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What can you do with a Master’s in Professional Writing and Technical Communication?

WRITER_bannerCherilyn from the University of Houston – Downtown asked:

What types of jobs are there for a graduate with a Master of Science in Professional Writing and Technical Communication?

HI Cherilyn

I’ve gotten a couple of similar questions in the past.  Rather than cut and paste that content, I’ll just share the link to the most recent one to get you started:

What can I do with a BA in English and a desire to write?

This post (and the additional post it references) don’t address technical writing or technical communication, so let me do that here.

There is a very interested blog – I’dRatherBeWriting.com – that posted an article a while back on technical writing:

Technical Writing Careers – 13 Questions about Technical Writing Jobs

It’s a little old, but the information is still valuable.  And, if you are really interested in technical writing as a career, I recommend you subscribe to this blog.

Rule #1 – Know what’s going on in your industry

So, you want to work in writing and technical communication.  How well do you know the industry?  Your job as a job seeker is to stay as informed as possible about the industry you wish to enter. When you tell an employer “I really want to work in this industry” they are going to expect you to back up that claim with some evidence.  The only way to be prepared to answer that question is to do your homework and remain current on industry trends in your field.  How do you do that in writing? Start with some basic data gathering, like the information provide by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the outlook for Technical Writers.  Then, get connected . . .

Rule #2 – Connect with your professional community

Birds of a feather flock together, and birds of a professional feather flock together in professional associations.  Here are a few associations you may wish to familiarize yourself with:

The Society for Technical Communication (STC) Job Bank

IEEE Professional Communication Society

American Medical Writers Association

Authors Guild

Council of Science Editors

National Education Writers Association

National Writers Union

Rule #3 – A job search is a process not a transaction

In most cases, finding a job is not like shopping.  That is, you don’t go to a “Job Store,” pick out the one you want and proceed to the register to check out.

Finding a job is a process that is influenced by many factors, including your degree, your experience, your location, your priorities, your needs, your wants, the economy, the job market for your skill set, etc.

Follow that process methodically and identify opportunities that best match your skills, experience, education, priorities and needs. You need to be able to explain to employers why you want the jobs they are offering and why you are a good candidate.  If you can’t explain it to them, how can you expect them to figure it out on their own.

Being a credible candidate means being prepared for the job search and being disciplined and methodical in your approach.

I hope this information will help you head in the right direction.

Good luck!

matt-signature

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