Re: Titles for Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Titles for Technical Writers
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 12:05:06 -0600

>> Therefore, if I'm printing up a business card, I may be inclined to use
>> something like Technical Documentation Specialist. If I'm creating a
>> resume, plain ol' generic Technical Writer (along with
>> Sr/Principal/Staff or whatever level is applicable) would probably serve
>> me better.
>
>But some of us don't get to pick our own titles.

Maybe not on the job, but you can on your resume.
>
>My high-falutin' title (Instructional Development Specialist) actually
>describes my job more accurately than "technical writer" or
>"technical communication specialist" (the two previous titles I've
>had while doing this same job), but it will be more limiting if I want
>to move into a job that's more pure writing.

Having a title that describes your present job is fine. To me, it's not
the title. It's how and where it is used. Internally and with customers
you may have no choice but to use a company-bestowed title. In these
cases it may be beneficial to use an enhanced title.

However, on a resume, I suggest that unless the job specifically asks
for some type of specialist, documentation engineer, and so forth, that
the title Technical Writer may cast a broader net. Regardless of what a
company titles a person, they can still call use the title Technical
Writer on their resume.

>I think that's something
>to consider -- while you (obviously) don't want your title to be
>misleading or puffed-up, you do want to emphasize what you'd prefer
>to have emphasized. If you have a choice, that is.
>
I don't want my title to be too limiting. From the job descriptions
I've read in this forum and in listings, it is evident that Technical
Writers handle a wide range of duties, documentation mediums, and
product lines. I don't want a title on my resume that implies that I
only produce programming, marketing, instructional, or so forth
documentation when I have handled many areas of the job.

Nor do I want a title that is too vague. A vague title could be
perceived as a writer, an editor, a document coordinator, or someone who
operates a three-holed press.

The title Technical Writer is not perfect. But until I find one that
encompasses non-writing skills (such as programming, interface design,
and so forth) but does not limit the area in which duties can be
performed, it will do.

Mike Wing
_____________________________________________
| Michael Wing
| Principal Technical Writer
| Infrastructure Technical Information Development
| http://www.ingr.com/iss/products/mapping/
| Intergraph Corporation
| Huntsville, Alabama
| (205) 730-7250
| mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com

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