The Write Plan, LLC
A Technical Writing Solutions Company
104 Renee Drive
Mars, Pennsylvania 16046
How do I know the kind of Technical Writer I need?
One must know exactly the company needs. Make a list of the knowledge this person should have ranking the requirements highest to lowest prior to the interview process. Its better to look for someone with the traits you seek rather than the experiences they have. Such traits can be:
While conducting the interview ask questions to problems that often occur in your business and how the technical writer would solve them. Having the ability to work outside of the comfort zone is a highly desirable skill too. Also important is team work. Often a technical writer will have to interview key personnel doing the work for which they are to write about and may at times need to perform the work themselves to gain a more thorough understand of the work at hand.
How do I know if the technical writer person I chose is the best?
As with anyone you hire use the feelings from within yourself to know if you made the correct choice. The relationship with this person is going to potentially be long lasting and you want to maintain a good working atmosphere for years to come.
Is it important for me to hire a technical writer or can I just find someone inside the business to develop the documentation needed?
Technical writers will always provide help in many ways. Even if the economy becomes unstable the process of finding a writer usually remains the same. The importance of hiring a more experienced multi-tasker is worth its weight in gold.
Which skills are most important as a technical writer?
The technical writer needs to write in clear concise sentences conveying the information to varied audiences.
The skills set depends upon the subject. A technical writer asked to develop a how to manual on gun assembly compared to a procedure on how to use Microsoft Word is much different though a good writer can with limited teaching understand both subjects.
This should be a "no brainer"; however, a technical writer needs to know their way around a computer since they use a computer to produce the documentation one request. Programs such as Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Page Maker are just a few examples.
Technical Writers are use to learning because its what they do. Thus, they are proficient in learning new software quickly and efficiently.
Technical writers need to know how to formulate and ask questions. As with a hiring manager a technical writer must find out who the best person is for asking specific questions. Strong listening skills are required to identify the necessary information as well as which follow-up questions need answering.
Depending on the wants and needs of the organization these skills may be warranted. The technical writer should have an appreciation for graphics, formatting, illustration and visual.