Re: Breaking into Technical Writing

Subject: Re: Breaking into Technical Writing
From: "Steven J. Owens" <puff -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 19:33:06 -0800

Emily Davidson writes:
> I am just graduating from college this December. I want to work as as
> a technical writer (and yes, for those of you talking about
> qualification and ceritification, I have done course work and have had
> experience in this field).
> I'm very serious about this as a career choice (one of the reasons I
> joined this list), but I have a couple of problems.
> My husband is going into military intelligence, so we could get moved
> around a lot and I don't have the freedom of relocating. I would like
> to work as an independent contractor, but I have no idea how to get
> work and I am concerned that I I don't have enough experience to
> strike out on my own.
> How do I get into technical writing? What can I do to make myself
> more desirable as an employee? Any suggestions for me?

This would be a perfect cue for me to post my "breaking into
technical writing" article... except that the list bounced it the last
time I did so, as too long. So I'll send it under separate cover.
Also, last week I posted a long brain-dump on contracting, Emily, if
you missed it let me know and I'll dig it out of my archives.

If your husband is going into MI, one thing you might consider is
going into technical writing in the defense industry. Normally I
wouldn't recommend it, but then again if your husband is going into MI
you know what you're getting into and have already committed yourself.

If you can get yourself cleared due to your relationship with him
- i.e. they pretty much have to do a thorough background check on
*you* as part of doing the background check on *him* - then you have a
significant edge on getting into a defense job, since they won't have
to hire you and then give you make work for six months while they wait
for you to get cleared. An acquaintance of mine got his first job out
of college that way; he'd applied for a job at a certain large gov't
deptartment just before a hiring freeze went into effect, so they'd
done the clearing process on him, but then couldn't hire him. When he
talked into some defense contractors at a job fair and mentioned he'd
be cleared they jumped on him.

Steven J. Owens
puff -at- netcom -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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