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Technical Communicator Resources


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Suggestions for websites, networking groups, interviewing, and working for technical communicators. Focused on the Vancouver, BC area, but has general information, too.

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Technical Communicator Resources

  1. 1. Technical Communicator Resources Theresa Putkey Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc STC CWC President 07/08
  2. 2. About moi <ul><li>Usability consultant </li></ul><ul><li>Technical writer and transitioned to usability </li></ul><ul><li>Got tired of correcting design after it was done, so I started doing design </li></ul><ul><li>Self-employed, but was an employee for 6 years beforehand. </li></ul><ul><li>B.A. in Comparative Religion, 1998 </li></ul>
  3. 3. Key Pointes <ul><li>Resources available to you in the Vancouver Area </li></ul><ul><li>Resources available on the InterWeb </li></ul><ul><li>Working as a communicator in the Vancouver Area </li></ul>
  4. 4. STC Canada West Coast <ul><li> : Programs, professional development, volunteering, networking, newsletter articles, job postings </li></ul><ul><li> : mailing lists, magazine </li></ul><ul><li>Need to join the STC to join the chapter </li></ul><ul><li>Student membership price and/or program fee </li></ul>
  5. 5. HTCE <ul><li>Stands for High Tech Communicators Exchange </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>More for marketing communications </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t need to join, fee per program </li></ul>
  6. 6. Editors Association <ul><li>For editors and writers </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Membership fee and/or program fee </li></ul>
  7. 7. Wired Woman <ul><li>Promotes women in the high-tech industry </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Membership fee and/or meeting fee. They do have a student rate. </li></ul><ul><li>Men are welcome, but not a lot go! </li></ul>
  8. 8. VanUE <ul><li>Vancouver User Experience Group </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Communicators need to understand audience, and user experience/usability is about making a product for the appropriate audience. </li></ul><ul><li>No membership, no fee to attend </li></ul>
  9. 9. IABC <ul><li>International Association of Business Communicators </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Membership fee and/or meeting fee </li></ul><ul><li>Look for programs that address written communication or more general programs </li></ul>
  10. 10. IEEE - PC <ul><li>IEEE – Professional Communicators (I think) </li></ul><ul><li>Not sure if this is for engineers who are communicators, or for communicators in the engineering field. </li></ul><ul><li>But it’s up here as a resource. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Fees? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Northern Voice <ul><li>Northern Voice is a two-day, non-profit personal blogging and social media conference </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  12. 12. IA Institute <ul><li>For Information Architects and Usability Professionals </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Low joining fee, no local chapters </li></ul><ul><li>Great for “information designers” such as communicators as well as “content strategists” </li></ul>
  13. 13. Content Management Professionals <ul><li>For content management </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Membership fee, local chapter but no events </li></ul><ul><li>Would use it to see what info is on their site. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Others <ul><li>New Media BC: good for social media but not necessarily good for writers </li></ul><ul><li>E-Learning? Not sure of specific groups, but there must be. </li></ul>
  15. 15. InterWeb Resources <ul><li>Besides those already mentioned: </li></ul><ul><li>STC SIGs: Lots of groups have their own websites with free information </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> / </li></ul>
  16. 16. InterWeb Resources <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  17. 17. Networking in Vancouver <ul><li>Go to a lot of different kinds of events and see who you like. </li></ul><ul><li>GET A BUSINESS CARD. You can get them printed at Staples for $40. Stay away from home printing (sorry). </li></ul><ul><li>Do not put your home address </li></ul><ul><li>Cell # might be better than a home # </li></ul><ul><li>Book: The Frog and the Prince </li></ul>
  18. 18. Tips for Networking <ul><li>Networking doing things you like, as long as they’re social activities. Co-ed sports are really good for this (Ultimate, Volleyball) plus volunteering </li></ul><ul><li>Tell people what you want, with specifics. “I’m looking for a job as a writer in a small software company,” or “I’d like to work for a larger corporation in their communications department.” </li></ul>
  19. 19. Brand Yourself <ul><li>When looking for work, it’s good to have a brand appearance. You’re a professional, you’d be a great addition to a team, so show it. </li></ul><ul><li>Branding doesn’t necessarily mean a logo, but it could mean business cards, consistent email footer, consistent portfolio display. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>A lot of people don’t look professional, so this is one way for you to easily stand out. </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Network for contacts and try to get informational interviews </li></ul><ul><li>And tell them what you want </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t take it personally if they don’t have someone else for you to talk to. Keep networking. </li></ul><ul><li>And keep networking even if you have a job. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Interviewing in Vancouver <ul><li>Have a portfolio </li></ul><ul><li>Dress nicely (Vancouver casual doesn’t work!) </li></ul><ul><li>Send an email and cover letter </li></ul><ul><li>Follow up with a thank you email </li></ul><ul><li>You may or may not hear back! Don’t take it personally or as any indication of your success or failure as a communicator. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Freelancing <ul><li>A good way to get portfolio pieces </li></ul><ul><li>As a junior communicator, you may not get paid well </li></ul><ul><li>Junior: $35-45 </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediate: $45-55 </li></ul><ul><li>Senior: $55-85-??? </li></ul>
  24. 24. Freelancing <ul><li>Get a GST number and charge GST even if you don’t make over $30k/year. Having a GST number implies that you make at least this much! </li></ul><ul><li>Again, look professional and brand yourself </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  25. 25. Freelancing <ul><li>Always get a contract in writing, even if it’s just a letter of agreement and scope of work. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure it has payment details on it: $45/hr, billable every two weeks, due within 15 (or 30) days, 2% penalty per month for late payments. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t feel good about it, get a 30-50% deposit. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Working <ul><li>“ Manage Up ” </li></ul><ul><li>Learn to talk to higher up managers </li></ul><ul><li>Raise the profile for communicators (because it’s quite low in most companies) </li></ul>
  27. 27. Working <ul><li>Building relationships is the best way to get people to offer up information. How? Talk about their personal life (children, house, hobbies, etc.) Or let them talk about their work. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t work in a silo. Even if you’re boss is this way, you need to build relationships. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Questions? <ul><li>Please feel free to contact me at [email_address] . </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>