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What does a Proofreader do?

Learn all about Proofreader duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Proofreader.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A proofreader is someone who reads over a piece of writing to find and correct any errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

Proofreader job duties include:

  • Read copy to be proofread for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  • Mark errors on proof using standard proofreading symbols
  • Compare revised proofs with original copy to make sure all changes have been made
  • Verify that changes made by typesetters or others are correct
  • Check for inconsistencies in hyphenation, numbers, and fonts
  • Ensure that text flows smoothly and logically from one page to the next
  • Make suggestions for improving the overall clarity and effectiveness of the copy
  • Proofread advertising materials such as flyers, brochures, and catalogs
  • Read aloud from proofs to identify errors that might not be apparent when reading silently

Proofreader Job Requirements

Proofreaders are responsible for reviewing and editing written material to ensure accuracy and clarity. They typically work in a variety of industries, such as publishing, advertising, and marketing. While some proofreaders are self-employed, most work for a company on a full-time or part-time basis.

Most proofreaders have at least a bachelor's degree in English or another relevant field. In addition, many employers require proofreaders to have experience working in a related field, such as copywriting or editing. Some companies also require proofreaders to be certified by the American Copy Editors Society or the American Proofreading Association.

Proofreader Skills

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Syntax
  • Consistency
  • Formatting
  • Layout
  • Readability
  • Flow
  • Style
  • Repetition

Related: Top Proofreader Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Proofreader

Proofreading is the process of reading a document carefully to find and correct errors. Proofreaders look for misspellings, typos, and grammatical errors. They also check for consistency in style and formatting.

To become a proofreader, you need to have strong attention to detail and a keen eye for spotting errors. You should also be able to read quickly and accurately. It helps to be familiar with the style guide of the publication or company you’re proofreading for.

If you’re interested in becoming a proofreader, there are a few things you can do to get started. First, brush up on your grammar skills. There are many resources available online and in libraries to help with this. Next, start reading as much as you can—newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, etc. Pay attention to how words are spelled and used correctly in different contexts. Finally, practice proofreading by finding errors in sample documents or practice exercises.

As you gain experience, you may want to specialize in a particular type of proofreading, such as copy editing or line editing. Or you may choose to work as a freelance proofreader, which allows you more flexibility in terms of hours and location. Whichever path you choose, being a successful proofreader takes practice, patience, and precision.

Related: Proofreader Resume Example

Related: Proofreader Interview Questions (With Example Answers)