A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication (and technical writing).


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How to Become a Technical Writer

Technical writing is sort of a jack-of-all-trades profession. It requires diverse skills, so a lot of people stumble into technical writing by chance. I've personally met technical writers who used to be lawyers, educators, and published fiction writers, and I've heard stories of many other professionals drifting into the field. Their past careers required writing, teaching, or technical abilities, and these skills helped them segue into a technical writing job.

HelpScribe (2009). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing


How To Break into Technical Writing

Whether you're attempting to become a technical writer at 21 or 41, the steps are the same. Statistics show that the best way to find a job is network, network, network. Go to association meetings, like STC, and talk to as many people as you can. Introduce yourself and tell them honestly what you want. Ask them a lot of questions about how they did it. Everyone started somewhere.

MicroSearch. Careers>Writing>TC


How to Create a Winning Tagline

The name of your company or consulting practice can offer prospects a clue into the work you do, which is especially necessary if it’s not readily understood, but if it bears your name, you’d better have a tagline to do the explaining.

Benun, Ilise. Usability Professionals Association (2005). Careers>Consulting>Writing


How to Estimate a Copy Writing Job

It’s not easy to estimate how long a copy writing job will take due to the many factors involved in the estimation.

Technical Communication Center (2009). Careers>Writing>Freelance>Estimating


How to Find Clients Who Need White Papers

Freelancers often wonder where to find clients. What kind of companies need white papers written for them, anyway? Here's three simple questions that will tell you the answer.

Graham, Gordon. WhitePaperSource (2006). Careers>Freelance>Writing>White Papers


How to Find Technical Writing Jobs

There are some key differences between looking for publishing jobs and looking for technical writing jobs.

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


How to Get a Job in Technical Writing: A 7-Step Guide for Students

If you’re a college student looking to become a technical writer after you graduate, you face a formidable challenge: you can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job. Especially in a competitive job market, getting a job as a technical writer directly after you graduate — without a foundation of previous jobs, experience with a handful of tools, and an impressive portfolio — can be especially difficult. However, if you follow these seven steps, which are not easy, not something you can do overnight, you will find a job.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Careers>TC>Writing>Technical Writing


How To Get Started As A Copywriter Or Business Writer

If you only read one book, then go for Ogilvy on Advertising, by David Ogilvy. An old book (in adland time) -- published in 1983. But the ghastly advertising mistakes it warns about (and smiles about) continue to this very minute. Each new tribe of copywriting recruits trips over the same stones.

Heath, Jim. Viacorp (2000). Careers>Writing>Workplace


How to Hire Technical Writers: A Manager's Viewpoint   (PDF)

Hiring technical writers is an infrequent but important part of a manager's job. Clearly defining the job and the required skills is the first step. Then use all of your networks to find candidates. Read résumés to find those that best match your requirements. The interview team needs to be prepared to ask relevant questions that verify and expand on the résumé and samples. Compare the interview team's evaluations, then check the references of your best one or two candidates, and make a prompt offer.

Huettner, Brenda P. and Ken Jackson. STC Proceedings (1996). Careers>Management>Writing>Technical Writing


How to Interview Tech Writers

Jane R. in Texas asks for some tips on interviewing tech writers, especially when using assessment tests. Her company is about to hire their first full-time writer and they have not done this before. I’ve worked on both sides on the fence in the past, (i.e. interviewed and been interviewed) and picked up a few tings in the process. Hopefully, these will be of some help.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2007). Careers>Management>Interviewing>Technical Writing


How to Justify Hiring Technical Writers During Hard Economic Times

The marketplace for technical writers has often been challenging. In difficult economic times when companies seek to slash their budgets, it is often difficult for corporations to understand the need for a technical writer, let alone to understand the need to increase staffing in the documentation department. This article looks at the benefits of hiring technical writers, since their often diverse skill sets can be used across various departments in the organization.

Datta, Aparna. Writing Assistance (2007). Careers>Management>Writing>Technical Writing


How to Land a Career in Technical Writing  (link broken)

While technical writers are expected to have some knowledge of the subjects they write about, experts usually provide detailed information. Technical writers and editors organize the information, put it into user-friendly language, select graphics, write sidebars, and impose a consistent format, checking back with experts to fill in blanks and ensure that no errors have been introduced.

Bradley, Gwendolyn. Chronicle of Higher Education (2000). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing


How to Make Yourself More Marketable in a Small Company   (PDF)

In a time when corporate downsizing is the norm rather than the exception, technical writers must constantly increase and market their skill sets to make themselves more valuable to employers. Based on our experiences as technical writers in a small company, we will define why and how to market yourself:

Holman, Peter M., Susan Gonzalez and Jennifer Privette. STC Proceedings (1997). Careers>Writing>Marketing>Technical Writing


How to Market a Documentation Department

When you first ventured into the tech writing ranks, marketing the department was likely the furthest thing from your mind. You already had work to do, so marketing was somebody else's job.

King, Robert. Writing Assistance (2006). Careers>Management>Technical Writing>Marketing


I Want to be a Technical Writer

How do I break into a career in technical writing?

Basu, Anindita. Writing Technically (2008). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing


I'm a Technical Writer: Dispelling the Myths

Technical Writers (aka Technical Authors, Content Wranglers and Documentation Managers) have an unfair image. This project aims to challenge this image, by showing technical writers in a different light. The photos below are of technical communications professionals, doing a variety of activities.

Cherryleaf (2008). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing


Information Format Trends

On-demand printing, easy low-cost Web storefronts, and simple payment processing provide unprecedented methods and opportunities for technical writers to produce small, focused documentation for specific audiences. Seemingly all that is missing is the motivation.

Meyer, Gordon R. Usable Help (2003). Careers>Information Design>Writing>Technical Writing


Interviewing Technical Writers

Surprisingly, my first experience as an interviewer was as uneasy as my first job interview. I then realized that being on the other side of the table is not as easy as it is made out to be, especially if conducting an interview is unfamiliar territory. Later on, as I matured into this role, I created a style of my own and soon found it to be an interesting and inspiring proposition, though challenging.

Bhanu, Sindhu. Indus (2008). Careers>Interviewing>Management>Technical Writing


Is Technical Writing a Viable Career Option?

Ever thought about what goes into creating the user manuals or instruction brochures of your music system, mobile phones or even the car maintenance guides? Most of us just manage to glance through the item, leave alone going into the technical details.

Jasrotia, Punita. IT People (2002). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing


Is Technical Writing Right For You?

Times are tight, and as a writer, maybe you find yourself looking for a new way to use your love for words in a way that generates a more steady stream of income. You come across articles and ebooks on technical writing and wonder if it may be right for you. You already know technical writers penned every owner’s manual for all the gadgets and gizmos, appliances and machines in your every day life. Did you also know they prepare reference manuals, product specifications, assembly instructions, parts lists, help screens and website text? Add to that all the mountains of information they create for businesses – employee handbooks, policy manuals, training manuals, and other documents specific to that type of business. If your only ambition is to see yourself on the NY Times Bestseller List, obviously technical writing isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you have ever had to wade through a user guide that was so vague or so far over your head that you thought I could have written a better book than this, technical writing may be worth considering.

Sommer, Diane. About.com (2003). Careers>Writing>TC


Is the Freelance Writing Life for You?

Freelancer writers tend to develop something of a superior attitude at times. Some of us feel that we are a cut above our brothers and sisters who work as employees.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2004). Careers>Freelance>Writing


It's a Marathon, not a Sprint: Managing Your Technical Writing Career  (link broken)   (PDF)

I've trained for and run three marathons. My marathon experiences taught me lessons that can be applied to going the distance in a technical communication career. Going the distance requires a willingness to “get going,” continually work on the basics, cross- train, avoid being distracted by what was and what could be, and learn from experience.

Harvey, Michael. STC Proceedings (2003). Careers>Advice>Writing>Technical Writing


Jobs for Writers: Technical Writing and Business Communications Jobs  (link broken)

A specialist job opportunity newsletter for writers, copywriters, editors and content developers.

Klariti. Careers>Job Listings>Technical Writing


Jobs Rated 2010: Ranking 200 Jobs From Best to Worst

How does Jobs Rated determine which professions rank better than others? Data on each job is broken down into five key categories: Physical Demands, Work Environment, Income, Stress and Hiring Outlook. Technical writing comes in at the #13 top career in the U.S., by these measures.

Strieber, Andrew. CareerCast (2010). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing



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