Entry-Level Technical Writer salary

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Denise in Fort Campbell, Kentucky

69 months ago

I am graduating college this year with a B.A. in English and looking for an entry-level techncial writing position in Nashville, TN. How much can I expect to make with a five month technical writing internship under my belt? I am interested in working in the computer industry.

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jacob in Bowling Green, Kentucky

69 months ago

Denise,

I'm pretty much in the same boat. I am graduating in December with a BA in English with a writing minor, and I've been looking for a technical writing job in Nashville or the surrounding area. I've been applying for lots of tech writer jobs, and from what I've seen and read, EVERY employer wants at least 1 year of previous experience, and there really is no entry level technical writer job. I had to take an unpaid internship this semester and I still haven't landed a big-boy job...
let me know if I can answer any questions for you.

good luck!

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Luckylizard in Carthage, Texas

68 months ago

check out www.rentacoder.com they have several entry level writing jobs that actually pay. Helps me out with rent every now and then.

Mac

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1234 in Portland, Oregon

56 months ago

I have been out of school for a year looking for an entry-level tech writing job. I did three years worth of internships in university and it feels like none of it matters. The economy SUCKS and no one wants to hire green tech writers. The job postings almost all want people who are at an "expert" level and have skills with RoboHelp, Framemaker, DITA....it is EXTREMELY frustrating. I never thought that a year later I would still be jobless. I have branched out and looked in other fields, but come across similar struggles. I took a job working one day a week doing what I did to get myself through college and find it difficult not to be depressed. I am considering going back to school to get my Master's degree. Does anyone else have some advice?

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Roopa Prashanth in Bangalore, India

56 months ago

Hi everybody! really i appreciate your decision that you have chosen technical writing field. But i wanted to inform you one thing, if you want to enter into the world of Technical writing, you must learn some software like Adobe RoboHelp and Adobe FrameMaker and basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop. In software only you are going to create either Help Manual, User Manual, User Guide etc. It is very important that you need to be good in writing also. My advice is try to learn those software which are helpful to create communication documents. Then you can try for the job.I hope you will get the job if you are fresher also. Waiting for reply

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Techone in Portland, Oregon

53 months ago

To the person who is considering going back to school for a Master's degree, I would discourage if you do not have any practical experience. Especially in tech writing. You need some years of working to really see if this field is truly an area of interest. Someday you may want a Master's degree in something else.

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isaac in Winnipeg, Manitoba

53 months ago

What do you need to break into the technical writing industry? I have a BA in English and I will soon be getting my Technical Writing Certificate this summer. From what I hear, it's very tough to get a job without work experience. I'm still pretty young and have only worked at low level, labour type jobs to pay my way through school and stuff. So how does someone break into the field to get that first job? Do I need more than just a BA?

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Roopa Prashanth in Bangalore, India

53 months ago

Dear Isaac, don't lose your confidence. It is not too tough to get a job without work experience. Well my suggestion is : prepare 1 or 2 User Manual using FrameMaker and Online Help (Web Help, HTML Help, Flash Help) using RoboHelp as an examples to show your recruiter. If you get job in contract basis in starting stage, Please go and join to gain experience. And coming to your education, i hope BA in English is enough to become a writer. If you are interested to go for higher education, i would suggest you to go for correspondence. So that you can work and study.

All the best......

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Mahdi in Atlanta, Georgia

53 months ago

isaac in Winnipeg, Manitoba said: What do you need to break into the technical writing industry? I have a BA in English and I will soon be getting my Technical Writing Certificate this summer. From what I hear, it's very tough to get a job without work experience. I'm still pretty young and have only worked at low level, labour type jobs to pay my way through school and stuff. So how does someone break into the field to get that first job? Do I need more than just a BA?

Isaac, I'm in the same boat you are in. I'll be graduating in May with a BA in English. I've applied to numerous jobs, and it seems like every single one requires you to be some kind of expert, and if not an expert, they at least want you to have a couple years of experience and extensive knowledge of computer software programs. About that technical writing certification, what is that all about? Where can you receive that at? Can you get that in just one summer? And does that certificate entail computer knowledge that we need to be more marketable?

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Isaac in Winnipeg, Manitoba

53 months ago

The Techincal Writing (sometimes called Technical Communications) program I'm taking is at a school for applied arts and technology called Red River College here in Winnipeg. It's a fairly new program here, but I'm sure it would be offered at any major tech school. You might even be able to get it via distance ed, I'm not sure. For me, the full program was about 7 or 8 classes. It depends on how much time you have and how lucky you end up with scheduling conflicts, but it would take at least 1 year to finish, it took me between 1-2 years. I'm still finishing it up, but I'm enjoying it a lot - you get classes on editing, plain language, manual design, online documentation, and a bunch of options for computer classes, project mgmt, presentation/public speaking skills, etc. It is definetely easier than university, (academics-wise) and in a lot of ways more fun and useful for the working world.

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Keisha in Round Lake, Illinois

53 months ago

Actually to all of you out there here are a few things I've learned while looking for work... First thing is to network yourself by finding your local chapter for the Society for Technical Communication or STC.org. I went to one of their meetings and found a few people to network with and while I still have a while to go in school, My degree is going to be a B.A. @ DePaul University (its not offered in their traditional school, I am in the Student for New Learning program ) Professional and Technical Communications with a focus on New Media such as web content and digital media. Also like someone else said Robo and Framemaker would be ideal. I am taking an InDesign class for no credit write now through the community college and as soon as framemaker or robo help is available I will take them too. Also try mediabisto.com its a writers website that has classes and lots of information too. Good luck in your goals!...

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Sarah in Duluth, Minnesota

52 months ago

College is an absolute scam. Why anyone would go and spend $40,000 on a stupid degree is on me. Want to know what happens after you graduate? Go take a look at all the college grads complaining about their jobs washing dishes and serving people food. www.thegreatcollegehoax.com

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M in Seattle, Washington

52 months ago

Sarah in Duluth, Minnesota said: College is an absolute scam. Why anyone would go and spend $40,000 on a stupid degree is on me. Want to know what happens after you graduate? Go take a look at all the college grads complaining about their jobs washing dishes and serving people food. www.thegreatcollegehoax.com

You're so right, Sarah. I actually got into technical writing, though I have no degree. In fact, I never even went to college. And when I have an interview, they never even ask about education, only work experience. I have 10 years of experience but I still can't find a job now. This has nothing to do with me, but because the job market is so horrible.

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Paul- Lewis in Yakima, Washington

51 months ago

I'm graduating in a couple months and am in the same boat. What I did was apply for everything like a madman, especially summer internships. Lockheed and Hanford are located in the along with the PNNL. Also looked at the west side. Aside from that I have been working on my design and writing chops using sites like 99designs and freelancer.

I also found there are small tech writing jobs on craigslist, little mom and pop places looking for procedures to be written. Also check with your local Chamber of commerce. I live in a pretty non tech saavy area and I'm trying to get on board designing websites for businesses.

Pretty much just keep hustling for little money until you have experience.

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G in Seattle, Washington

51 months ago

Well I'm not trying to burst anyone's bubble, but it's hard even if you do have experience. I have TONS of it as a tech writer, I live in Seattle, and I still can't find ANYTHING due to the current job market. I don't want to discourage anyone, but I also want to be honest so you know what it's like for someone who does have experience. It's a terrible time. However, doing ANY kind of work with documentation or any form of writing is a good start, if you can find it.

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1234 in Lake Oswego, Oregon

51 months ago

Things are still really bad out there, despite what the ignoramouses in Washington DC say. I opted not to get my Master's degree, but have been looking for a technical writing job for almost a year and nothing is available. Where are the jobs???

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1234 in Lake Oswego, Oregon

51 months ago

Techone in Portland, Oregon said: To the person who is considering going back to school for a Master's degree, I would discourage if you do not have any practical experience. Especially in tech writing. You need some years of working to really see if this field is truly an area of interest. Someday you may want a Master's degree in something else.

Yeah, well I opted not to go back to school and get my Master's. Right now I just need a job. I feel like I have applied at most of the Portland companies I can think of and no bites. I am very frustrated!

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M in Seattle, Washington

51 months ago

1234 in Lake Oswego, Oregon said: Yeah, well I opted not to go back to school and get my Master's. Right now I just need a job. I feel like I have applied at most of the Portland companies I can think of and no bites. I am very frustrated!

Hey 1234, I feel your pain. I can't find anything either, and I've been a tech writer for 10 years!

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M in Seattle, Washington

51 months ago

1234 in Lake Oswego, Oregon said: Great! (and I mean that sarcastically) Most of my family has been immune from the bad economy so they can't understand why I can't find a job. I get the impression that they think I am just goofing off or not trying because they have said, "if you were really trying you'd find something" Uhh...NO! lol. SO...what is there to do? How does one get an edge on getting a job right now???? I was born and raised in the Seattle area, and I have wanted to move back, but if the situation in Seattle is bad also, then why bother. DO you do tech. writing for software companies? What type of writing are you doing?

Yeah people don't understand, which is why I pretty much avoid everybody now. They seem to assume that you're either not trying hard enough, don't really want to work, or are just being too picky. Of course, none of it is true. In typical times it may be, but not in this worst job market since the 1930s. The unemployment numbers simply do not include everyone who's out of work. So at least you can't blame yourself.

I've had tech writing jobs at Microsoft, Boeing, WA State Ferries, and in biotech. All of my supervisors have been happy with me. I also worked for a publisher at one point, so my experience is very broad. But you shouldn't just give up, because the job title "Technical Writer" (or similar) can mean different things. A job that fits one writer, may not fit another and they are looking more and more for the "perfect" fit these days. Some writers have found work, while others (who are just as good) have not. There are a number of contributing factors with any job candidate, of course.

Well I hope that I didn't make you feel worse. I just thought I'd share my story, and be honest about it. I hope you will find something soon.

M

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1234 in Lake Oswego, Oregon

51 months ago

You worked for the WA state ferries? Did you know a red head named Yvonne? I didn't know they hired writers...but now that I think about it, they have plenty of ferry schedules and pamphlets. How did you get that job? Did you know someone or was there a posting and you applied? I have found that most of the people I know right now who are finding work are people who know people. I would love to work for the ferry system (I know you might be saying, what?) but if it weren't for the ferry system I wouldn't be here. My parents met on the Bremerton/Seattle run 51 years ago. Are you on Linkedin? If you were interested in networking let me know.

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M in Seattle, Washington

51 months ago

That name doesn't ring a bell. I got the job through a random call from a recruiter. That's the way it normally works when times are good. I worked there for 2.5 years. I recently asked if they could use me again, but they said that they don't have the budget. I just e-mailed one of the big managers, and she completely ignored me. So I really feel like nothing I do matters.

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M in Seattle, Washington

51 months ago

The US job market is REALLY REALLY BAD and everyone seems to be in denial about it. They just look the other way to keep up appearances, and pretend that everything is just fine. I've been looking for work for 4 months now. But despite all my experience, my good work references and referrals, I haven't been able to score a single interview.

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M in Seattle, Washington

51 months ago

1234 in Lake Oswego, Oregon said: You worked for the WA state ferries? Did you know a red head named Yvonne? I didn't know they hired writers...but now that I think about it, they have plenty of ferry schedules and pamphlets. How did you get that job? Did you know someone or was there a posting and you applied? I have found that most of the people I know right now who are finding work are people who know people. I would love to work for the ferry system (I know you might be saying, what?) but if it weren't for the ferry system I wouldn't be here. My parents met on the Bremerton/Seattle run 51 years ago. Are you on Linkedin? If you were interested in networking let me know.

By the way, I heard back and there's just no budget right now. In fact, they just got 500 applicants for a part-time job cleaning toilets.

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Maidez in Grand Rapids, Michigan

50 months ago

I started as a technical writer back in the 1990s, and I've seen the role evolve, at least in the realm of software development. If you see yourself at the end of the development food chain, then I wouldn't consider you for a technical writing position. You need to demonstrate that you can bridge various functions in the product development process and deliver value both upstream and downstream of the traditional writing phase. Your technical fluency and product knowledge shouldn't be manifested only in user guides, help files, etc. In a down economy companies have to get the most capacity out of every role. Can you contribute to product and corporate marketing functions? Maintain websites? Execute test plans and perform product QA? Design training courses to generate revenue? Help support the customer service department? The business case for hiring someone "just" to do the technical writing is a hard one to make these days.

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M in Seattle, Washington

50 months ago

It's true that tech writers have to be all kinds of things, but no one can have a core competency in everything. I worked as a tech writer in multiple roles throughout the 2000s. Providing GOOD documentation usually requires a full-time effort. Typically, when someone works in one role AND also provides writing, the quality of their writing isn't very good (due to either the lack of ability or the lack of time). There still ARE jobs, but far too many qualified people looking, which is true with virtually everything now. While companies are squeezing more and more out of the workers that they do have, the business case for hiring someone to do the tech writing AND other "miscellaneous functions" competently, with no scope, is an even harder case to make.

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1234 in Portland, Oregon

50 months ago

I agree with "M"

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Maidez in Grand Rapids, Michigan

50 months ago

I respectfully disagree that using the hard-won product and technical knowledge that makes good documentation possible to also enrich other "miscellaneous functions" is a hard case to make. QA, customer support, and marketing (just some possible examples) can and should leverage that expertise. If that knowledge is part of the corporate lifeblood, and I think it is, then manifesting it in technical documentation deliverables only seems to me to diminish the value that a technical writer can bring to an organization. Of course, I do not dispute that any time spent on something other than technical writing means less time for technical writing, but I do not believe that must equate to diminished quality of technical writing. The enhanced understanding of technical use cases (QA), real life application of the product (customer support), and industry demands (marketing) makes for better technical writing.

I did not suggest that writers need to have a core competency in everything. However, recognizing the utility of a communications professional on an integrated team is good business, and I am suggesting that writers can help themselves when they are able to make that case to employers.

All that said, it is a painful job market today and talented professionals who are doing everything right are struggling to connect with work. I wish the best for everyone who is looking.

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M in Seattle, Washington

50 months ago

I can see where you're coming from, but in practical terms, how would a job seeker sell themselves for such a position? The term "Technical Writer" would not be sufficient, so how would the position(s) be advertised? To obtain such a job, how many degrees and/or years of experience would a candidate need to have in each area of expertise? How much time and money would it cost to obtain all these "additional" skills? Tech writing pay rates are already being hit, so would it even be worth it to do 6 jobs in one?! Not to mention the time required to get up to speed, all for a contract job that is probably not longer than a year. All this, when you're in limbo half the time as everybody else on the team is trying to get their act together. While tech writing is a unique role that demands great versatility and adaptability, testers, for example, do nothing but testing and they generally make at least as much money as tech writers. So if it comes to that, and writers are reduced to company contractor slaves who are expected to do virtually every job in a corporation for low wages, I don't think there would be many of us left.

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M in Seattle, Washington

50 months ago

I should also add, Maidez, that expectations many be very different, based on where you live/work. Just for example, much of the work in Seattle is either at or influenced by Microsoft, with its world headquarters here. So the culture and economics of a particular region also plays a huge role in its operations.

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Maidez in Grand Rapids, Michigan

50 months ago

If it warrants clarification, my experiences are my own and based on work in software development in the Midwest. I understand that individual results will vary.

I stated in my first post that I started work as a technical writer back in the 1990s and have seen the role evolve a good deal since then. I've worked for different companies, interviewed for jobs I didn't get, and have had the pleasure of hiring others for technical writer roles. Based on my experience, the position is advertised as Technical Writer, but the responsibilities have become broader over the years. It's not a question of having multiple degrees (or any degree at all) or an expectation that a person can devote 8 hours a day to technical writing while simultaneously devoting 8 hours a day to instructional design, marketing, website maintenance, etc. I appreciate the distinction you draw between technical writing and testing, but if I were asked to propose a reason for such a distinction, I would suggest that technical writing is different because it is, by nature, about activities that aren't bordered with hard lines: information gathering and communication. These activities bleed into other disciplines because the subject matter experts and target audiences are often members of other disciplines.

I am not making a value judgment about this. If a technical writer feels put to a disadvantage by an employer, then I don't doubt that it's true. At the same time, when I last interviewed for positions, all interviewers asked questions about my experience in areas like training and marketing support. This did not signal to me that the employers in question were trying to get a 3-for-1 deal; it just seems to be where technical writing is at. My current role encompasses multiple disciplines, and there is a realistic understanding of the balance that must be struck in any given week to satisfy priorities. I'm fortunate to have experience with corporate structures more horizontal than vertical.

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M in Seattle, Washington

50 months ago

You make some good points. Perhaps I got a bit defensive, feeling vulnerable 'cause I can't find work. But no matter how good someone is or what they've done, I find that people will put you under a microscope when you're lacking something. I am NOT saying that you're doing this, but if you're out of work, everyone tries to find a flaw or a "reason" to criticize, whether it's justified or not. The fact is, the economy is GARBAGE. Even the best candidates get lost in the pile, and their resumes may never see the light of day. I am SO desperate for a job, and there's no reason in the world why I shouldn't have one. It's gotten to the point where I avoid ALL social contact. I can't enjoy anything.

It's true that tech writers tend to not be confined in their roles, which can actually make the job more interesting (as well as complicated). An accountant, for example, has a very clearly-defined role with pretty solid boundaries. The funny thing is that most people have no idea what a tech writer is. The role is even more complicated by the fact that one tech writer job may be totally different than another. It can get a bit crazy trying to determine what you should and shouldn't be doing and what the expectations are. Some teams appreciate when you try to branch out, while others want to keep you in a box. Then you often get caught between departments or what different SMEs want, as you're trying to balance working independently with knowing when to seek assistance. So yeah, it can be tedious, yet it can also be an adventure. I just need a job REALLY, REALLY, REALLY badly.

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JB in West Des Moines, Iowa

49 months ago

To 1234 in Oregon:

You had asked for advice so I will give it to you, though you may not like it. Find an entry level job outside your field with a larger company that employs technical writers. My top suggestion would be with a major bank as a teller. The reason for this is that many companies hire from within before posting jobs externally and give preferential treatment for hiring to current employees. You are competing against others with more experience in a tight job market in a bad economy and will need every advantage you can get. In addition, You can still continue to search for another job while working your entry level position and at least you will be earning some pocket money while you do it. Be prepared to invest at least 6-12 months to the entry level job as most companies do not allow you to change positions within that amount of time. The important thing is to develop a strategy and stick with it and not get discouraged. These practical things, unfortunately, are not taught in colleges.

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1234 in Portland, Oregon

49 months ago

JB in West Des Moines, Iowa said: To 1234 in Oregon:

You had asked for advice so I will give it to you, though you may not like it. Find an entry level job outside your field with a larger company that employs technical writers. My top suggestion would be with a major bank as a teller. The reason for this is that many companies hire from within before posting jobs externally and give preferential treatment for hiring to current employees. You are competing against others with more experience in a tight job market in a bad economy and will need every advantage you can get. In addition, You can still continue to search for another job while working your entry level position and at least you will be earning some pocket money while you do it. Be prepared to invest at least 6-12 months to the entry level job as most companies do not allow you to change positions within that amount of time. The important thing is to develop a strategy and stick with it and not get discouraged. These practical things, unfortunately, are not taught in colleges.

Hey, thanks for your response! I really appreciate it! You sound like my oldest brother. :o) He has given me similar advice. Why a bank teller though? Do banks hire tech writers?? I am currently working at a crappy job, and making just above minimum wage meanwhile some people I know who graduated a few years ahead of me are working in the field and making 75grand a year. So you're talking about getting a job as something like an administrative assistant at a company that has writers on staff? And yes, you're absolutely right....these practical things are NOT taught in college.

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M in Portland, Oregon

49 months ago

JB, with all due respect, have you had to look for a job in the past 2 years or so? These days, entry level jobs are often the HARDEST to find because EVERYBODY defaults to that. Even those with a lot of experience who will take anything. You talk as if these jobs are out there for anyone who wants one. But to be completely honest, it's almost impossible to find ANY job now, even in a major city. Entry level kinds of jobs often get HUNDREDS of applicants. I hate to sound so gloomy, but I'm just being brutally honest here. Sure we should try different things, but I'm not sold on the idea that there's one specific fool-proof strategy when seeking work in 2010.

I know you mean well, but how would someone get a job as a bank teller these days if they have no banking experience or no banking background? Do you think they'd just hire someone off the street when they probably have more than enough great candidates? And besides, it seems that banks are trying to get rid of tellers as everything becomes increasingly more automated.

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JB in Scottsdale, Arizona

49 months ago

To answer a couple of questions:

Q: Why a bank teller?
A: Due to the nature of their business, banks require a very large IT department to support multiple platforms and applications. There is always a need for technical writers to write documentation for the business staff that use these systems and programs. There is always a demand for technical writers in the banking industry. Given the current status of the banking sector with multiple mergers (Wells/Wachovia, Chase/WaMu, BofA/Countrywide) in the past couple of years, banks are hiring across all fields to complete integration work.

Q: Have I had to look for a job in the past 2 years?
A: Yes I have had to search for a job in the past 2 years, and was in my new position in under a month. I took my own advice and took a position with a financial institution that I had worked for many years ago.

In my experience, banks are always looking for tellers. A quick google search shows that there are many teller openings in the Portland area. Anyone with prior banking experience will not look for a job as a teller, they would start at personal banker or assistant manager. Bank tellers have a very high turnover rate. This is not because they lose their job, but because they are quickly promoted if competent or are using it as a stepping stone to apply for another position from within the organization as I described.

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M in Seattle, Washington

48 months ago

Um, you call yourself a technical writer...but what kind of sentence is THAT?! I'm sure you're a nice person, but this is what's happening, folks...we're not working 'cause all our good jobs are going to other countries where people can't even speak English.

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Techone in Portland, Oregon

46 months ago

No value in judging people by a post they write - usually written quickly. Yes, I have looked for contracts and found jobs (every time) in the last 2 years.

If someone is not getting an interview, look at the resume and cover letter. Does it really look interesting enough to catch the attention of HR?

For college grads, try internships with large companies. Call HR, look at their websites, go door to door visiting small companies. Utility, power and government agencies have IT groups too. Network at STC or wherever. A degree in English will not help you find work as a tech writer.

Go work for Home Depot for awhile or deliver pizzas, do whatever it takes to make some money and get any job on your resume.

There are tech writing jobs out there, time to get positive and stop whining.

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PilotKelson in Dallas, Texas

46 months ago

Where are these jobs? When I get one, I will stop whining. Not to sound like a douche, which I know I do, I'm just very very upset. I cannot believe I've been out of college for 10 months and have only had one interview.

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Mahdi in Decatur, Georgia

46 months ago

What did you get an undergrad in? English?

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PilotKelson in Dallas, Texas

46 months ago

Writing

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1234 in Portland, Oregon

46 months ago

I am in the same position, except I have been out of school a year now and only had one interview. I have done a ton of internships (unpaid) and I already work a crappy job--so crappy infact that I have had to break the lease on my apartment and move back home with my mom! I have done everything a person should do to find a tech writing job and more and there just aren't any jobs!! It's really difficult to not feel hopeless and depressed.

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PilotKelson in Dallas, Texas

46 months ago

Wow 1234, I feel like I'm looking in the mirror. I moved to Houston in May because I thought I had a better chance at finding a job there, and so I took all of the money I had and tried to make it but nope. I ended up getting fired from the job I had (I transferred stores from Dallas). I found another job waiting tables and ended up getting laid off two weeks later. I've been unemployed since then. I had to break my lease and I just moved back in with my mom in Dallas this past Friday. I'm going to a temporary agency tomorrow because I don't want to wait tables anymore. Oh, and I've only had one internship.

I honestly have no hope anymore. My dream it to be a cast member on SNL so I'm basically giving up by January and moving back up north for comedy school. Honestly, it seems as though I'd get on SNL faster than I would be able to get any company's attention for one damn job.

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1234 in Portland, Oregon

46 months ago

I almost moved to Texas...I thought there would be jobs there too, but I had a friend move down there and then she got stuck because she couldn't find work and ran out of money so her mom had to come rescue her all the way from Oregon. Anyhow...this job economy is a sad state of affairs indeed! I knew it was going to be tough to find a job, but had no idea HOW tough! I have three older brothers and when they graduated they had jobs lined up weeks before they even had commencement. I wish you luck with SNL, I didn't know there was such a thing as comedy school. I have turned my attention to other areas too. I am busy writing fiction. Hard to know what else to do.

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PilotKelson in Dallas, Texas

46 months ago

Everyone told me that Houston was a city that didn't get affected by this bad economy because they already had their own economy, yet my only interview has come from a very small beach town on the Gulf Coast. I am the first graduate in my family period (I'm Hispanic, so that's not a shocker). My sister graduated a semester behind me and hasn't even tried to find a job. No one in my family has a salary job, which I hate because my student loans are so burdensome that I'm terrified to default and have them start harassing my dad like they do to me.

I'm actually writing a fiction novel about life as an unemployed post graduate, with my journey and how truly hard it is to cope. Unemployment is an incurable depression it seems, especially since I can no longer fund the beer to forget. I really do think I might be able to publish it, but then again, I thought I could get a job as a technical writer!

Perhaps you'd be interested in writing a story as well?

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M in Seattle, Washington

46 months ago

Techone,

First of all, the comment I made about not speaking english, was not directed at anyone currently on this forum. It was directed to someone who posted about tech writing, but they were obviously not even fluent in English. I think that was actually spam, as their comment was actually removed from the site.

Anyway, just because someone doesn't find a job as easily as you do, doesn't mean that they're doing something wrong, not trying hard enough, or not willing enough to work. I think you lack compassion and understanding, as there are MANY more people in our situation these days, than in yours.

Actually, I just started a new job, but I went through hell and I know that there are many unemployed people out there who are just as qualified as I am to do my job. There's always an element of luck in any kind of success, so you should count your blessings.

Of course there are many things one can do to increase their chances, but the job market is a disaster (worst since The Great Depression) and it is filled with job seekers who happen to be doing EVERYTHING right, plus they have a great background, good personal attributes and all the requirements. Yet there are simply too few jobs for too many people.

Having a positive attitude is a good thing, but we are human, not machines, and it's very easy to feel so beaten down after so many disappointments. You can't really blame anyone on here for feeling the way they do. And I'm still feeling it 'cause there are never any guarantees and being out of work for SOOO long made me lose A LOT of money. I didn't have anyone else to move in with.

Your recommendation of just taking "any" job is usually an even harder thing to accomplish 'cause EVERYONE seeking work defaults to lower-level jobs. That's why employers often get HUNDREDS of applications for every job, if they're even hiring at all.

So you really should be a bit more sensitive to those who aren't as fortunate as you are right now.

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Loki in Nashville, Tennessee

46 months ago

I'm a college student and I was considering making a move to Knoxville, TN and uprooting my life (I'm in my mid 20's) to go to UT's Technical Communications program. After reading everything here, I'm seriously reconsidering this choice of a major. I have already struggled financially through my 20's and I don't want to go into debt for a career path that will leave me not knowing when I will have work and when I won't. It seems that this is the case for many professionals in the industry. I'm just not sure if this is for me anymore...I love writing, but maybe it's better to keep it as a hobby.

I'm so sorry for all of you who are going through these hard times. I hope you find what you are looking for soon. What would be your advice to someone considering this as their major?

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PilotKelson in Dallas, Texas

46 months ago

I would hate to discourage you from trying because maybe by the time you graduate, things will look up. Also the fact that you would have a Technical Communication degree instead of what I have (writing) would probably make it easier on you. Also, I would assume UT would probably be able to help you get an internship if they have a whole curriculum designed around the topic. I went to a school that had nothing to do with what I wanted, and I think that is one of my biggest problems in why I can't find an entry level position. Then again, who knows.

Just spent a weekend in Tennessee, what a beautiful state.

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Loki in Nashville, Tennessee

46 months ago

Thank you for responding. Yes, Tennessee is beautiful. :)

I understand your situation, but there are other technical writers with experience who replied and it seems they are also having a hard time. I wish you all success. I have 2 more years of school left.. I don't know if the economy will be "great" by then.. but we can all hope for a better days ahead.

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M in Seattle, Washington

46 months ago

Hey Loki,

Well these hard times are affecting people in ALL fields, not just writers. In fact, technical communications is considered to be the wave of the future and one of the best things to get into! We can be quite sure that the demand for documentation will grow as the economy stabilizes and the need for more advanced products and services increases. After all, they can't sell these things without instructions for how to use them! The current job market sucks, yes, and hopefully we're past the worst of it, but even those careers that "they" called "stable" (such as nursing) have seen lay offs and people who can't find work. It's hard to find much stability in anything anymore. So you really can't trust what "they" say. Because "they" are probably only out to make money by selling people education, or "they" simply don't know what field will be "hot" next. The world is changing so fast, so who really knows what companies will want by the time someone graduates? However, technical/content writing is a pretty safe bet, if you don't mind working as a contractor (as most writers do). But you also have to follow your HEART and pursue a field that you're well-suited for and hopefully even passionate about. The good news is that you don't even need a degree to work as a writer, if you're good. And if you're willing to start from the bottom and possibly even do some volunteer writing work, or random freelance stuff for cheap, it would open way more doors than a degree by itself would. Location is also a major factor. I wish you the best.

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Loki in Nashville, Tennessee

46 months ago

I understand that the current economy is taking it's toll on people in all fields, but I guess I am under the impression right now that a lot of technical writing jobs are being offshored to other countries.. this worries me. If I got a degree in this, I would be afraid that my work would be outsourced.

Also, do technical writers have to do a lot of networking in order to constantly try to increase their chances of finding another contract when their current one is up? It seems like they would have to do that. I don't like networking at all..

As a contractor, do you still get health insurance, etc?

How common is it to get into technical writing (and succeed) without a degree? What would be your advice to go about doing that? Thanks in advance for your time.

I guess I'm still pretty confused about whether I should go to school for this or not.

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