Kateproof offers an affordable and efficient proofreading service

New to proofreading...?

Posted on 15th August 2011

I recently received an email including a CV from an 'experienced proofreader' who is a British national living abroad asking me if I need a proofreader.

I realise this tactic for finding work is quite common when people are starting out as some proofreaders sub-contract or pass work on, so I am not criticising the idea of getting in touch, I just have a few hints.

  • Firstly, check the person's website before making contact - if the person who emailed me had actually looked at my site, he would see that I am a 'one woman band' and don't sub-contract. If I do need to pass work on due to already being busy or going on holiday, then I would only ever pass contact details of proofreaders I know and can recommend. As part of a local group of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, I have a decent set of people I would happily suggest to a client so would never pass on the details of someone I only know via an unsolicited email.
  • Do I need to say this? Evidently so. Check the email before you send it! I couldn't believe the person's email because some of the errors were so basic: 'a English-language teacher' is an example.
  • Be consistent with how you write proofreader/proofreading etc. I personally prefer (and think it should be) one word, but if you're going to hyphenate it, at least be consistent. I had proofreading, proof-reading and proof reader in one email.
  • When getting the email address for someone, get their name too. My name is in my company name and email address therefore addressing me as "Dear Sir or Madam" puts me off before I have even read anything else. Although I don't sub-contract, I don't mind receiving emails from people starting out if they want advice or hints, but if you don't manage to put my name on the email, I probably won't reply.

I realise the editing and proofreading industry is competitive and difficult to get a foot in to start with and the right contacts can make the difference so feel free to get in touch, but please call me Kate and at least make me think you've looked at my website... I like to think my stats are doing well :)

Written by Kate Haigh.