Internships (was: Breaking into the tech writing job market)

Subject: Internships (was: Breaking into the tech writing job market)
From: "Jones, Donna" <DJones -at- zebra -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 13:02:15 -0500

Bonnie Granat wrote:
> > How does one get that first tech writing job without the experience?
> Usually through an internship.

I don't know that I would say "usually." I know a lot of tech writers in
the Chicago area and in Michigan, and I don't think that a single one of
them was ever an intern as a writer. I could be wrong. Maybe the subject
just never came up with someone who had done it. I didn't think that
internships were that common outside of engineering.

I think this calls for an informal poll:

- How many of you who actually started out wanting to be a tech writer
began as a tech writing intern?

- How many of you who started out as something else were interns?

I fall into the first category. My degree is in scientific and technical
communication, so I planned to be a technical writer, but I began my
career by working as a typesetter back in the days when few people had
PCs. After about a year of that, I was hired as an assistant editor
because I knew PageMaker on the Mac, which the company had just moved
to. I spent 3 years there building up things for my portfolio before I
finally landed a job with the title "Technical Writer."

I don't think there is a "usual" way to get a job as a tech writer. You
do what you can to get your foot in a door and work hard once you get
there to prove yourself. You may start out as a writer or as something


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RE: Breaking into the tech writing job market: From: Bonnie Granat

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