Technical Writing Aid

Hiring Technical Writers

Hiring managers usually look for a candidate with a writing background. Some managers prefer a writer with experience in a particular industry. Others believe that a good writer can produce quality work with no prior knowledge of the topic. Unquestionably, a good technical writer must be able to do the following:

  • Design a crisp, concise document that can be manipulated both offline and online
  • Ensure the document is organized and easy to update if needed
  • Use language that is easy to understand

The resume of a technical writer should be perfect. Most employers excuse small errors on the resumes of other job candidates, but expect a technical writer to design documents without mistakes. Remember, the Human Resources clerk scans your resume into a databank. Align your resume properly, with consistent margins and bullets. Use plain fonts, such as Times New Roman, Arial or Verdana. Do not submit a smudged photocopy; the content must be legible for the scanner.

An inexperienced technical writer may be considered for employment, provided he or she achieved a high Grade Point Average (GPA) and majored in English, Communications, Journalism, or a related discipline. Your potential employer will likely administer a standardized competency test. A legitimate test is highly specific to the actual work the writer will do for the company. A typical test contains sections on typing speed, grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, comprehension, alphabetizing, numeracy, citations, editing and a 500-word essay. It may also include skill testing for intermediate word processing or layout functions. Beware an employer who asks you to complete a lengthy, original article for no compensation. A legitimate competency test determines if a candidate follows instructions, pays attention to details, and comprehends what the company produces.

If you are a hiring manager, a good place to find quality technical writing candidates is the Society for Technical Communication (STC) at http://www.stc.org/.

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Last Updated: 07/29/2014

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