Finding Technical Writing
By Mimi Hill – August 2001
Getting Your First Paid Technical Writing Job
No matter how small your first job is, as longs as it pays, you'll come out of it with experience as a Technical Writer that you can talk about at your next job interview. It may help make the experience less frightening if you think about your first attempts at getting a Technical Writing position as an adventure. When you set out for an adventure, no matter how challenging it is, you have to follow a logical sequence of steps:
1. Decide what kind of a Technical Writer you want to be (Home Worker or Fulltime Office Worker) and know how many hours you need to work before applying for a job. Some positions will require a lot of hours for a short period of time. Sometimes you will bid on an entire job and other times you will be paid hourly.
If your looking for home freelancing work, I suggest the Freelance Work Exchange. A seven day trial membership is only $2.95 and $19.95 if you decide to stick around after that. The way I look at, seven days of trying will make you seven days wiser: Freelance Work Exchange: Find work, make money. There are countless numbers of sites like the Freelance Work Exchange. Here is another one: Jobs Online is free and has a salary calculator and a place for you to post your resume for free.
In House Technical Writing Positions
This is the type of job I have, a typical 9:00-5:00. Right before a release it can easily become a 7:00-10:00 position. If you are planning to work as a Technical Writer in the High Tech industry, plan on at least a few long days a year. As far as job hunting is concerned, there are lots of services on the Internet which specialize in helping Technical Writers find full time positions. Here are the ones that I recommend:
A and A Resume provides free resume critiques. Their full product is $115.00 but they have an intriguing offer that I think I would consider if I were job hunting in today's market: "If you are not employed within six weeks after using your A and A resume and cover letter, contact us and we will print and Priority Mail 10 additional copies to you for FREE. After 92 weeks, there have been 0 requests for the free copies (92 was the number of weeks posted at the time this article was published).
Read everything that is written about the company where you are interviewing and read it the night before the interview so you don't forget it. Knowing this will give you a good feel for the audience that reads their documentation. Write a one page summary of the product the company sells and read it before you walk into the interview to refresh your memory.
It worked for me.