Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer

Subject: Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer
From: Monica Cellio <cellio -at- pobox -dot- com>
To: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2016 18:31:31 -0400

First and foremost, analytical thinking -- the same skills that go
into analyzing a product or proposal for completeness, consistency,
usability, and so on go into other business decisions.

I'd also mention user-experience factors. Understanding who your user
is, what he's trying to accomplish, and how your product fits into
that is something a good technical writer understands and high-level
business people need.

I regularly apply all that to product definition; I work with the
developers on our team through functional specs, interface design, and
sometimes implementation design to make what we're building better for
our users. That I spend much of my time writing words instead of
writing code doesn't matter. This is all stuff you have to understand
before you write those words.

Monica


On Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 6:19 PM, Janoff, Steven
<Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
> Apologies if this has been dealt with before.
>
> If you wanted to educate a VP, or someone from the C-suite, as to what "abstract" skills a Tech Writer has that could be applied to their own challenges, what would you list?
>
> This is for the purpose of leveraging existing skills into the needs of a larger department.
>
> I think these folks tend to think of writers as people who "write," and that's it -- if even that. Lot of examples lately of stereotyping as "making things look pretty," or just typing, or whatever.
>
> For me the first things that come to mind are information architecture and the organizing of information. What comes to mind for you?
>
> So if you're sitting talking with a VP and you want to think of how you could plug into his or her agenda, how would you characterize the highest level, most abstract version of your skills?
>
> You wouldn't say things like, "I can write stuff for you," or "I can make your reports look pretty."
>
> What would you say?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Steve
>
> PS - This is *not* where you're sitting there trying to pitch yourself as a Technical Writer. What you're trying to do is pitch a way that you could approach one or more of their highest challenges for which you have skills that could be applied. Process improvement is an example, but not just Technical Writing process improvement or necessarily anything related to Tech Writing -- it's just that your skills as a Tech Writer, in some abstract form, at the highest level, might be able to be applied to their problem/challenge/opportunity, whatever you want to call it.
>
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Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven

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