I’ve been providing editorial services with my home-based business, including that of proofreading, for years. I have a “feast or feast” business. I constantly have work coming in. But there was once a time when I had no experience, absolutely nothing. I lucked out in that I took a job with a major newspaper, and some of the job included proofreading print ads. I put that on my resume. But essentially, that wasn’t enough.
Proofreading gigs typically involve anything but proofreading print ads that go in newspapers. Thus, people seeking proofreaders aren’t too impressed if this is your only proofreading experience. So what did I do? I decided to become a volunteer proofreader for a local magazine.
I then put this on my resume. People reviewing my resume had no idea that I was not paid to proofread this magazine. This was the only launching pad I needed, because from that point on, I was able to gradually land proofreading gigs.
But don’t stop at just one volunteer stint. Offer free proofreading for several publications. Begin by looking in the Yellow Pages under “publications” and “periodicals.” Then start calling them. Many will happily take you on as a free proofreader.
Many convenience stores have free magazines and real estate or apartment-finding publications. Take some home and contact the editors or publishers. See if they’d like a volunteer proofreader. Contact charitable organizations as well, since they often produce brochures and pamphlets. You’ll be up to your neck in volunteer work, but when you list all these publications and organizations on your resume, it will look very impressive to businesses seeking to hire proofreaders.
Now, to get paying jobs, again, start with the Yellow Pages. Don’t just rely on the Internet. Many businesses that need proofreaders do not advertise on the Internet. Call every periodical and publishing company, and ask, “Who can I speak to about finding out if you hire freelance proofreaders?” Chances are, you will be connected to the publisher, owner or managing editor. Do not settle for human resources. All they’ll do is take your message and you’ll probably never hear back from them.
Next, scour the help wanted ads in the Sunday newspaper, and I don’t just mean “editor” jobs, either. Look under the “marketing” and “communications” categories, as well as “graphic design” or “artist.” Business that seek marketing, communications or graphics work, produce all sorts of in-house literature as well as advertising material. They need proofreaders!
Contact the marketing department of every hospital in your area! Hospital marketing departments produce tons of literature. Ask for the marketing director. See if they hire on a freelance basis.
Contact not-for-profit organizations. They, too, produce a lot of literature. Go after legal publishing companies and law firms. Large law firms have word processing departments and need proofreaders. And of course, scour the Internet. There truly are tons of proofreading gigs advertised in cyberspace. The problem here, though, is that thousands of other ‘Net surfers will be applying for the same gigs as you are. This is why you may have a lot more luck applying locally to businesses such as hospitals, disability resource centers, local chapters for major disease organizations, and the marketing departments of local corporations.
Also look in the Yellow Pages under “marketing,” “advertising” and “communications.” Then go after them. Keep a list of promising leads, and just keep going after them until you make live phone contact with the decision maker.