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


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 Balance: Work, Play, and Down Time

No two people are alike, and different balancing tactics work for different people. Try some of these approaches to strike a healthy balance between work, social, and personal time.

Dragonette, Laura. Carolina Communique (2014). Articles>Careers>Time Management


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


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 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


An Open Letter to Millennials Seeking Creative Positions

Dear recently graduated Millennial: Congratulations on your graduation! I understand you’re ready to conquer the world of advertising. I want to get to know you. You may be exactly what we need. Before you begin your conquest, let me introduce myself and offer up a few pointers.

Schrader, Lyn. Agency Post, The (2014). Careers>Advice


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


Answer the Four Key Questions

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

Tech-Writer. Careers>Resumes


Answer the Phone? Sniff Armpits? Top 10 Interview Gaffes

Hear the one about the job candidate who brushed her hair during an interview? Or the man who sniffed his armpits on the way into the interview room? They may sound like jokes but these are two of the top 10 gaffes to feature in an annual survey of the most outrageous interview mistakes by candidates compiled by online job site CareerBuilder.com.

Goldsmith, Belinda. Reuters (2008). Careers>Interviewing


Apply Empathy Within Your Organization

Each organization exists for a purpose: to bring something to the world, make it available to people, and enable those people to capitalize upon it. Many organizations exist to also make
 a profit. Whether for profit or not, all organizations seek to sustain themselves, so they can continue bringing their things to the world. Within each organization, there is usually a healthy awareness of the purpose, as well as a focus on being sustainably successful.

Young, Indi. UX Magazine (2015). Careers>Workplace>Collaboration>Emotions


Appraising Technical Communicators   (PDF)

Appraisals based on objective performance criteria identify and measure the abilities and contributions of technical communicators. This workshop explores how to develop effective performance criteria, specific to technical communication, and how to use these criteria to evaluate performance and foster professional growth and development.

Gilbert, Catherine E. and Sharon A. Gambaro. STC Proceedings (1994). Careers>TC>Assessment


Are Business-Oriented Social Networking Web Sites Useful Resources for Locating Passive Jobseekers? Results of a Recent Study   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Employment recruiters often maintain that business-oriented social networking Web sites offer a fertile source of information concerning “passive” jobseekers. These individuals, according to placement specialists, are persons who are currently employed and not seeking a career change. Many human resources professionals maintain that passive jobseekers are especially desirable because they represent an untapped pool of potential candidates who are not already associated with placement agencies or other recruiting professionals. Also, many passive candidates are considered to be especially stable employees. Although special effort may be required to convince the passive jobseeker to seek employment elsewhere, this effort is worthwhile because of the quality of the individual and the ultimate payoff to the recruiter who successfully places the candidate . The managers of business-oriented social networking sites do not dispute the notion that their services are oriented toward passive jobseekers. Indeed, some of these sites, such as LinkedIn and Power Search, explicitly promote their networks as providing vast databases of passive candidates accessible to recruiters. However, the assumption that members of business-oriented social networking Web sites are passive jobseekers has never been validated. The purpose of this study is to examine the accuracy of this assumption.

DeKay, Sam. Business Communication Quarterly (2009). Careers>Unemployment>Social Networking


Are Certificate Programs Helpful for Transitioning into Technical Writing?

If you do plan to get a certificate, I think the STC’s certificate courses, taught by professionals in the field, will probably prepare you well.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2011). Careers>Education>Graduate



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