A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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While the field of usability has existed for decades, the number and quality of careers in the field have greatly improved in the last 10-15 years. The long-term prognosis for the industry is good: there are constant opportunities in almost every industry since new products and technology come out all the time, in usability as well as user-centered design, interaction design and user experience design.



2007 Writing / Editing Average Salaries

This is a list of the average salaries for a number of writing and editing professions. The figures represent typical scales for a mid-sized metropolitan area in the United States. Larger markets tend to pay more and smaller markets tend to pay less. Remember that these are typical salaries for people who are employed by other companies. There is a much greater income variation among people who freelance or own their own businesses.

Hewitt, J.C. PoeWar (2007). Careers>Salaries>Editing>Writing


Abundance and Joy through Job Enrichment  (link broken)

With the economic crunch affecting the workplace, many of us are being asked to perform additional tasks while facing the same tight deadlines. Dealing with this stress sometimes makes me feel bogged down and stuck in a cycle of drudgery.

Azis, Denise. MetroVoice (2002). Careers>TC


Academic Cover Letters

When you're applying for a faculty position with a college or university, the cover letter is your first chance to make a strong impression as a promising researcher and teacher. Below you'll find some strategies for presenting your qualifications effectively in an academic context.

Purdue University (1998). Careers>Resumes>Cover Letters


The Academic Job Market in Technical Communication, 2002-2003   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Analysis of the academic job market in 2002-2003 reveals that 118 nationally advertised academic jobs named technical or professional communication as a primary or secondary specialization. Of the 56 in the "primary" category that we were able to contact, we identified 42 jobs filled, 10 unfilled, and 4 pending. However, only 29% of the jobs for which technical or professional communication was the primary specialization were filled by people with degrees in the field, and an even lower percent (25%) of all jobs, whether advertised for a primary or secondary specialization, were filled by people with degrees in the field. Search chairs report a higher priority on teaching and research potential than on a particular research specialization, and 62% of all filled positions involve teaching in related areas (composition, literature, or other writing courses).

Rude, Carolyn D. and Kelli Cargile Cook. Technical Communication Quarterly (2002). Careers>Academic>TC>History


Academic Scientists at Work: The Job Talk

If you want to win the race, you need to present what the search committee, department chair, and all the department faculty need to see and hear to motivate them to offer you a position. Chances are the position will be in a department with faculty members who have varied research interests, all of whom have some stake in the hire. Hence, your audience will be a complex mix of scientists with distinct and diverse standards. While this sounds challenging, good organization and a clear idea of what is expected will help you in your quest for the dream position. This article will discuss what you need to present in your job talk, how to organize it, and how to prepare your slides.

Boss, Jeremy M. and Susan H. Eckert. Science (2004). Careers>Presentations>Research


Academic/Industry Relationships   (PDF)

Technical Communication educators and professionals share one important concern: the future. The most important way in which both parties can shape the future is by working together to support the future technical communications community: students. STC’s Academic Industry Committee has developed a faculty internship to support direct connections between the faculty members who prepare student technical communicators and the companies who will employ them. These and other Academic Industry Committee projects are designed to bring the best of two groups working in one valuable goal and profession more closely and cooperatively together. The future depends on our work – together.

Fink, Bonnie L., Roger A. Grice, Sandra Harner, Deborah Rosenquist and Katherine E. Staples. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>Collaboration>Industry and Academy


An Accidental Affair

I always knew I was destined to be a writer (even my kindergarten teacher bragged about my stories because they actually had a beginning, middle, and an end). I just didn't know how I would get there.

Eftekhar, Christina. Carolina Communique (2011). Careers>Writing


Accounting: A+ in Your Column

To save yourself heartache, introduce the accounting department to the idea of measuring the total value returned minus the cost of documentation. After all, if the accounting department understands one thing, it's saving (or attempting to) save money. If you can show them that, yes, you did do fewer pages, but it saved three days of your time and managerial review, four thousand dollars in printing, and many hours of customer service dealing with disgruntled users, the department may be more understanding.

Brautman, Heather. Carolina Communique (2004). Careers>TC



This is the American Copy Editors Society site for job postings of interest to copy editors or others in journalism and other editing careers.

Yahoo. Careers>Job Listings>Editing


Achieving It All!  (link broken)   (PDF)

An observation can be made about success—everybody talks about it, but far too few do anything definite to ensure their own personal success. To be successful, you must know how to set and achieve goals, build a personal success plan, and develop self-motivation. Tapping into your unlimited potential allows you to progress, grow, and change. Powerful tools can be used to achieve your personal and professional goals. Understanding the role of visualization and how to formulate and use affirmations will help you become more successful!

Laurent, J. Suzanna. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>Advice


ACM SIGCHI Job Postings in HCI

List archives, from the ACM SIGCHI job postings in HCI mailing list.

ACM SIGCHI (2005). Careers>Job Listings>Human Computer Interaction


Action Verbs to Describe Skills, Jobs, and Accomplishments in Employment Documents  (link broken)

These are some words commonly used to describe your skills on your resume.

Purdue University (2004). Careers>Resumes>Glossary


Adjusting to Changing Times in Technical Communication   (PDF)

Without the usual abundance of jobs, I was forced to re-evaluate my skills, my place in our profession, and, ultimately, myself. Slowly but surely I realized that I could find work if I was willing to let go of the past, re-assess the current playing field, and act accordingly.

Hall, Ceil W. Intercom (2003). Careers>TC


Advice about Technical Writing  (link broken)

Technical writing doesn't always mean 'computers.' Many companies hire technical writers to document policies and procedures for auditors. This means you would actually sit with someone and write down the steps they follow to do a function. Technical writers must be excellent communicators. Verbal and written skills must be of the highest caliber. A technical writer must be methodical, organized, and succinct.

Taylor, Vicki M. Suite101 (2001). Careers>Advice>Writing>Technical Writing


Advice for Beginning Science Writers  (link broken)

This document is the record of a discussion that took place on the nasw-talk mailing list from May 10th through May 14th, 1997. It deals with several issues at the core of the science writing profession.

NASW (2006). Careers>Scientific Communication


Advice for the Novice Tech Writer: Be Like an Empty Cup

Technical writing is one of those jobs in which you're constantly learning. New tools, new techniques, new methodologies. No one knows it all. That's especially true for the new technical communicator. If you've graduated from a writing and rhetoric course or a technical writing course, you have a pretty good grounding in craft. But you're really only at the base of the mountain. There's still a lot to learn, and if you keep your eyes and ears and mind open then you can quickly pick up what you need to know.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing


Advice for the Novice Tech Writer: Hold on to Your Passion

Passion, though, is a funny thing. It's easy to become passionate about something. But the fire of that passion can also be easily dimmed or extinguished, often due to circumstances that are beyond your control. Throughout your career, you'll definitely find your passion waxing and waning. But holding on to that passion and nurturing it will make you a better technical communicator.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing


Advice for the Novice Tech Writer: Think Long-Term

So you've just started out as a technical communicator, or you've been on the job for a year or two. And you've decided that maybe, just maybe, technical communication is the career for you and you're in it for the long haul. Now what? Think about the future and how you want your career to develop.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing>Blogs


Advice to Technical Writers

A friend asked the going rate for author's royalties on a technical or trade paperback, so I asked some people what they received. A few wrote back with extremely enlightening and fascinating comments. I passed these notes on to other authors, and received yet more interesting reading back. I have now edited all these comments down a bit, mostly taking out the names of authors and publishers and removing publisher specific comments.

Tognazzini, Bruce. Ray Tracing News (1996). Careers>Writing>Pricing>Technical Writing


Age Discrimination in Technical Communication   (PDF)

Age discrimination in the workplace occurs any time one worker is treated differently from another due to age, or another worker's beliefs about age-related inabilities. Solving the problem of age discrimination in the workplace involves three things: understanding the problem and how it affects the way we work, educating ourselves and the rest of the general working public about age discrimination, and finding specific ways to address and overcome the issue.

Steele, Karen A. and Linda I. Bell. STC Proceedings (1993). Careers>Advice>Discrimination>Workplace


Analysis of the Skills Called for by Technical Communication Employers in Recruitment Postings   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Provides a framework of experiences and skills employers call for in job postings. Shows that potential employers are seeking very technical or domain-specific knowledge from technical writers. Shows that specific technology tool skills are less important to employers than more basic technical writing skills.

Lanier, Clinton R. Technical Communication Online (2009). Careers>TC


Annotated Cover Letter: Using Block Style Format  (link broken)

An annotated sample cover letter for applying for a tech comm position.

Ray, Deborah S. TECHWR-L (2000). Careers>Resumes>Cover Letters


Another Career for Editors?  (link broken)   (PDF)

Talented people with the editorial skills of condensing and organizing copy can often position themselves for jobs that don’t bear the title 'Editor.'

Bush, Donald W. Intercom (2001). Careers>Editing


Answer the Four Key Questions

Your resume must persuasively answer at least four key questions to win the interview.

Tech-Writer. Careers>Resumes



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