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Becoming a Technical Writer

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A presentation about what it's like to enter that workforce as an entry-level technical writer.

A presentation about what it's like to enter that workforce as an entry-level technical writer.

Published in: Career, Business, Technology
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  • 1. Becoming a Tech Writer A special presentation about what it is like to be a Technical Writer in today’s job market. By John Paz
  • 2. Graduated from UCF in 2008 with a B.A. in English, with a focus in Technical Writing 7+ years as a professional Technical Writer Specialization in understanding complex technical systems and a passion for explaining the complex About me
  • 3. Take a look at my original resume. Industries I’ve worked in to date: Energy Video games Defense Software About me – Professional Experience
  • 4. Companies I’ve worked for: About me – Professional Experience
  • 5. MS Word – Templates, styles, automation Other Microsoft tools: PowerPoint Excel Visio Programming familiarity - HTML, XML Graphic design – GIMP, Photoshop Wiki development and Information architecture Database design and data warehousing concepts Emerging technology About me – Technical Skills
  • 6. Being in the workforce is not like college. Social dynamic is much different; working with colleagues of different generations is a challenge, but worth the effort. Make friends and be social, but put work first. What is like to be a Tech Writer?
  • 7. The skills you learn in college are very valuable, but perhaps not in the way you suspect: Organization is vital. Familiarity with technology will get you far. Communication is crucial. Your writing skills will be your most marketable asset to start with. Learning to learn. Your ability to do thorough, scholarly research is a valuable asset. What is like to be a Tech Writer?
  • 8. The skills you learn in college are very valuable, but perhaps not in the way you suspect: You are already far more prepared than you know. But… You know nothing. Admit this now and you will save yourself a lot of trouble. What is like to be a Tech Writer?
  • 9. The skills you learn in college are very valuable, but perhaps not in the way you suspect: You know nothing. Wait, what? It is impossible to know everything about a job before you start, even once you attain experience, as soon as you start a new job you start over. But that’s ok. What is like to be a Tech Writer?
  • 10. A day in the life of a professional Tech Writer: 1. Start every day by checking email. Don’t like email? Then you’re in the wrong profession. 2. Check yesterday’s To-Do list, create today’s. 3. Go talk to some really smart, really busy people. 4. Do some work. 1. Write. 2. Tinker – Templates, wikis, websites, code (yes code!). What is like to be a Tech Writer?
  • 11. A day in the life of a professional Tech Writer: 5. More meetings. 6. Review/edit your work (or someone else’s). 7. More email. What is like to be a Tech Writer?
  • 12. Are you ready to be a Technical Writer? Do you have a resume? WHY NOT? Do you feel you are a strong writer? Or… Do you feel you have some technical expertise? Are you prepared to work full-time? If you answered “yes” to these questions… You’re Ready! Landing a Tech Writer Position
  • 13. Your first Tech Writing position: Could be an internship. Make sure you’re being paid, or that it’s with a great company, or in an industry you really want to work in. Will most likely be a temporary contract. Get used to talking to recruiters, they are your best resource to find jobs. Might come by way of someone you know, so network! Landing a Tech Writer Position
  • 14. Your first Tech Writing position: Will likely come from someone finding your resume online. So don’t just post anything, make it good, and keep it updated. Will likely come from you applying to a job you found online. Get comfortable submitting online applications. Landing a Tech Writer Position
  • 15. Your first Tech Writing position: The Interview Your first interview will be terrifying. Embrace that. Be honest. But be confident. You’re college educated, a solid writer, and you like technology. That makes you unique, and there are employers who will pay you for your skills. Get comfortable submitting online applications. Landing a Tech Writer Position
  • 16. Some general advice: Recruiters are your friends. Embrace your interests, especially any that are related to tech. Go to a conference. They’re great for learning, and for networking. Be nice to your professors, because you’ll need them one day. Landing a Tech Writer Position
  • 17. Some general advice: Be industrious with your job search. But be mindful of tailoring your resume and giving each application the attention it deserves. Do not get discouraged. Look at each interview as a learning opportunity, especially if you don’t get the job. Landing a Tech Writer Position
  • 18. Some general advice: Don’t be afraid to take the job you want, even if that means leaving the job you have. Be grateful, and humble, lest you be labeled a “stereotypical Millennial.” Mind your social media, because employers care. Landing a Tech Writer Position
  • 19. Some general advice: Not ready for a job? That’s ok. Just write, a lot. Blogs, product reviews, discussion boards, and other forms of light writing work very well as writing samples. It’s ok to land a job that isn’t necessarily a Tech Writing position, so long as you’re happy and have room for growth. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, to other cities. Learn to code. Seriously. You’ll thank me later. Landing a Tech Writer Position
  • 20. John Paz johnApaz@gmail.com @techwriterninja @spiegro www.linkedin.com/in/johnapaz/ http://techwhirl.com/author/johnpaz/ www.spiegro.com Contact Information

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