RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer

Subject: RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Sharon Burton <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>, "Jelus, Susan C." <susan -dot- jelus -at- thermofisher -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2016 01:11:47 +0000

That has merit but it also conjures an image of someone presenting a resume or LinkedIn profile and then adding in outcomes, such as dollars saved or sales totals.

This isn't about selling someone on a background. It's about presenting the opportunity provided by a skill.

In other words, the focus is not on being a Tech Writer, it's on the skill.

You wouldn't say, "I'm a Tech Writer, so I can do this for you." You might say, "I happen to be really good at this skill, and oh by the way, I honed it along the way of being a Tech Writer, but I don't just have to apply it to documentation or anything that Tech Writers do. I can apply it to your issue even though that issue has nothing to do with tech writing."

I mean, Tech Writing does build some skills very deeply. It's just that, you don't always have to be a Tech Writer in order to use those skills -- you can use them in other contexts, equally effectively if not more so. And you can accomplish tasks that the person in question wouldn't have thought to consult a Tech Writer about, because their conception of what a Tech Writer does is so excruciatingly limited.

I'm betting the average VP has no clue what a Tech Writer does, meaning the full scale of all the various skills involved.

I don't know if I'm helping matters or making it more confusing.

Steve


On Tuesday, September 06, 2016 5:51 PM, Sharon Burton wrote:

Tie your skills to what problems the company cares deeply about and big hint: it's about the money.

What skills do we possess that retain customers? A positive post sales experience because people can use the product. That leads to increased revenue because happy customers buy more product - increased customer lifetime value AND it's much easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers.

The VP is held accountable for these sorts of things - these are her KPIs and her bonus is tied to improving her KPIs. Any skills we tech comm people have are not relevant to her unless you can show how they impact her KPIs and her bonus. It's all noise otherwise.

Sent from my iPhone
951-202-0813
I am available when online thru Skype at Sharon.v.burton.

> On Sep 6, 2016, at 5:38 PM, Janoff, Steven <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
>
> These are skills a tech writer needs in addition to writing, if applying for a job as a Tech Writer.
>
> But there's some good material in here.
>
> Let's assume you have all of these skills, and you're good at all of them:
>
> * Interviewing skills (including people skills)
> * Analytical ability (to perform audience, needs, and task analysis)
> * Knowledge of information product methods and materials
> * Customer focus
> * Organizational ability
> * Good attention to detail
> * Instructional development
>
> Now let's assume that the VP has a problem that has nothing to do with documentation, or UX, or information products, or anything we normally deal with.
>
> What are some of the highest level challenges you could imagine, that you could apply these skills to, with success?
>
> For example: "Interviewing skills (including people skills)" -- perhaps you could help the VP build a team for a particular project.
>
> I'm just reaching here, and that's not the best example. It could be helping with business process improvement within the VP's department. Or organizing the VP's various corporate policies into a SharePoint site.
>
> I'm not doing a very good job of explaining this, obviously, but I'm trying to think outside the box.
>
> The problem is in thinking about what we do relative to what we do, versus what we do relative to what someone at a higher level might do.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Steve
>
> PS - Thought experiment: "Analytical ability (to perform audience, needs, and task analysis)" -- how would you apply that skill to a non-documentation, non-UX project?
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jelus, Susan C. [mailto:susan -dot- jelus -at- thermofisher -dot- com]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2016 4:25 PM
> To: Janoff, Steven <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer
>
> Skills a tech writer needs in addition to writing:
>
> Interviewing skills (including people skills) Analytical ability (to
> perform audience, needs, and task analysis) Knowledge of information
> product methods and materials Customer focus Organizational ability
> Good attention to detail Instructional development
>
> Susan Jelus
> Senior Technical Writer
> Thermo Fisher Scientific
> Logan, Utah

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Jelus, Susan C.
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Sharon Burton

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