To help make sure you land the technical writer jobs you are after, follow our seven simple steps.
Step One: Make Sure You are Qualified
Qualifying for a job in technical writing is not a “one and done” type of issue. While you may have gotten a technical writing job in the past or any writing job in the past, this doesn’t mean that you can sit back and ride out the rest of your career on those skills. Writers need to constantly be perfecting the skills they have as well as learning new skills. This is especially true for technical writing jobs, it is of the utmost importance that you are on top of the latest tools, that you have the most recent books and you are taking the appropriate classes to stay on top of what is going on.
Step Two: Show Off Those Qualifications
Talk is cheap in the world of writing. Anyone can tell a perspective employer that they can write and that they have the skills required for a job. However you need to demonstrate to the perspective employer what you have done. Create a resume and a portfolio that backs up all of your claims.
Step Three: Create Your Contact List
Don’t be like the majority of writers and skip this step. Not creating a contact list is one of the top reasons why most job searches fail. What is you contact list? It is a list of places you are going to reach out to find a job. Yes, job boards and classified ad are good but you also want to have a list of people that you can cold call. Think of this as your advertising campaign for your services.
Step Four: Don’t Be Afraid to Call Employers
This is a way for you to increase your contact list. Call employers in your field of expertise and pitch ideas to them. Find out if there are any projects they may need help with and not realize that a service such as yours is even available to them.
Step Five: Nail the Interview
While job interviews are grueling, they are also a necessary evil. This means that you put your best foot forward when you walk into that interview. This includes being appropriately dressed, dressed to impress. Be prepared to answer dumb questions or even probing questions and answer them intelligently all the while presenting yourself as the ideal candidate for what they are looking for.
Here are a couple of preparation steps for that interview:
1. Take a drive by the company before the interview.
2. Do a little “snooping” to see how people in the company dress and who dresses a little better then everyone else. Make sure that you walk in there well groomed and clean, avoid cologne or perfume on your interview.
3. Bring your portfolio with you and be prepared to present your portfolio in a positive and open fashion.
4. Demonstrate to the interviewer that you have knowledge about their company. Be prepared to tell them why you want to work for them.
5. Ask when the interviewer plans on making decision.
6. Make sure you remember the names of the people that interviewed you!
Step Six: Follow Up
While each and every step in the process is essential if you are trying to land that high paying technical writing job, following up on the interview can be the step that seals the deal. Send a thank you note, as soon as you get home from your interview. You may laugh at this or think it is silly, but it will make a lasting impression on your potential employer, an impression that is going to get you a call back.
Then make a pleasant phone call three days after that. There is an old saying that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease,” in other words you want to keep your name fresh in their heads. So when it is time to make a decision your name is the first they think of.
Step Seven: Don’t Stop
Until you have the job you should continually be renewing your job search efforts. This is especially true for home based writers or freelance writers, if you are not marketing yourself each and every day you will most likely not be working in 3 to 6 months.