The nitty-gritty: You don't have to be a professional scribe to find work in this arena. You do need a clear grasp of sentence and paragraph construction, spelling, grammar and punctuation. Jobs run the gamut from copyediting to proofreading, from résumé writing to technical editing. If you have expertise in a particular field or genre, that's all the better for opening doors.
Copy editors, proofreaders or writers, check out sites such as CareerBuilder for a range of postings for part-time writing and editing jobs, or Journalismjobs.com. Cybereditor.com offers assignments via RésuméEdge and EssayEdge, which provides tutoring for high school students. You can also set up your own shop to provide these résumé and essay-tuning services.
For more general writing gigs, EHow.com publishes how-to articles in a variety of categories. Other sites to consider: AssociatedContent.com, Seed.com and Helium.com. You might also reach out to local associations and organizations, community newsletters and other regional publications. Ask if they need an extra hand on an assignment basis for online and print articles, brochures and press releases.
The hours: Freelance writers and editors typically set their own schedules based on deadlines.
Median pay range: Project rates may vary between $15 and $40 an hour. For creating a polished résumé for a client, you might charge a base fee of $200. Some publishers pay freelance writers by the word or by the article, and that fluctuates widely depending on your background and experience, anywhere from 50 cents to $3 a word is not out of the ordinary. If you write for an online publisher, you might be paid solely based on the number of times Web visitors view your article or if the content is licensed to other publishers.
Qualifications: No formal training required. Employers often look for expertise in a variety of fields from health care to taxes. If you're interested in résumé and cover letter jobs, Certified Professional Résumé Writers and Nationally Certified Résumé Writers credentials might be required. For newsier publications, a grasp of the Associated Press Style or the Chicago Manual of Style might be necessary. Plus, Strunk & White's Elements of Style never goes out of style.
Kerry Hannon is the author of What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.
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