I recently received a call from a woman looking to become a proofreader. She wanted advice to break into the field. It had been a while since I have received this type of call, but this is a call that I do receive periodically.
When I receive this type of call, I recommend they join at least one association and in the discussion list and any trainings the association may offer. While rarely is a degree or certificate involved with the completion of the training, these classes are beneficial because they are taught by professionals in the field who have direct, regular, and current experience and knowledge in the industry.
In addition, I recommend they attend in-person events so they can network with colleagues and pass out (and collect) business cards.
Finally, I recommend they review my resume. I don’t know their entire background, but I share my resume so they can see how I got where I am. Then they can use my resume to gain ideas about where to go next. My resume includes potential conferences to attend, classes to take, certificates to complete, or degrees to pursue.
When someone looking to enter your field contacts you, what are some recommendations you share?
April Michelle Davis has been the executive director of the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) since 2018. Prior to that, she was NAIWE’s Social Media Marketing Expert. NAIWE is an association that focuses on career building for writers, editors, and other professionals in the publishing industry by developing multiple streams of income; it helps its members market their products and services through social media, newsletters, and more.
She is also the coordinator for the Virginia chapter of the Editorial Freelancers Association, a lifetime member of the American Copy Editors Society, and a freelance editor, indexer, proofreader, and author. April Michelle has taught courses through her own company, Editorial Inspirations, as well as for associations and colleges on topics such as editing, indexing, grammar, writing, and creating macros.
Her credentials include a master’s degree in publishing from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Messiah College, as well as certificates in editing (University of Virginia), book publishing (University of Virginia), and professional editing (EEI Communications).
April Michelle has shared her insights about her career development by contributing quotes and vignettes to several books. She has presented sessions on various editorial topics to many groups, including the Virginia Writers Club, the Communication Central conference, Randolph-Macon College, the Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, the EFA, Copyediting newsletter, RavenCon, and the Hanover Book Festival. In addition, April Michelle has published three books.