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What's Involved in Proofreading Jobs?


When looking for work that can be done from home, job seekers occasionally run across listings for proofreading jobs. Provided that you have the right skill set for the work, proofreading jobs can actually be a decent way to earn some extra money; unfortunately, not everyone fully understands what’s involved in doing proofreading for another person or company. This can result in problems with potential clients and may even cause you to not be paid for work that you’ve done because it wasn’t done according to the client’s expectations.

Though some people will use the terms interchangeably, proofreading jobs are actually significantly different than editing jobs. If you are hired to proofread documents then in most cases you won’t be expected to make edits or corrections to the documents; a separate editor will have already done that. Your job as a proofreader is to check for grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors that slipped past the editor and mark them so that they can be corrected in a final round of editing before the document is ready for publication. Depending on who you’re working for you may then be asked to proofread the edited version again to make sure that nothing else was missed when making the corrections.

When you are hired for proofreading jobs you typically receive the documents you are proofreading in their final form. They may be delivered as a Word document, a PDF or in some cases even as a printed document that you have to proofread by hand. For true proofreading you are expected to use standard proofreading markup in the program that the document is native to, marking errors appropriately so that the editor can adjust the document as needed.

Of course, some clients that hire people for proofreading jobs don’t fully understand the difference between proofreading and editing and actually want someone to edit the document. When inquiring about a proofreading job it’s important to ask exactly what you will be expected to do; find out whether the client wants you to only do proofreading or if you are expected to make changes to the document to correct any errors that you find. When making your inquiry, simply point out that you occasionally encounter opportunities labeled as proofreading jobs that really want more extensive editing and say that you want to make sure that you know what is expected of you in the advertised position.

It may take some effort to find steady work-at-home opportunities with proofreading jobs, though if you impress a company or client with your work then they may contact you again the next time there is proofreading work available to see if you are interested. In some cases, proofreading jobs done for private clients and other companies may lead to an offer of full-time employment at a publishing house or other company that requires a significant amount of proofreading work. Good proofreaders can be hard to come by, so taking the time to master the art of proofreading is important if you hope to make proofreading your career.



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