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If you have specialized knowledge other than how to be a great writer, then technical writing may be for you.
Technical writing combines your writing talent with a specific area of expertise, such as IT, graphic design, education, engineering, the automotive industry, etc. You could be writing for others who are already familiar with the field, or you could be writing to teach others.
How much does technical writing pay?
Technical writing freelancers often get paid very well, anywhere from $40 to $100 per hour or more. Technical writers command a higher rate of pay because it takes much more than polished writing skills to do the job.
Where can I find technical writing jobs?
The Internet is the ideal resource, especially if you’re just getting started. Check out websites like computerjobs.com, IFreelance.com, or rentacoder.com. These sites offer many postings by companies seeking freelance technical writers in a variety of industries.
I also recommend you post your resume on an employment site like CareerBuilder.com or Workopolis.com. Because you have a specialized skill set, know that there will be people actively looking for you. Having your resume on this type of website will greatly increase your chances of getting a well-paid technical writing gig.
Another technique is to do some brainstorming. Ask yourself if you have a specialized skill set or knowledge base. If so, what companies are in your area that could use a writer with skills like yours? Contact those businesses directly with your resume and a letter explaining how difficult it can be to find a good technical writer and that you’re available to help with any upcoming projects they may have.
What type of work will I be doing?
In IT, technical writers are often creating software or hardware manuals from scratch, or writing about coding. In the education field, you may be writing textbooks or creating PowerPoint slides for online learning programs. You could also be writing assembly manuals for machines, preparing reports for a pharmaceutical company, or creating do-it-yourself manuals for home repairs, etc.
In any technical writing job, you’ll need to have good writing and communication skills on top of your area of expertise. Technical writing projects are often collaborative, meaning you’ll have to deal with other people and complete the project as a team. Even if you’re working alone, your client will want to know how you’re progressing and whether you’re on track with what he or she is looking for. Expect lots of communication, either over the Internet or by phone.
How do I properly respond to an ad for a technical writer?
To maximize your chances of success, your response should include:
– A note about how valuable you feel the company is
– A summary of your qualifications in the field of expertise
– An overview of your superior writing ability
– Any related experience you may have
This response could be in a cover letter accompanying your resume or in your bid on a freelancing website. Read the sample ad below to see if you could make a compelling candidate:
We are an online learning company specializing in business skills. We teach administrators, HR people, etc. to effectively coach employees and streamline day-to-day business. We design online courses and downloadable presentations. We need a writer to help us with our upcoming courses for next year.
In order to make maximum impact, your response needs to hit each of the four points above. For example, you might respond like so:
I’ve taken a look at your website and I must say that your material is very impressive! It’s clear that you provide a lot of value to the businesses that use your services, and I would welcome the opportunity to join your team.
I hold a Bachelor of Commerce with a Human Resources designation. Throughout my education I designed various studies of employee behavior. Recently, I’ve been working as a consultant helping companies optimize employee productivity. I believe my skills may be of benefit to your company.
In addition, I am an accomplished writer. I have written articles, reports, and web content. My clients are always pleased with my work because it is grammatically flawless, concise, and easily accessible to readers.
Thank you for considering me for this position.
That’s it! Just remember that you have a unique combination of highly sought-after skills, and you’ll have your first technical writing job in no time.
Brian Scott is a full-time freelance writer with over a decade of experience. He finds many of his paid freelance technical writing jobs at Online Writing Jobs (http://www.online-writing-jobs.com), a free jobboard that lets you search thousands of freelance writing jobs.