Re: where to volunteer to get tech writing experience...

Subject: Re: where to volunteer to get tech writing experience...
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 01:57:09 -0400

Networking will give you the most chance of finding a job or volunteer position in the field. Are you looking for a specific type of technical writing, i.e., for software? Then network where the software people are. If not, cast your net wide and see if there are any charitable organizations or special interest groups that need some documentation. Policy and procedural manuals, such as how-to guides, or reference manuals about services, are all forms of technical writing.

Start close to home with something that you are interested in. Is there a publication that _should_ exist for hikers in your area, but doesn't? Go ahead and write one. If it's good, you could even sell it commercially. You could try to get sponsorship for it. You could self-publish it. At the very least, it would be a portfolio piece for you, even if all you did was publish it in PDF. If you also have web skills you want to promote, then do an accompanying website as well.

Work on an open source documentation project. Add entries to a wiki in your areas of interest or expertise. Start a blog about a technical subject or aspect of technology and promote the blog as part of your networking.

Contact small manufacturing companies or businesses that might need documentation, and negotiate a win-win deal that suits both of you. They get good documentation for a small fee, and you get a start on your career. Connect with new grads in programming or software engineering who might be working on their own projects now and need documentation. Ask your former professors if they know of anyone who needs documentation but may not be able to pay full price for it. Maybe _they_ need something documented in return for a recommendation, referral or reference.

When you find your own assignment, make sure you get the agreement of the organization that they will be a reference for you, and that you can show the documentation you create for them to prospective employers.

Hiking Nut wrote:

Hello, can anyone recommend a company or organization where one could
volunteer to do technical writing? I'm finding it a challenge landing
that first position (especially without anything to put into my


Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


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where to volunteer to get tech writing experience...: From: Hiking Nut

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