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The Best Resume Job Description for a Technical Writer

by Alana Vye

Technical writers communicate technical information via manuals and other documents. They gather and distribute this type of information to customers, manufacturers and designers. Technical writers usually require a college degree as well as experience within their area of expertise, whether it's computer science, engineering or web design. A well-crafted resume should include in-depth job descriptions for positions you have held in the past.

Mention Accomplishments

Though you might be tempted to only list your everyday duties in your job descriptions, the best resumes are more in depth. Recruiters want to know what you accomplished at your previous places of employment -- not just what your duties were. Be sure to quantify and qualify your projects and experience. For example, if you created a manual on how to use a particular software program, provide details on how long the manual was, what techniques you used to make it user-friendly, what steps you took to ensure it was completed on time, and how it might have led to repeat business with the same client. These facts and stats can illustrate your skills and the impact you had at the company.

Remember the Details

Make sure your job descriptions include details that hiring managers might find important. For example, include the specific months and years that you worked at your previous jobs. Use action verbs for emphasis. Don't just stick with standards such as "participated in" and "responsible for." Action verbs such as "developed" "managed" and "administered" are more specific and dynamic. Make sure you demonstrate your writing chops within your resume, too. This definitely means checking grammar and spelling. Finally, format can be just as important as content. Although the three-column format is popular in job descriptions, instead try a simple one-column format. It's much easier to scan and looks more streamlined.

Skip the Bullet Points

While it's easy to summarize your work experience in a few bullet points and incomplete sentences, this format doesn't allow you to show off your writing skills. Instead, detail your tasks and accomplishments in full sentences. Even if you've worked in technical writing for years, short descriptions make it look like you're inexperienced. Be as specific as possible about your accomplishments to fully demonstrate your experience. For example, instead of saying “Edited survey questions,” you might say, “I edited hundreds of survey questions over a three-month period to correct errors in grammar, punctuation and tone.” Recruiters will have a better idea of your writing abilities if you actually write complete sentences using dynamic language.

Use Keywords

Many recruiters find candidates via job search websites. This means it's crucial that your job descriptions contain keywords used in the job listing. Since you're looking for a technical writer position, make sure to include your previous title of "Technical Writer" as part of your previous job description. You'll also want to include relevant technical keywords that recruiters and HR professionals may be searching for. Examples of important keywords and phrases for technical writers include "technical documentation," "instructional materials," "communications," "Microsoft Word," "Dreamweaver" and "Adobe Photoshop." These keywords demonstrate that you have the appropriate experience and skills. Industry-specific keywords are also important. For example if a technical writer specializes in software technical writing, she should include the keywords "software," "developers," "web interfaces" and "database system." To find keywords relevant to your area of specialty, review five to 10 job ads for positions similar to the ones you want, then highlight the words that are mentioned most frequently. Include them in your resume.

About the Author

Alana Vye is a Canadian writer living abroad. She had a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Toronto and has worked in online marketing and publicity. She's also an avid traveler who has visited Asia, Europe and Central America.

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