Breaking in

Subject: Breaking in
From: David Orr <dorr -at- ORRNET -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 09:32:01 -0600

To those frustrated with trying to break in to tech writing, try
creating your own writing sample. I have hired more than one person
lacking in credentials but possessed of enough initiative to:

1. Research good writing and documentation practices and standards
2. Learn a software product
3. Write and desktop publish a 10-page or so writing sample (Usually, a
procedure for doing something.)

The advantage of creating your own sample are:

1. Nobody can stop your from doing it, credentials or not.
2. It proves you can do it.
3. It shows the "go-get-em" attitude that is essential in a good tech
writer.

Another good idea is to research the industry you want to break into.
For example, if you want to break into writing for computers, go to a
university bookstore, buy an introductory book to data processing, and
pretend you have a final exam on the subject. Learning the jargon,
structure, history, and trends in an industry may give you a leg up even
on many people with tech writing credentials.

David Orr
Orr & Associates

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