How To Become A Technical Writer

There are many different types of writers in the world. There are journalists, there are bloggers, there are novelists, there are content marketers and there are many others. All of these writers have different focuses and responsibilities.

Some writers become technical writers. Technical writers typically produce manuals and instruction booklets that communicate technical information to their audience. If conveying complex ideas and instructions to an audience sounds like something that would interest you, you may want to become a technical writer. But how exactly do you start?

Take a technical writing class.

If you don’t have any prior experience, it’s good to get some education under your belt. Contact your local community college and find out if they offer technical writing classes. If so, be sure to sign up for and attend these classes. If not, try to locate an online technical writing class to take. Once you complete the course, you need to make sure you add this to your resume. This shows potential employers that you are educated in the field of technical writing and makes you a better candidate.

Create a portfolio.

Every writer needs a portfolio, so be sure to create one. Even if you don’t have a ton of technical writing samples, be sure to include all of your past written work. Every writer starts somewhere, so it’s better to show that you know how to write effectively, even if it isn’t for technical writing. Obviously, if you have technical writing experience, be sure to include this in the front of your portfolio.

Look for small freelance jobs.

If you want to add experience to your portfolio and your resume, try snagging some smaller technical writing gigs as a freelancer first. Look on Craigslist or join sites like Elance.com orOdesk.com and bid on technical writing projects. These jobs tend to be smaller in nature, and while you may not make a ton of money doing it, you can add it to your portfolio and to your resume to give you a better chance at landing a job.

Join the Society for Technical Communication.

The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is a dedicated group specifically for those interested in the technical field. By joining this group, you will have access to more information and opportunities. You can network with other writers and learn tips and tricks of the trade. You will also be able to find more job opportunities, as some companies only post their open positions through their local chapter.

Apply.

The only way you’re truly going to become a technical writer is to apply to technical writing jobs and hopefully land one. Even if the job is part-time or for a smaller company, it will still help you gain the experience you need to find a full-time position at a trusted organization, if that’s what you wish. While you can check out popular online job sites like Monster or Indeed, you will also want to check out other online job sites specifically for the technical industry.

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