Reading the Culture in Technical Writer Ads
Although we might be able to generalize about many approaches to technical communication among fields (medicine, science, engineering, etc.), we can’t claim universals exist. Additionally, we can’t claim there’s a universal culture among or even within various technical fields. The organizational cultures of two technical firms could be vastly different, and one’s success in landing and keeping the job will depend on both being able to perform technical writing duties and being able to handle the organizational culture.
Below are two ads for technical writers posted several years ago (so the positions have most likely been filled). Let’s read the culture by reflecting upon the position descriptions.
BAE Systems–Accessed 2/06/2009
Washington Navy Yard, DC United States
BAE SYSTEMS is looking for a talented Technical Writer / Editor to join a team of talented professionals. Our mission is to integrate traditional technical writer and editing functions into a fast pased intelligence community mission.
- Work with the Customer in a production support branch assisting in the production and dissemination of finished geospatial intelligence information.
- Work with customers to determine appropriate products for disseminating intelligence manuscripts.
- Edit documents and manage the production of Customer briefing materials and visual aids, and other products, as required.
- Ensure classification markings provided by customers are appropriate and properly applied.
- Conduct final reviews of text, graphics, and other formats for Customer intelligence products.
- Coordinate and disseminate finished intelligence products as required. All work shall be tracked and completed within established timelines.
- Provide quality control in accordance with Customer policy and standards for intelligence products.
- Attend regularly scheduled production support meetings and stay current with ongoing production support initiatives.
- Generate, format, and release electronic reports using a variety of computer systems and applications.
- Review intelligence products to ensure consistency with Customer standards and guidelines for reporting, classification, and releasability.
- Enter appropriate codes, identifiers, and keywords into the appropriate archival databases.
- Formulate simple queries for relevant databases.
- Verify that documents and products are appropriately classified.
- Produce publications in accordance with Customer standards, style guidance and publication policies.
- Provide advice and/or edit documents for logic, clarity, comprehensiveness, relevance and organization, format, flow, grammar, punctuation, and spelling for compliance with Customer standards, style guidance, and publication policies.
- Record changes in hardcopy and softcopy and, when necessary, communicate changes to customers by using online editing functions.
- Perform daily production quality control procedures.
- Resolve work-related technical problems.
- Demonstrate customer service excellence by clearly and concisely communicating work status, methods, instructions, problems, requirements, options, and concerns with team members, managers, and customers within the Customer Community.
- Participate in meetings with customers, team members, contractors, and others to exchange information, make decisions, and/or provide updates.
- Support the office and other branches in accomplishing the Customer’s overall mission, including expedite crisis work, special assignments, and ad hoc asking on variously scheduled arrangements.
- Organize personal work schedule to facilitate task completion and maximize use of time.
|Job Title:||Technical Writer|
|Intuit is seeking an information designer to help make its leading personal financial software understandable and easy to use. You’ll create user assistance wherever it works best; in the interface, in help systems, on the Web – wherever you anticipate a need. We’re looking for someone who can think about our products end-to-end to help us deliver the best user experience possible. You’ll work on cross-functional teams of programmers, product managers, engineers, and usability experts — all devoted to improving the customer experience.Great verbal communication and influencing skills are a must.|
You’d be a great fit for our team if you:
- Can turn complex finance terminology into easy to understand language.
- Think outside the book. You know that great assistance is delivered when a user needs it, not by searching in an index.
- Understand that less is more; the right sentence is more powerful than the wrong paragraph.
- Have suggested UI changes to improve the product instead of creating long Help topics.
- Have exceptional technical writing skills and a proven track record of creating messaging, online Help systems, and in-product text that makes complex subjects understandable to end users.
- Are flexible. Be able to let go of your work and change priorities as needed.
- Understand how to use diplomacy to influence others on a cross functional team
- Aren’t scared of technology. We tread boldly into the future by using a variety of engineering-centric tools.
- Actually believe you can make a difference in the lives of customers
As an information designer, you’ll determine the need and create the best assistance including UI text, help topics, messaging and more. As in integral part of the development team, you’ll help keep the team mindful of your user – every step of the way. As a member of the broader information design team, you’ll gain area expertise and become a mentor to other writers.
- Extensive experience designing information sets and writing onscreen user assistance.
- Demonstrable HTML skills. You’re comfortable using a text editor to write content.
- Strong project management and scheduling skills.
- The curiosity to troubleshoot. Your first instinct is to fix it yourself.
- Experience working with and influencing a cross-functional development team
- Experience writing web assistance content
- Experience blogging and moderating online forums
- Experience working in an agile development environment
Bureau of Labor Statistics information on Technical Writers from the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016).
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Technical Writers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/technical-writers.htm (visited July 07, 2016).