How’s the job market?

November 4, 2008

Despite the problems in the economy, I’m not seeing big layoffs in our profession yet.

(I probably just jinxed myself with that statement.)

The Center for Disease Control is hiring a Technical Writing Editor. Check out the bureaucratic hoops you have to jump through for that position. 

Oracle also is advertising an open position

Most of the other job postings I saw were contract positions, including a couple at ProEdit. If you’re willing to relocate to Huntsville, Alabama, they do have “permanent” job there. 

Mike Hughes had some good advice on getting through the recession. 

I think flexibility is another good strategy in this market. Draw on all your experience and use it sell your versatility. An STC member I know, for example, just got hired at my company as a Business Analyst. 

This month’s Atlanta STC program explains how to write federal proposals. A good tech writer should be able to make that transition easily. It’s structured writing, with its own terminology, tight deadlines, a collaborative effort that has to be managed like a project. Sound familiar? 

Remember, this month’s meeting is at Southern Poly State U.


Surviving the recession

July 21, 2008

Technical writers are a hardy bunch when it comes to finding work. At last week’s Atlanta STC Chapter meeting on “Surviving the Recession” the audience had as many suggestions as our speaker Frank Harper

Attendance was double this month over last, most likely because so many are worried about what’s ahead. But the picture wasn’t as bleak as you might think. Several people announced job openings, and Robert e-mailed me about two more the following day.

I haven’t been searching for work lately, so Frank’s ideas were a good refresher. Everyone nodded and laughed when he said, “There’s no such thing as a permanent job.” He stressed that we need to take stock of our skills and find ways to acquire new ones — now, not later.  For those actively seeking work, he pointed to community- and church-sponsored career centers such as Career Quest at Catholic Church of St. Ann in Marietta. Others recommended the program run by the United Methodist Church in Roswell.

Margaret told us about Indeed, a search engine for jobs. Here’s my search for technical writer positions in the state of Georgia. 138 listings! Woo hoo!

I like LinkedIn and use it when I’m searching for writers to hire. Other people mentioned Plaxo, so I went out and joined that, too.

One person said that you shouldn’t put your address on your resume because employers will disqualify you if you live too far from their office. I didn’t know that. . . . I still don’t know it. But others swore it was true.

Frank is old school. He didn’t, for example, urge to start blogging to brand ourselves. He mentioned online networking, but didn’t give it much weight. Office 2007 seems to be one of his pet peeves. But overall it was good sound advice and a great opportunity to share tips with fellow tech writers.

What job-hunting secrets are you willing to share with us?

The seven-year itch: Should I stay or should I go?

January 10, 2008

marilynmonroe.jpgMany bloggers are posting their resolutions this time of year.

I’m skipping that ritual, but after reading Tom Johnson’s post today on lists, I had to rise to the occasion and enumerate something.

According to Tom, the best formula is an attention-grabbing topic and image (enter Marilyn Monroe stage left), a common problem, and proposed list of solutions.

Here goes:

I’ve been working at the same place for over 7 years. That’s not much in “gray flannel suit” years, but it equals close to 25 in “the world is flat” years. (“And 49 in dog years!” says Abby.)

The career advice columnists warn about getting stale if you stay in one job too long. Is it time to move on or should I work at pumping some excitement back into my current job? If I decide to leave, what do I need to do to prepare?

Hence, two lists with 5 (a magical number) suggestions.

5 ways to rekindle the fire

  1. Look ahead.
    Don’t dwell on the “old days” because they are gone.
  2. Build new relationships with people at your workplace who inspire you.
    (Hint: No one inspires you? It’s time to leave.)
  3. Leverage your seniority.
    In many cases, higher seniority workers have greater value because of their tacit knowledge. Chances are, your management wants to keep you and will respond to reasonable demands. At last year’s performance evaluation, I asked for an office with a window. Bingo! Let the sun shine in.
  4. Move into a different role.
    You can combine of the advantages of getting a whole new job—different kinds of work, new challenges, new coworkers, new boss—with the advantages of staying on—knowing where the skeletons are hidden, who the go-to people are, and who’s got the best candy jar.
  5. Move out of or into management.
    Sometimes managers like where they work, but they just don’t like the hassles of being a manager. Likewise, some worker bees are yearning to move up out of the trenches. In most cases, moving out is easier to achieve than moving in.

5 steps to breaking out

  1. Update your resume. (Duh!)
  2. Put your resume out there.
    Post it on,,, etc.
  3. Apply for a job you are not quite qualified for just to practice selling yourself.
    You may be surprised and get an offer.
  4. Follow the job listings so you know what employers are looking for.
    Try some new keywords in your job search that describe what you’d like to do.
  5. Make up your dream job, then get someone to hire you to do it.
    Sounds crazy, but that’s exactly the message in the Bible on career change What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles. It was first published in the early 70s and has been updated yearly ever since.

Other suggestions in either category??

Dream job?

July 3, 2007

Tomorrow is my birthday.

A time to stop and reflect on what I’m doing and where I’m going.
The company I work for is up for sale and the hush-hush is deafening.
What else is out there for me?

I saw this posting on for a Program Manager-Web Communications and wondered if it was time to move in a different direction. Maybe they are looking for a younger, artsy type, but I would love to have this job!

Who’s hiring in Atlanta?

June 5, 2007

A few interesting positions caught my eye today as I was scanning the postings on and Monster.

Senior Creative Script Writer is the job title for this position at CompuCredit. You’ll be writing scripts for their telemarketers at the call centers. The job may include travel to the call centers. They don’t say where they are, but this could be an opportunity for international travel.

Pin Point Talent is searching for a Technical Exam Developer. They have 10 open positions for this job.

Here’s a Medical Writer position at ClinForce in Smyrna.

Children’s Health Care of Atlanta is seeking a Senior Instructional Designer for their nursing staff training.

A start-up company in Norcross is looking for a Web Technical Writer. In this job you will “participate in our world-class usability engineering processes  including a usability lab, eye tracker, and regular deployment of multivariate testing.” But to get the job you must  have the “ability to understand and communicate to multiple roles and viewpoints within our complex ecosystem.” (ecosystem?)

Finally, here’s a 12-month contract that will take you through the holidays and into next year! Tools required include RoboHelp, but not Frame.

Happy job hunting!

Anyone out there hiring? Post your job in my comments section.