The Job SearchA Lesson by Evin
How to begin your technical writing job search.
Ah yes, the infamous job search. If you are like me, you’ve always somewhat cringed upon hearing “job search.” It doesn’t have to necessarily be that way. The first step you should obviously take is to create a really good, eye-appealing resume. You will need a resume whether you choose to work for an employer or to work freelance. Typically before you are offered work as a freelance tech writer, potential clients will ask to see your resume and may even ask for references, so be prepared.
I also want to mention that most potential employers and clients will ask for writing samples. I know this can be a problem for those of you who are planning on transitioning into the tech writing field, without any previous experience. Do not let this deter you, as you can easily prepare some writing samples that will impress those that see them. You have a couple of options here.
First, you can create your own. Remember the suggestion I gave for testing your aptitude for tech writing? Ensure your test writing appears as professional as possible. Format it, add some graphics to it, spell check it, and have someone edit it for you. Have a soft copy available online so you can easily email it to those who request it. Also have a nice printed copy in a binder that you can carry with you to interviews. I can almost guarantee they will ask you to send writing samples if you don’t have them with you. You only stand to further impress potential clients/employers if you happen to have one with you during the interview process. Not only do they not have to wait to receive it, but you will impress them by showing up prepared.
Another approach would be to take on some small, paying jobs. Sites such as Elance (www.elance.com) contain people seeking writers (amongst other positions) to complete various jobs. The pay is really all over the map, so you may find yourself completing some of the jobs that pay a bit less however, it is an easy way to build up your samples and portfolio. Keep in mind that sites such as Elance can almost be a catch-22. It can be difficult to find people to hire you without samples, yet it’s difficult to gather your samples without someone that will hire you. My advice (as with anything), is to try and try again.
Finding the job postings can actually be the easiest part of your job search. There are many, many sites out there such as indeed.com, simplyhired.com, craigslist.com, linkedin.com and the list goes on. Another great way to search for tech writing jobs is to send your resume to some local recruiters in your area. They will often let you know what your resume needs, along with actually taking care of the searching part of the job search for you.
Plus it’s a great way to network and to even try a few different jobs as a contractor. This can really give you a feel of various authoring tools and various types of tech writing to find out what you enjoy the most.
Added on September 24, 2012
Last Updated on September 24, 2012
AboutI am a writer, a publisher and an instructor. I currently work as a book coach and assist writers through the publishing process (self or traditional). I also offer technical writing courses. I write ..