A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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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


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


Artists, Not Assholes

My key point in this column is that we need to support, defend, and promote our artisans, or artists, and we need to eliminate the assholes from our organizations. In practice, I see a lot of managers who do not support their artisans—their greatest performers—but hold onto and even reward their assholes. In the end, an organization that rewards the wrong people can destroy its effectiveness and drive the most talented people out.

Nieters, Jim. UXmatters (2008). Careers>Management>Advice


Avoiding Burnout as a Technical Writer

One of the problems I’ve had to combat over the years has been boredom/burnout — that feeling you get either when you’ve been on the same project for too long or a you’re on new project that just feels like exactly what you’ve been working on for years. How do you breath life into work that you’ve done many, many times before?

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


Career Advice for Technical Writers

Peggy Harvey (2010-2011 chapter membership manager and treasurer) recently learned some invaluable lessons on her quest for a new job opportunity. She shares her experiences in this interview.

Loring, Sheila. Carolina Communique (2011). Careers>Advice>Interviews


Career Advice for Technical Writers

For future job seekers: Always be prepared. In today’s day and age a layoff can happen to anyone, no matter how secure you may think your job is. That doesn’t mean you should walk around with a cloud of doom over your head but it does mean you should be aware and somewhat prepared if it does. Keep your resume up-to-date and make note of milestones and accomplishments in your current job.

Loring, Sheila. Carolina Communique (2011). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing


Career Alternatives to Management | Best Design Practices for Blogs

What are the different career paths for senior UX roles other than management? Please share some best design practices for blogs.

Six, Janet M. UXmatters (2010). Careers>User Experience>Advice


Career Coach Offers Survival Skills for Challenging Times

Condon encourages people to search for networking opportunities. She suggests reading the technology section of The Oregonian on Mondays to find out about meetings of professional groups in addition to STC. She said she often attends events simply because the announced speaker sounds intriguing. She visits meetings of Rotary clubs, Lions, and environmental organizations. She finds out what groups her friends and neighbors belong to and asks if she can attend a meeting with them. When she goes, she doesn't attempt to meet everyone, she just tries to make two or three new contacts. She exchanges business cards, and then, the next day, she follows up with a handwritten note to one or two people saying what a pleasure it was to meet them.

Riley, Erin. STC Williamette Valley (2002). Careers>Advice


Career Workshop: Participation Is Inspiration

Like most technical communicators in the current economic climate, I've been considering where I've been and where I'm going. On Saturday, January 12, I had the golden opportunity to do some of that in the company of some 50 like-minded participants and a number of inspirational and practical speakers. Not incidentally, I was reminded what a tremendous reservoir of volunteer spirit the Willamette Valley Chapter of the STC holds.

Cass, Richard. STC Williamette Valley (2002). Careers>Advice


Choosing and Using a Technical Writer

Offers advice for anyone looking to hire a technical writer on choosing a writer and using a writer.

Weber, Jean Hollis. Business Consulting News (1997). Careers>Advice>Management


Collaborative Post: Giving Guidance to a Masters Student about Technical Writing Careers

I received the following email from Anna, a literature PhD candidate who is considering changing career paths from teaching into technical writing.

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


Cracking Tough Nuts to Come Out on Top in Hard Times

Discusses strategies to help you strengthen your adaptive smarts. How you choose to implement these strategies is a highly personal process, given your own unique circumstance. The idea here is to provide some food for thought to help you develop your own particular brand of adaptive smarts.

Doulton, Melanie. Indus (2009). Careers>Advice


Dealing With Professional Burnout

Professional burnout can strike anyone regardless of their profession - tech writer, corporate trainer, freelance writer, website marketing specialist, butcher, baker, candlestick maker - but it's not always easy to detect until the damage has been done. This article looks at the signs of professional burnout and dealing with them head on - alone and with the help of others. It also provides resources you can use to break out of your rut.

Potsus, Whitney Beth. Writing Assistance (2007). Careers>Advice


Dear Viv: Switching Careers

I worked as a technical writer many years ago and then quit to take care of my kids. Now I'd like to get back into the field. How do I get my foot in the door when all employers require experience?

Carolina Communique (2009). Careers>Writing>Advice>Technical Writing


Do You Have the Brain to be a Writer?

Parents, teachers, and guidance counsellors sometimes tell children who are anxious about what they're going to do with their life, that they can pursue virtually any career they put their mind to. With determination and lots of hard work, anyone can become a future Prime Minister or President. As reassuring as this sounds, recent findings in the field of brain research suggest that not all people (i.e., brains) are born equal.

Zvalo, Peter. Writer's Block (1996). Careers>Advice


Document Hack (A Technical Writer's Journal): First Day

Rule number one for a contractor is to never panic about what happens your first day. First days are naturally chaotic, and often companies are not fully prepared for you. Because contractors are usually brought in to solve a particular problem, the people are anxious to get you started, but companies, especially large ones, are not geared for quick action.

Hewitt, John. Writer's Resource Center (2004). Careers>Advice>Writing>Technical Writing


Doing Super-sets: Applying Workout Logic to Web Work

Dedicated gym-goers use some tried and tested methods to make their workouts more efficient and effective. As usual, what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander, and a lot of these same strategies can apply quite well to professional workflows, too. What is work, after all, besides a prolonged workout of your professional muscles?

Etherington, Darrell. Web Worker Daily (2010). Careers>Web Design>Advice>Workflow


Draw the Line: When and How to Stop Giving Away Professional Advice

People are unabashed about asking for web advice and help related to blogs, social media, networking and other web work because they don’t regard it as a specialized service the way they do with medical and legal expertise. I’m not saying giving away freebies is always a definite no-no, but I do think that as web workers we need to start reinforcing the value of our work by drawing a line between friendly advice and working for free. Here’s how I’m trying to create that demarcation.

Etherington, Darrell. Web Worker Daily (2009). Careers>Consulting>Advice


Ethics in Scientific and Technical Communication

Discusses many ethical issues including: taking personal responsibility for one's actions, Behaviour toward colleagues, subordinates and others,Dealing with experimental subjects, interviewees, etc, Telling the 'truth', and choosing between advocacy and objectivity.

Weber, Jean Hollis. WISENET Journal (1998). Careers>Advice>Ethics


Everything is Connected

If you're not taking advantage of your "first" job out of college, your "temporary" gig, or your internship, you're likely missing out valuable career experiences.

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


Expand your Skills in 2004

A sure way to find new work opportunities is to expand the range of skills you offer your employer or clients.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2004). Careers>Advice>TC


Finding a Job as a Technical Communicator: Inspiration Plus Perspiration   (PDF)

Today, there are many ways to practice our craft, and our main objective as technical communicators is to find a way to do just that. Those of us who are unemployed or underemployed know that we need to have the job we want in order to make the contribution we know we can. The same skills that make us good technical communicators will serve us well in our job search. With a little inspiration and a lot of perspiration, we can get the right job.

Gallob, Beth M. STC Proceedings (1993). Careers>Advice



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