader or copy editor, or to become a freelancer.
There has never been a better time to start out. Think of those millions of webpages out there. Most of them need proofreading or editing.
Many of our graduates have successfully set up their own proofreading businesses after completing the course. Others have found jobs or used their skills and qualifications to gain promotions or add value to their CVs. Some proofread at work and do freelance work in their spare time to make some extra money.
Our graduates have proved an important point: if you really want to find proofreading work, you will. But, if you are not prepared to put in the time and effort, success will be hard to come by.
It’s important to start your proofreading and editing career from a realistic place. This course has given you the foundations, but you probably will not start proofreading bestselling novels from day one.
Like most things in life, you will need to start from the bottom and work up, gaining experience and contacts along the way. If you are proficient and extremely determined, you will succeed.
You will need to be patient, persistent and prepared to cope with rejections before good opportunities open up for you.
See our proofreading and editing course