Case study

Proofreader — Hayley Williams

Previously a childminder, Hayley trained to be a proofreader in 2022, building experience that led to paid freelance work and then a full-time, permanent in-house role

What degree did you study?

I completed a degree in International Relations at the University of Sussex and then went straight on to do an MA in Social and Political Thought at the same university.

How did you get into proofreading?

I did the Essential Proofreading qualification with The Publishing Training Centre. This is an online, tutor-assessed course which took me about nine months and around six to eight hours a week to complete, alongside my previous work as a childminder.

After I gained this qualification in early 2022, I spent lots of time networking, mainly on LinkedIn. I tried to make new contacts by blogging and searching for like-minded people. I also utilised existing contacts - shamelessly putting myself forward for any work I could get to gain experience.

I offered my skills for free initially, which gave me experience and led to some paid freelance work. I then held down three jobs, working over 50 hours a week, while I transitioned from my previous career as a childminder to my dream proofreading role. I’m also a single mum.

I now work for MindGym, where I began as one of several freelancers. When I heard that they wanted a permanent full time member of staff, I put myself forward and got the job.

What is a typical working day as a proofreader like?

I'm very busy most days, proofreading and editing a range of materials in both British and US English. I'm fully remote, but I do visit the London office from time to time. I proofread all of our online training content as well as other company documents and reports. My job is purely proofreading, but it has extended to involve editing to a degree.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I started in May 2022 as a proofreader and I have expanded this to become far more involved in editing, offering wording, sentence and structural suggestions. I only switched to this career path two years ago, so my ambitions are to enjoy my work and fulfil my duties professionally.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love words and I love reading, so this is my absolute dream job. I most enjoy losing myself in the materials, giving them a good polish and spotting things that might have caused issues had they not been identified.

What are the biggest challenges?

I'd say perhaps my biggest challenge could be getting over impostor syndrome as that's a very real condition.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into proofreading?

  • Enrol on a course with one of the top two training providers - CIEP or PTC.
  • Read widely about both the subject and just generally.
  • Question everything.

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