Here are a few tips for finding freelance jobs and making yourself stand out in the crowd.
1) Make yourself marketable
- Get certified in something that could set you apart from the field.
- Get certified in indexing through the American Association of Indexing
- Get certified in the use of software that you frequently use, like Microsoft Office or Adobe InDesign.
- Consider taking certification to the next level and getting a graduate degree in editing and publishing through a school like Portland State University
- You can attend summer institutes, which will develop your understanding of editing and give you networking opportunities
- Create a website that advertises the services that you offer, as well as your credentials and some sample work.
- Especially when you are just starting out, it is not a good idea to be too picky about what you will edit. You may not start out with novels, but with some time and experience you can get there.
Knowledge of the Industry
- Use resources like Literary Marketplace and Publisher’s Weekly to maintain a current understanding of issues in the publishing industry.
2) Create a killer résumé.
- Keep your previous experience list current and add to it whenever possible, even if that means taking a low-paying job here or there (at least when you are starting out).
- Have a work sample, with both a section of edited text and an explanation of your edits, prepared to go along with your résumé or to offer to potential clients.
- Choose the format of your resume carefully.
- If you have had work before, emphasize your previous experience.
- If you are just starting out, emphasize your skills and qualifications.
- Order information from most relevant to the least relevant, according to your prospective client.
3) Find the jobs.
- Online job sites and forums
- Join a site like Writer’s Weekly, or Elance, but remember that you should avoid paying for access to jobs.
- You may also consider the “Writing Gigs” section of Craigslist
- Be careful as you obtain jobs from this source, ensuring first and foremost that you have set clear boundaries and provisions before signing onto a job.
- Word of Mouth
- Use your connections within the industry.
- Create a reputation for doing quality work so that companies and publishers will keep you on file.
- When you are just starting out, offer discounts in return for references from your clients.
- Individual Companies
- It never hurts to offer your services or to ask if a company if they are looking for freelance help.
For more information:
- TCU Career Services: https://careers.tcu.edu/students/TCU_cs_guides_resume.pdf
- “An Interview with Michael LaRocca” at Selloutyoursoul.com
- “Copy Editing Explained” at WAHM.com
- “How to Find Freelance Copy Editing Jobs” at eHow.com
- The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller
By Grace Palmer, Senior TCU English Major