Tag Archives: job

Landing your first (or 20th) technical communication job


A job search can be discouraging. Yet prospective employers need to see that you’re confident and optimistic. (Morguefile:jdurham)

I spent an enjoyable and productive Saturday afternoon at the STC Carolina chapter’s Student Resume Clinic. Several colleagues and I gave resume advice and conducted mock interviews with students from local colleges.

(Kudos to the Carolina chapter, especially president Christina Mayr, for putting on such a great event.)

If you’re looking for your first job in technical communication — or your 10th job, or your 20th — here’s some wisdom the students took away from that afternoon. Continue reading

A new chapter

Today I start a new job as a Senior Technical Writer at Extreme Networks in Morrisville, NC.

StartLine2In the new job I move from a position that encompassed¬†a number of roles — managing, consulting, training, writing — to my first love, technical writing. I also get to join a great team of people at a company that looks to be on its way up.

Will I miss the other roles? Not as much as you might expect:

  • As I tell my students in the Duke technical communication certificate program, every technical writer should understand the whole process, from planning to publishing, and every technical writer should know the basics of project management. Many of today’s writing gigs are lone-writer arrangements, so writers need to be able to manage their own work. Even in a more traditional setup, the writer should know what questions to ask about translation requirements, the reviewing workflow, and other aspects of the job.
  • I’ll apply my knowledge of content strategy in the new job, seeking to understand the company’s goals and strategy and then ensuring that my own work supports them.
  • The consulting skills I’ve developed will come in handy, too. As a writer I’ll be better able to choose between options based on the only thing that matters: the value they add for the business and for its customers.

I remain available for short-term writing, editing, and training jobs. (And of course I’ll keep writing this blog.) But my primary focus will be on my work at Extreme Networks. I¬†look forward to this new chapter in my career.

Get the details right: It’s part of your job

Details matter. In life, in art, and in technical writing.

Matt Damon in The Bourne UltimatumIt’s hard to think of three better action movies than the Bourne trilogy, in which the protagonist — Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon — spends a good bit of time being chased by bad guys. Bourne hopscotches across Europe, eluding his pursuers in Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and London. Finally, Bourne arrives in a city where I know my way around: New York. And that’s where it gets weird. Continue reading