5 Simple Steps to Build a Career in Technical Writing

Posted in TechComm on 11/23/20173 min read

Begin

So, you're considering a career in technical writing. Maybe we're a bit biased, but that's an excellent choice. You'll get to work closely with the products and services that may change people's lives and prepare user documentation for manuals, articles, online help and other supporting documents. It's a gratifying job, though not without challenges.

Here are some of the challenges you will face:

But, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages:

  • Developing expertise in a certain industry;
  • Working on interesting projects;
  • Staying up to date with the latest technological trends.

There are a lot of companies out there looking for skilled technical writers to help them create their knowledge base – and, we're not referring just to the IT industry.

Here's a list of five things that can help set yourself apart...

1. Practice

Technical writing is, at its core, dependent on good writing skills. Now, you can't exactly learn how to write well, but with a decent amount of practice, your skills can improve significantly.

Once you get the hang of things, you should consider publishing your work. Start a blog dedicated to tutorials in the industry you want to work in, and slowly build a following. It's a great form of practice and something you can use to your advantage at an interview.

You may also like to read about the 11 essential skills of a good technical writer.

2. Consider Open-Source Projects

Just because you're not in the industry yet, doesn't mean you can't acquire experience working in it. Open-source projects are in high need of user documentation. Look for something that is relevant to your skills and contribute to it.

Do something great

3. Stay in the Loop

A job in technical writing requires a lot of research. You're not all knowledgeable, and you need to study a lot to be able to communicate the desired message to the target audience. But, if you want to set yourself apart, then you should go the extra mile and try to keep up to date with the latest trends in your niche. That way, you can become an expert and have an easier time acquiring projects.

4. Get Certification

Although not mandatory, a diploma in the industry you're interested in or even certification in writing or communication can give you a great competitive advantage. There are a lot of classes you can take online that can help you practice your skills and acquire more knowledge.

Differentiate

5. Differentiate Yourself from Other Technical Writers

Technical writing can be a pretty competitive industry, so you need to show employers that you can do more than just write quality content. For instance, if you want to work in a software company, you could also learn to code. That way, you'll be able to understand the service better and create a fantastic knowledge base. You should also become knowledgeable in using help authoring tools to gain an advantage over other writers.

Over to You

Regardless if you opt to work as a freelancer, or you decide to join a company full time, use these tips to build your portfolio before you start sending your resume.

Good Luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Online Technical Writing & Documentation Tools

 

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