Re: Breaking into the tech writing job market

Subject: Re: Breaking into the tech writing job market
From: Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2006 17:05:38 -0400

Vincent Marianiello wrote:

How does one get that first tech writing job without the experience? ... I have a Masters in English, but apparently that doesn't mean much to
potential employers. It seems that there's no such thing as an entry level
tech writing job (all the job listings I've seen demand 5+ years of
experience) so how in the world would someone, fresh out of college, embark
on a tech writing career?

I think if you poll the list, you'd find that most of us fell into technical writing. Having a Masters in English proves you know about subject/verb agreement and the rules of grammar, but it says nothing about your knowledge of the "field" of technical writing you want to enter....and yes, there are many technical writing fields and no hiring authority has the resources to train you in any of them. My specialty is hardware, software and Help. I also do website development, photography, videography and graphic arts. I don't know squat about drug industry (except for some experimentation in the 60s). Can I get a TW job in pharmaceuticals? Probably, but only because I have a long and varied track record and I can bring something to the table in addition to my ability to turn a good phrase.

Use your English degree to get that first "entry level" TW position, and then use that position to prove you can write in an ever changing environment under deadline pressure about subjects you may or may not know anything about. As for your assumption that there are no entry level positions out there, there all over the place. Try a temp agency, do an Internet search of every company in your area that could possibly use a the services of a TW. Get your hair trimmed, put on your best dress shirt and tie, and start knocking on doors. Sooner or later someone will answer. Oh yeah, if you don't have any TW samples, create some.


Al Geist
Technical Writing, Online Help, Marketing Collateral, Web Design, Award Winning Videos, Professional Photography
Voice/Msg: 802-658-3140

Cell: 802-578-3964
E-mail: al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com <mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
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Breaking into the tech writing job market: From: Vincent Marianiello

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