Consider the many different careers in proofreading
Proofreading requires specific skills. If you have decided you have the right temperament for checking other people’s writing, you should think about the different jobs available in proofreading so you can tailor your career path. Although proofreading requires the same skills no matter what job you take up, careers in proofreading can diverge depending on the individual’s professional goals.
The biggest influences on which career path you take are your lifestyle goals. Do you want to travel? Are you prepared to move to find the right job? Do you prioritize staying with your friends and family in your hometown? Ambitious people who prioritize their work above their personal life will likely look for different careers in proofreading than will those who are just looking for a steady income. Opportunities in proofreading exist all over the world, but they are not evenly spread out. Take stock of your priorities before you decide which of the many careers in proofreading you want to pursue.
In-house vs. freelance careers
The biggest difference in proofreading jobs lies in whether you want full-time employment or prefer to be flexible and work independently on short contracts. If you have relatives or children to take care of at home, you may prefer part-time or home-based work. These days, that does not necessarily mean you have to settle for freelance work. Some employers are happy to allow their employees to telecommute. Similarly, some freelance contracts require proofreaders to work in an office. Site-based and home-based jobs exist in both the in-house and freelance worlds. Careers in proofreading offer any combination of these possibilities.
If you went to college and earned a degree, you have the option of extending your studies by proofreading the work of academics. Careers in proofreading that focus on academic writing require adherence to a different set of style guidelines than those for general publications. This means that the academic world looks for proofreaders who have followed a specific career path and have résumés packed with academic proofreading experience. You don’t necessarily need to be freelance to follow this career path. If you live in a town that has a large university, there is likely an editorial services company nearby that can give you permanent work checking academic papers. Remember, though, that to build a career, rather than just getting a series of jobs, you need to be discerning about which jobs you apply for. Make sure they always fit into this category if you want to establish a career in academic proofreading.
Advertising agencies offer a variety of opportunities for careers in proofreading. Sales materials include advertisement copy, TV ad scripts, sales brochures, flyers and leaflets, and brand promotion. Always remember that, to forge a career, you may need to specialize. The advertising industry offers different kinds of work for those pursuing careers in proofreading, such as checking the persuasive text of ads and proofreading factual documents, bids, and specifications for accuracy.
When considering careers in proofreading, most people probably think of the publishing industry as a source of work. Publishing is still one of the main sources of work for proofreaders and is very diverse in the kinds of formats you can work in. Books, magazines, and newspapers all need to be checked for spelling and grammar. However, many proofreaders manage to do jobs without ever working on printed material. Material published online also needs to be proofread, which has opened up even more career opportunities. Remember, however, that it pays to specialize. Choose a career path, and stick to it.
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