Proofreaders looking for online work must gain experience and training, know common proofreading tools, find a niche and then apply for jobs. Online proofreading is a competitive field, but with the right preparation, proofreaders can distinguish themselves and find solid work.
Aspiring proofreaders with little or no professional experience can take proofreading courses to learn the basic practices of the profession. The Editorial Freelancers Association offers extensive proofreading courses both in person and online. Although these courses are not cheap, they can provide proofreaders with the skills they need to acquire work.
Professional proofreaders must be familiar with the most common software and techniques used in modern proofreading. A strong familiarity with Microsoft Word and its Track Changes feature is a must for any proofreader. Knowledge of different Word macros can also help proofreaders save time and work more efficiently.
Even if they have the skills, proofreaders often need an area of expertise or specialization in order to find work. Considering educational and work experience is a good tactic for proofreaders to narrow their focuses. Specialization can open up more work opportunities and better pay rates.
Proofreaders can seek out work through online freelance sites such as eLance and Upwork. These sites allow proofreaders to apply for freelance jobs, but can be quite competitive. Searching Craigslist or posting ads for services is another useful practice.