The job of a technical writer is to produce technical documents, white papers, instruction manuals, and similar content for companies primarily in the scientific, technological, and medical industries. While it can be a very lucrative career, it’s also a highly competitive one.
Fortunately, these five steps will make your journey to becoming a professional technical writer much simpler:
- Get An Education In Technical Writing
While a college degree is not a requisite for all technical writing jobs, it will always be easier to get a job if you have one. The best degree to get will be in English or creative writing with an emphasis on technical writing.
At the very least, college courses provide you with the opportunity to learn or improve basic technical writing skills such as researching, documentation, graphic design, editing, and publishing.
- Build Your Computer Skills
To make it as a technical writer, you simply have to be familiar with all of the major computer applications and programs that are out there, such as Microsoft Office, Adobe, Lotus, and so on. There are a variety of online resources you can use to build your computer skills, and you’ll want to take advantage of them.
- Learn Search Engine Optimization
When it comes down to it, your clients or employers want to make money, and to make money they need to ensure that any content they publish online reaches a large enough audience. This is why learning search engine optimization (SEO) will be a great asset to you as a technical writer, because potential employers will want to hire someone who they feel can create content that will rank highly on search engines.
You can find out which keywords to integrate into the content you produce by submitting the link of any popular website in a similar field into an SEO page analyzer, which will then list out which keywords people are using to find that site. Those same keywords will only naturally help people find the website of your client or employer as well.
- Build Your Portfolio
When applying for technical writing jobs, potential employers will also want to see samples of work you have completed already. These samples must be professionally written, free of any grammar and spelling errors, and include a variety of examples ranging from product manuals to journal entries and white paper excerpts.
If you don’t yet have a large enough portfolio, consider applying to one time technical writing gigs on freelance sites. Not only will you build your portfolio and your experience, you’ll also get paid in the process.
- Start Applying To Jobs
Finally, once you have built up your skills in technical writing and put together a diverse portfolio, you can begin applying to actual technical writing jobs that have an official salary and everything. You’ll probably have to start at an entry level position, but you’ll be able to work your way up later.
Compile a list of all companies you know who are hiring technical writers and begin submitting applications. Try to apply to at least fifty companies if possible. While applying to each of those companies will be a lot of work, it increases your odds of securing a job and officially beginning your career.
Begin Your Technical Writing Career
If you feel that working as a technical writer is the right career for you, by following the steps we have outlined in this article you will ensure that your path to making this career become a reality for you is made easier.