Skills That Every Proofreader Needs to Start a Career

The internet has opened the door to many exciting new career opportunities, and proofreading is one such profession. Proofreading requires a special set of skills to ensure accuracy and quality standards are met. But what do you need to become a proofreader?

Attention to Detail:

Perhaps most importantly, attention to detail allows you to spot mistakes that others may miss. A proofreader must have an eye for detail to spot spelling, grammar and factual errors.


As a proofreader, you will need to be patient in the face of difficult words, phrases and ideas. You should be able to remain calm under pressure and resist the temptation to rush through your work. The second you start to rush, you’ll gloss over glaring errors and your customer will not hire you again.


To manage multiple proofreading projects at a time, you’ll need to be organised. You will be expected to manage deadlines and efficiently keep track of documents. What if you have three deadlines on the same day? How will you manage your time? Especially when working from home, organisation is critical if you want to keep clients happy.


As a proofreader, you must understand the rules of English spelling, grammar, and punctuation. To have this knowledge, you should continue to enhance your skills through online courses or webinars. Also, you should also stay informed of new trends and techniques – while the fundamentals of the English language don’t change often, you might come across new words. With proofreading certificate programs, you’ll be in the best position to proofread effectively.

Communication: Clear communication is essential when working with clients or editors. Being able to communicate effectively can help you explain complex ideas concisely. Not every client will understand what you are saying, so it’s important to be patient and explain yourself thoroughly.

Creativity: Proofreading is not just about catching errors; sometimes, it’s also about finding solutions. Creative problem-solving skills will help you to come up with innovative ways of making documents easier to read. What’s more, when suggesting changes or edits, proofreaders must be able to think outside the box and provide alternative solutions for difficult passages.

Initiative: Every proofreader should take the initiative to learn about their profession. You might read books and articles, watch documentaries, or attend networking events to build your knowledge. With a proactive mindset, you will stay ahead of the competition and be in the best position to succeed as a proofreader. Elsewhere, you may need to take the initiative when interpreting the instructions of your client or making changes to the document.

Determination: With the internet as it is, you won’t be the only one going for jobs. You must be determined and willing to go out of your way to prove that you are the right person for the job. Once hired, it’s up to you to show your client that you can deliver great work and finish tasks on time. If you want to be a freelancer, you’ll need to fight for every client and it will take time to build your reputation.

By having this set of skills, a proofreader can make sure they meet quality standards and go beyond client expectations. With the right attitude and knowledge, a proofreader can build a successful career in this field. Get the right education, hone your craft, and you’ll soon be on the path of a new career!