There are many advantages to life as a freelance editor. You can work from home, have flexible hours, and choose your clients. But the question remains: How do you become a freelance editor? Here are four tips to get your career as a freelance editor started.
Develop your skills
The first thing you need to be a freelance editor is, of course, editing skills.
If you’re just starting a career as an editor, you will need to learn what the job entails and develop the necessary skills. Many local colleges and professional training institutes provide courses that will teach you how to become a freelance editor. There are also many excellent online editing courses, such as EditingCamp. The advantage of an online training course is that you can work at home, at your own pace, and at the times that suit you. It’s almost like working as a freelance editor already.
Even if you already have extensive experience as an editor, it’s still a good idea to take a refresher grammar course. You could also expand the services you will offer as a freelancer by taking additional courses in related fields, such as a proofreading course.
Have a flawless résumé
When you apply for just about any job, you usually have to send in your résumé. As a freelance editor, you will need to send your résumé to almost every potential client. And, just like applying for any other job, you need to make sure your résumé stands out from the rest.
But remember, you’re selling yourself as a freelance editor, as someone who can spot a single misplaced apostrophe in a 200-page document. It won’t matter how much experience you have or how carefully crafted your résumé is; if there is just one tiny typo in there, you’re unlikely to ever get that job.
One simple tip to make sure you have an error-free résumé: ask someone else to edit it.
It is always useful to have that extra pair of eyes look over anything you’ve written, and it’s especially important when you’re applying for jobs as a freelance editor.
If you don’t know any other editors who can check your résumé, or you don’t want to alert any of your coworkers that you’re thinking of working freelance, try an online editing service. Look for a fast, reliable service that offers confidentiality.
Show samples of your work
A great way for a freelance editor to back up a flawless résumé is to have a portfolio of previous work. If potential clients can see that you have tackled similar work before and did a good job on it, they will be even more likely to hire you.
Gather some representative samples of the type of work you typically do or would like to work on as a freelance editor. It usually isn’t necessary to show the entire document. Two or three pages of each type of work you specialize in will be enough.
One way to provide samples is to show the original unedited document and then show your corrected version. You could also include a copy that shows all the changes and comments you made using the “Track Changes” feature in Microsoft Word.
If you’re just starting out as a freelance editor and don’t yet have anything to fill your portfolio, you could offer a discount on your services or do some free editing for friends, local businesses, or community groups.
Promote yourself with a website
Don’t just keep that carefully prepared portfolio waiting until a client asks to see it. Build a website and show off your skills as a freelance editor to the world. You never know, the clients might come to you. You don’t need to have a complicated website with dozens of pages employing the latest in Internet technology. Use a simple design with a page about yourself, your experience, and the services you offer, and display your samples clearly. Do some research to get some search engine optimization tips, making your website more attractive to potential customers. Don’t worry if you’re better at editing than writing. Many content writing services are available online and can provide you with text tailored exactly to your needs.
If you follow these four tips, you’ll quickly learn how to become a freelance editor. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to start looking for clients and building a career as a freelance editor. And remember those online editing services mentioned earlier? They’re also great places to get work on a freelance basis. Why not start there? You might never need to go hunting for clients again.