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Indexer Job Description, Career as a Indexer, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

indexers freelance information documents

Training/Educational Requirements: Bachelor degree preferred

Median Salary: $45,000 annually

Job Prospects: Good

Job Description

Indexers review documents and compile indexes to make information searches easier. They work with any variety of documents in the review process including books, periodicals, websites, DVDs, manuscripts, reports, brochures, literature, and audio recordings. They spend much of their time reviewing these documents or files so they can use them for indexing purposes.

The purpose of an indexer’s job is to compile indexes so people can find information on a given topic quickly and easily. They take the guesswork out of the equation and spend time doing the research, making it easier for consumers. By doing so, any consumer can do a quick review of an index to see what information is available to them.

Indexers combine their skills with writing and editing, and are great assets to publishing companies. They evaluate different documents and come up with new themes or similarities for topics and information. They constantly work on compiling information and finding a good place for information sources. They spend much of their time reviewing, compiling, and determining an effective index for new and valuable information.

They must have good reading skills and retention, since they refer back to documents previously read. They need to make the job of a reader easier so the research is done for them, and an index is created. This involves a strong attention to detail, and ties in well with writing and editing skills.

Training/Educational Requirements

Most indexers have a bachelor’s degree, and though it is not required, it is usually strongly preferred. Indexers take training courses to help develop or sharpen their skills, which is recommended on a regular basis. Any training course in indexing is especially important at the beginning of a career. Although many universities don’t offer a specific degree in indexing, any related degree such as library science or language arts is helpful.

Though keeping up with training courses isn’t required, it is helpful. As many indexers begin to take on freelance opportunities, gaining experience within a variety of environments and types of work is helpful. It is important to keep up with the necessary skills, and training courses. There is the opportunity to become an accredited indexer, which adds to one’s credibility in this role.

How to Get Hired

The best way to get hired as an indexer is to have the necessary skills. Having the ability to quickly and effectively scan and read through documents is helpful. Having the ability to retain information and be able to reference it later is another excellent trait. To get hired as an indexer, it is important to be able to demonstrate these abilities, usually done through experience.

As many indexers are now working on a freelance basis, it is important to show experience and aptitude. Working to become a subject matter expert on a wide array of topics is excellent preparation. Showing a track record of happy customers is a great way to get hired by new clients. Showing examples of previous indexing work done is an excellent way to get hired. Oftentimes indexers work at publishing companies, or work in a writing or editing role, which are excellent ways to prepare for this field.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Although there may not be as much work at companies directly for indexers, this has become a rather lucrative freelance career. There are some publishing companies or even libraries that hire indexers, but the trend is definitely moving towards freelance work.

In this instance, the job prospects for indexers are very good. Those who have experience or interest working as an indexer on a freelance basis have great opportunities to keep working. Indexers who work in a writing and editing capacity increase their likelihood of having steady work. Any previous experience working as an indexer increases the chances of getting work and keeping clients.

Working Environment

The typical working environment for an indexer used to be at a library or publishing company. Although this can still be the case for some indexers, more and more are working on a freelance basis. In either case, indexers have an office where they concentrate and focus on the documents at hand. It’s important that the working environment, whether it is a home office or a business, be free of distractions. The indexer must be able to thoroughly and effectively read the documents, and develop indexes and reference back to materials.

Salary and Benefits

There is a wide salary range for indexers, and several different types of employment. Although the typical salary for an indexer is somewhere around $45,000 per year, this varies extensively. Not only do geographical location and experience play a factor, so does the type of employment. The range varies anywhere between $30,000 up to $80,000 a year at the high end. Working on a freelance basis or even part-time is a popular trend for indexers, therefore, the salary range is all over the board. Indexers can charge an hourly rate, which differs by client or project, or adjust their rates based on demand. If working in a full-time capacity, indexers usually receive a paid vacation and medical coverage. If working independently, part-time, or on a freelance basis, indexers are responsible for their own benefits.

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