To start a new thread...

Subject: To start a new thread...
From: Steve Owens <uso01 -at- EAGLE -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 1994 11:53:48 +0700

> I've been doing live technical support for about six years now. I REALLY want
> to get into a technical writing position. The problem is, most tech writing
> positions require experience--the old Catch-22.
> [...]
> However, whenever I check want ads, there are never entry-level positions.
> So, how does one get started in tech writing?

This is a classic catch-22 in job-hunting, and it seems to be
an even bigger issue in the techwriting field. One thing I'd strongly
suggest is doing whatever writing you can for your tech support job.

Our technical support section has all sorts of minor
documents, tech tips, detailed answers to frequently asked questions,
etc, that they fax out to customers as necessary. Your company may
have such as well - or they may be interested in doing such if you
pitch it to them right. One thing I'd definitely suggest (from my
scant experience) is getting as many of these as possible under your

A second suggestion is to look into moving sideways in your
company, i.e. moving from tech support to tech writing in the same
company. If you have a lot of these minidocuments to your credit, it
builds an even stronger case, because your samples are directly
applicable to the topics your company's techwriting department works
with. Additionally, to your company you're a known quantity, which
increases your chances of getting an interview and/or job with the
company (this came up in a recent discussion here about "box jobs".
Check out the techwr-l index and request copies of those messages if
you missed this discussion).

There have been various discussions and recommendations for
books on technical writing and the like, here. Somebody posted a
whole list of them a ways back, and I've been snagging messages and
adding them to my own private file as I see them. Read and learn
about as many of these as possible (if you want a copy of my archive
of posts about books, mail me privately and ask - it's extremely
rough, just copies of messages that refer to books people found

I've learned a whole lot from this mailing list. You could
do worse than to keep following it.


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