Not just anyone can fill out an application and expect to get a job as a technical writer in the high-tech industry. But if you have these skills and characteristics, you may just have the makings of a high-tech technical writer.

  • You write like a boss. You have a mastery over grammar and a meticulous attention to detail. You have a knack for explaining complex, technical information in a way that anyone can understand.
  • You actually proofread. You are one of the few who actually proofread a document before submitting it. You should always proofread all written communication with company recruiters, especially résumés and cover letters.
  • You know a thing or two about technology. lf you’re afraid of technology, you may want to reconsider your career path. Technology should excite you! Recruiters want to see and hear concrete examples of your interest in technology. Have you ever built a computer? Maybe you’ve hand-coded a webpage. Got programming experience? Make sure you show it.
  • You’re familiar with techie tools. It never hurts to at least become familiar with common development tools. Microsoft Word is a given. It’ll help to know page layout software like Adobe FrameMaker or InDesign or something similar. Experience with artwork software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator looks good, too. If you know anything about XML, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or other web technologies, you’re definitely headed in a good direction. And if you have some experience with programming languages such as C, Java, or Python, you’ll carry a big advantage over your competitors.
  • You know the company! You don’t stand a chance of getting a job anywhere if you don’t know anything about the company. Do some research before you even put together your cover letter and résumé. Or at least before you come in for an interview so when the interviewer asks you what you like about the company, you have something both intelligent and legitimate to say.
  • You’ve put together a portfolio. One way to impress a recruiter is to put together a portfolio of your absolute best writing. You should be able to explain why you chose the pieces in your portfolio. If you use a project from a class, make sure you submit a clean copy, not a copy marked up by your professor.