TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Don't despair, there are kind souls out there that are willing to give a
fresh faced college student a try. I've only been working for a year,
hired right out of college, with only classroom experience, too. I was
thrown into the fire because I was the only tech writer at my present
job trying to maintain three five-hundred page manuals, keep up with
updates to the product, and learn the chemical engineering field
terminology! No copying for me.
I do know how you feel though without the required computer skills. But
all the programs that employers ask for today, MS Word, FrameMaker,
Acrobat, etc, I learned on-the-job. I only had a smattering of Macintosh
skills when I was hired. Now I am writing for a complex, client/server
I consider myself lucky that I found this job. It was only the second
job I applied for out of college and the only interview I went on. So
sometimes you do luck out.
>From: Megan Elizabeth Mc Macken[SMTP:S1057984 -at- CEDARNET -dot- CEDARVILLE -dot- EDU]
>Sent: Wednesday, October 16, 1996 2:17 PM
>To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
>Subject: entry-level positions
>Greetings! I'm a college senior who will soon begin my quest for The
>Perfect First Technical Writing Job (tm). So far I have only seen
>one entry-level job advertised, and that was in an online job
>database. Everyone else is asking for two to five years of
>experience, often with software we don't run on our network.
>Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a tech writing internship this
>summer like several of my classmates did. My internship has amounted
>to designing and creating a home page for our student chapter of the
>STC and a home page for my college's English department. I wouldn't
>say that that has been a very practical or realistic experience, but
>it's been fun and I've learned a lot of HTML.
>So, I'll graduate with no writing experience beyond what I've gotten
>from class assignments. What did the rest of you do when you found
>yourselves in this position after finishing a technical writing
>program of some sort? Did you end up standing at a copy machine day
>after day, or did some kind soul hire you and help you get into the
>technical writing groove by trusting you with real writing
>assignments? What kinds of entry-level responsibilities did you end