A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Technical writers have no formal professional certification to demonstrate their expertise. If you need a position as a documentation specialist, how do you present yourself as a qualified, quality applicant? Here are a few articles that should help you.



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


The 'Be Yourself' Myth

You have to create a professional persona. That persona is a full-fledged adult who demonstrates a tightly organized research program, a calm confidence in a research contribution to a field or discipline, a clear and specific trajectory of publications, innovative but concise, non-emotional ideas about teaching at all levels of the curriculum, a non-defensive openness to the exchange of ideas, and most importantly, a steely-eyed grasp of the real (as opposed to fantasy) needs of actual hiring departments, which revolve ultimately, in the current market, around money.

Kelsky, Karen. Inside Higher Ed (2012). Careers>Academic>Interviewing


Calculating the Value-Added: What Hiring Managers Need to Know About Academic Technical Communication Programs   (PDF)

Hiring managers need to understand academic programs in technical communication in order to evaluate potential new hires, especially for entry-level positions in challenging, high-tech, international environments. Changes in the profession, in the workplace, and in higher education have led to the proliferation of academic programs. These may offer advantages over non-academic training, in terms of cost, comprehensiveness, content, and control. Academic programs are also different among themselves, based on credentials, institutions, instructors, and program homes. By developing reasonable, informed expectations for what academic programs teach, managers who hire program graduates can experience the payoffs of lower-risk, more cost-effective long-term hires.

Rehling, Louise. STC Proceedings (1996). Careers>Interviewing>Management


Circumventing HR: Effective Job-Hunting Strategies

A common misconception is that Human Resources departments exist to help job-seekers find their place within a company. In fact, the role of HR departments is to act as the gatekeeper. Savvy job-seekers know how to get around, over, and bypass the gates of HR, to connect with the decision-makers who can really help you. 

Hamer Associates. Careers>Interviewing


Clicking for a Job: Using Job Search Web Sites in a Technical Communication Job Search   (PDF)

Technical communicators should use job search Web sites and other Internet resources (i.e., listservs and email networking) as part of their overall job search strategy. In using job search Web sites, technical communicators should choose carefully from four main categories of such sites: general job search sites, field-specific sites, professional organization sites, and specific employer sites. Each of these categories requires specific consideration. Job seekers should take into account the specific characteristics and purposes of the site and its users. To get the most effective results, technical communicators should also take special care when choosing keywords for job searches.

Bloch, Janel M. STC Proceedings (2003). Careers>Interviewing>Online


Comparing Apples to Apples: An Interviewing Process and Strategy   (PDF)

An effective interview process better enables fhe selection of thoroughly qualified technical writers. This process is repeatable and ensures comparing “apples to apples. ” The seven steps are 1) advertise the job, 2) receive and review the resumes, 3) receive and review the writing samples, 4) set up the interuiezu, 5) hold the pre-intetiao strategy meeting, 6) hold the interoiew, 7)and hold the post-interview debriefing.

Sharp, Jane and Gloria M.D. Gyure. STC Proceedings (1997). Careers>Interviewing


Considerations for Hiring Technical Writers

If you have a group of stressed out and overworked technical writers and need to add to your staff, hiring the right technical writer can be a challenge. The author provides some tips on the hiring and interview process and what you might look for in exceptional technical writing candidates that will best fill the needs of your group of technical writers.

Rastocny, Philip. Writing Assistance (2008). Careers>Interviewing>Recruiting>Technical Writing


Dealing with Discriminatory Questions in Interviews

This handout illustrates problematic questions that may come up in an interview and suggests ways of dealing with them.

conneXions (2008). Careers>Business Communication>Interviewing>Professionalism


Document Hack (A Technical Writer's Journal): Interview and Negotiation

My face-to-face interview with the company was similar to my phone interview. So similar, in fact that more than once I found myself answering the same questions I had answered over the phone. They did throw a couple curve balls at me, however. The strangest question I was asked was, 'If we called your references, what would they say about you?' I was unprepared for this one, and I ended up talking more about my references than about what they would say about me.

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


Document Hack (A Technical Writer's Journal): Phone Interview

When I originally spoke to the recruiter on the phone, she gave me a brief description of the job and asked for my rate. We negotiated the rate for a few minutes and came up with an acceptable number ($25 an hour) and she sent me an e-mail with the full job description and a short agreement asking me to confirm her representation and my rate. I sent back my confirmation and that was it for a while.

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


Eleven Tips for Getting Great References

It's often the final hurdle to getting a job and the point of the interview process when employers look for information they can't get from your resume or during an interview. Here's everything you need to know about references -- from whom to ask to how to ask them -- to guarantee you get rave reviews.

Krieger, Elizabeth. iVillage.com (2001). Careers>Interviewing


The Emotionally Challenging, Open-Ended Interview   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

For most job candidates, the interview experience is "an emotionally challenging endeavor". To succeed in interviews, candidates must understand the emotional labor needed to "manage their feelings" as they "create a publicly observable facial and bodily display". This is particularly true when recruiters use open-ended interviews that are not constrained to a narrow set of questions. My work in conducting research interviews illustrates several aspects of emotional labor in the interview context. Although I will talk from the perspective of the interviewer, my discussion of my own emotional labor is instructive for people entering an open-ended interview as either interviewer or interviewee because the challenges of emotional labor within the open-ended interview context apply to either interview role. Additionally, although I will draw on examples of datagathering interviews within a research context, this discussion of emotional labor applies to any interview setting--research, job interview, and so on--because the difficulties one encounters are similar across various open-ended interview situations.

Hoffmann, Elizabeth A. Business Communication Quarterly (2008). Careers>Interviewing


Evaluating a Job Offer

Once you receive a job offer, you must decide if you want the job. Fortunately, most organizations will give you a few days to accept or reject an offer. There are many issues to consider when assessing a job offer. Will the organization be a good place to work? Will the job be interesting? Are there opportunities for advancement? Is the salary fair? Does the employer offer good benefits? Now is the time to ask the potential employer about these issues—and to do some checking on your own.

U.S. Department of Labor (2007). Careers>Interviewing


Explaining the Value of Technical Communication on the Job Search   (PDF)

This presentation will provide techniques technical communicators can use to sell themselves to prospective employers who don't understand what technical communicators can do for them.

Castner, Joanna. STC Atlanta (2005). Careers>Interviewing>TC


Finding That First Job   (PDF)

Offers suggestions on finding work in technical communication for recent college graduates, professionals in other fields, and those who want to add documentation duties to their current jobs.

Block, Barbara M. Intercom (2001). Careers>Interviewing>TC


Finding the Right Technical Writer

A no-nonsense approach to finding a great tech writer, even when you don't know what to look for.

Springsteen, JoAnna. CIO Magazine (2008). Careers>Management>Interviewing>Technical Writing


Five Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring

Frequently, technical communicators who have been promoted into management find themselves facing the need to interview candidates for open positions. While successful interviewing is key to finding the right match for open positions in the department, all too often interviewing skills are not a part of any management training programs that the interviewer may have completed - if management training was ever part of the technical communicator's career development program at all. This article unveils the secrets to successful interviewing and hiring.

O'Keefe, Karen. Writing Assistance (2006). Careers>Interviewing>Management


Five Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring

The technical communications profession involves a unique mix of technical and communication skills, which is not easy to find. Most managers have had the experience of interviewing and subsequently hiring a candidate who later turns out not to be the right person for the job. This situation begs the question of how to identify which candidate is a good fit for a given position. The answer is that there are five key activities that make the difference between a successful hiring decision and a not-so-successful one. We have all been on both sides of the interview, and this article will attempt to make you, the interviewer, more successful.

O'Keefe, Karen. TechCom Manager (2004). Careers>Management>Interviewing


General Guidelines for Conducting Interviews

Interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a participant's experiences. The interviewer can pursue in-depth information around a topic. Interviews may be useful as follow-up to certain respondents to questionnaires, e.g., to further investigate their responses. Usually open-ended questions are asked during interviews. Before you start to design your interview questions and process, clearly articulate to yourself what problem or need is to be addressed using the information to be gathered by the interviews. This helps you keep clear focus on the intent of each question.

McNamara, Carter. Management Assistance Program for Nonprofits (1999). Careers>Interviewing


Getting a Technical Writing Job, Even If You Have No Experience   (Word)

Technical writing jobs can be hard to get if you have little or no experience. But there are things you can do to improve your chances of getting hired.

Docsymmetry. Careers>TC>Interviewing>Technical Writing


Hello?...The Art of the Telephone Interview   (members only)

Remember when interviewing meant dressing up, grabbing your best samples, and heading over to meet your potential employer face to face? Today the industry trend is to conduct most first interviews over the telephone. With the emergence of telecommuting and a global workforce, I don't see the trend toward telephone interviews going away any time soon.

Davis, Douglas W. STC (2007). Careers>Interviewing


Hiring a Technical Writer   (Word)

Hiring a technical writer can be tricky, even if you happen to be one. Where can you find a technical writer? What characteristics should you look for? How can you tell a good writer from a bad one?

Docsymmetry. Careers>Management>Interviewing


Hiring Contract Technical Writers

When you finally get the approval to hire a contract technical writer you'll want to go about it the right way in order to avoid problems and ensure success. This article provides insight on what you need to do before you start looking for a contract technical writing professional and how to go about finding one suitable for your project.

Hartmann, Scott. Writing Assistance (2006). Careers>Interviewing>TC>Technical Writing


Hiring Right: Road to Success

Running a translation business is not easy. As small as the industry may be, we as business owners face a full set of business challenges: personnel management, sales and marketing, client relations, and the list goes on. Everyday, we go into work hoping to improve the business, to make it more successful. Sometimes we wonder, what is the killer factor? What makes some companies more successful than others?

Iler, Huiping. WTB Language Group (2005). Careers>Management>Interviewing


Hiring Writers: How To Get Results That Make You Look Good

Like many of you, each of us has played on both sides of the fence: We've worked as editors in the position of hiring freelance writers, and as writers on constant prowl for new markets and ways to make editors happy. Even if you've not strayed between camps, we're all communication professionals-so why does mutual disappointment or even frustration characterize the editor/writer relationship so often?

Canavor, Natalie and Claire Meirowitz. Communication World Bulletin (2005). Careers>Interviewing>Writing



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