How to Produce a Technical Writer CV

Technical writers work across a wide range of industries and areas and this need to be clearly reflected in a Technical Writer CV. Despite the endlessly diverse subject areas, technical writers have to take complex scientific or technical information and make it understandable for non-technical readers.

The kind of documentation worked on is equally varied: in-house publications, technical reports, adverts for products, brochures, pamphlets, presentations, training material, marketing literature, manuals and user guides are just some.

These can be presented on the any of the burgeoning range of communications media: websites, user and help CDs, intranets, multimedia presentations, help pages of software products, etc. Sometimes this involves producing diagrams and user interfaces as well.

Technical writers usually work under contract with a business that designs and/or manufactures the product. This often means working at all levels within the organisation, liaising with staff from many different departments.

Do you need a better Technical Writer CV? Our CV writers know exactly how to produce an interview-winning CV for a technical writer.

Technical Writer CV Profile

The all-round skills required of the technical writer, whatever area they are working in (e.g. software development, electronic equipment, engineering, pharmaceuticals), are:

When you write your Profile for your Technical Writer CV, you should be able to show significant evidence, periods or episodes of developing and exercising these strengths, whether you're looking for Technical Writer Jobs or IT Jobs.

If you're struggling to write a good Profile, then a CV writer from Bradley CVs can assist you with your Profile (and the rest of your CV), ensuring your CV attracts the interest from employers that you want.

Skills to Emphasise Throughout Your Technical Writer CV

It sounds obvious to say that you should be highlighting your technical knowledge, but this really is very important in a Technical Writer CV.

A general awareness isn't enough, as you must be able to evaluate the product in question and analyse the information the customer or user is going to need.

In some instances, it may be necessary to feed back to the design team if adaptations need to be made (e.g. software).

Also, the people you have to work with may work in wholly technical roles, with no understanding of communication skills or awareness of usability factors. You need to be able to process information and communicate it in both directions - translating technical details to a non-technical audience, and vice versa.

When highlighting your technical skills on your Technical Writer CV, you need to be very clear about the industry, sector, product or service that you have a specialist understanding of. You should of course focus on whichever sector is close to that of the employer you're applying to. No technical writer is employed because they have general technical skills.

Specialist knowledge is critical, because you need to be able to describe every detail with clarity. Your description needs to be precise. Frequently, it needs to be based in your own research - hence the importance of research and analysis skills too. Every aspect of the product needs to be tested by you, as if you are the end user. Every detail of how the product or service functions must be accurately recorded.

It follows that a methodical approach is vital, as well as the ability to devise such approaches. This covers not only research and testing, but the order in which information is imparted via the documents.

Many larger employers tend to employ technical writers who are graduates in English, Journalism or Communications. This is strengthened when coupled with higher education in a technical subject, this typically being closely related to the industry or product being covered.

Other Skills to Highlight In Your Technical Writer's CV

Transferable skills and personal qualities that stand out for technical writers are obvious - and not so obvious.

Communication skills, it almost goes without saying, are paramount. Again this is due to the need to create a communication bridge between technical and non-technical audiences.

As well as being literate, this means having the ability to write absolutely clear text in which meaning is totally transparent - i.e., it can only be taken one way. You need to demonstrate excellent grammar and logical construction on a Technical Writer CV, this is a must.

Being organised goes with having a logical, methodical approach. Some technical writing projects can be huge, so a strategic approach to the research side is required, as well as an organised approach to working through the different layers of the business. Being patient and able to persevere through a long and potentially tedious project is also a good quality.

Listening skills also help when it comes to talking to different people involved in the design, development and production sides. Good interpersonal skills are also important, as you need people to relax and talk freely in order to do your job effectively. Add to this the knack of 'standing in another's shoes' - i.e., of being able to empathise with the user or buyer who is seeing the product for the first time.

If you're working in technical writing teams, then your ability to be a team member must be stressed. Time management is critical. If working on a freelance basis, it is even more important, as is the ability to manage your own workload.

The ability to see the 'bigger picture' is important, often noticing angles that may not have been noticed by the employer. You can then identify new solutions they have not considered. You need the ability to work independently, coming into an organisation from outside.

Finally, as a technical writer you should stress your professionalism. You are often working with new products, so integrity in a competitive marketplace is vital. You need to complete work on time, working under contract, and up to standard.

Summing Up a Career of Contracts in a Technical Writer CV

Most freelance technical writers are contracted for a period of three to six months, although these are renewable.

It's better to focus on larger contracts that are relevant to the employer you're applying to.

Write these up in your Career History section of your Technical Writer CV, adding detail beneath the entries for large contracts, with short term contracts left as single lines (or left out altogether if they're not as relevant).

Every entry beneath your contracts should read like an achievement. However, always be sure to have documentary evidence in case it is asked for. Avoid presenting dull lists. Ensure that your Technical Writer's CV is as clear a document as any technical document you might write - if it isn't, then it will undermine all your claims to be proficient at your work.

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