Core Skills for Technical Writers Often Overlooked

August 16, 2012 at technical communication

When I look to hire contractors, the most important factor for me is to evaluate the documentation and professional skills in the resume itself. While responding to open positions for my projects, many candidates apply with two to six years of experience. They claim to have developed world class documents in agile work environments, using global technology and enterprise platforms.

However, I am often let down. Here’s how:

  • Email: The emails that applicants write when applying for an open position are poor.
  • Resume: The resumes are even less satisfying.
  • Professional etiquette: There is no follow-up, and no thank-you emails.
  • Last and most unfortunate: When they ask me for comments or feedback, a few of them scoff at my polite yet professional comments.

The ability to fix CSS, compile the help file in Flare, set up a wiki, or use cross references in Microsoft Word are all good technical writing skills. But I wonder if this is enough. How can an experienced technical writer apply with a poor resume (most of the resumes are pathetic)?

This is a snapshot from my guest post on Tom Johnson’s idratherbewriting, see Core Skills for Technical Writers.