Last time I wrote about the places you can go, or the different trajectories your career can take, when you work in technical communication.
But how do you get that first job? What qualifications do you need, and what are employers looking for?
Prompted by interview questions from a Tech Comm graduate student, and based on my experience working in the field and interviewing candidates, here are some thoughts.
I got my first technical writing job a long time ago — in 1979. One thing I know for sure is that your breaking-in story won’t be the same as mine. Things were a lot different then, and I’m not just thinking about the music we listened to. Companies, having realized that technical people didn’t necessarily make good technical writers, went looking for young writers who weren’t necessarily versed in the technology but who could learn it.
Armed with a double-major in English and philosophy, and having a tiny bit of experience with computers, I landed that first job with IBM.
You won’t have the same experience. Your résumé will need to look a little shinier than mine did.
What are the educational requirements for working in Technical Communication?
Follow-up question: Are certain degrees or backgrounds more sought after by employers? Continue reading