Writing a CV or resume for a Technical Writer role can be a unique challenge. This article is designed to guide you through the process, step by step. We’ll cover the essentials of what to include, how to format your information, and the best practices to make your application stand out. Importantly, we’ll also provide real examples to illustrate these points.
Remember, a well-crafted CV is your first step towards landing a Technical Writer interview. Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating an existing resume, this article will provide the straightforward advice you need to present your skills and experience effectively.
- 1 Read The Job Description / Advert
- 2 Research The Company
- 3 Find A Good CV Template
- 4 Write 2 Or 3 Bullet Points As A ‘Professional Summary’
- 5 Detail Your Employment History
- 6 Detail Your Education History
- 7 CV Structure
- 8 WHAT NOT TO DO
- 9 Technical Writer CV Tips – Recap
- 10 Technical Writer CV Sample
Read The Job Description / Advert
The first step is, of course, to read the job description. We need to know what the firm is looking for so that we can properly highlight these characteristics in our CV. So read back over the job description and try to pinpoint the important points. A lot of times a firm will call things “required”; if you see this, you need to make sure you include that in your CV. Similarly, if certain things are repeated throughout the advert, this indicates they are of high importance, so we will want to make sure our CV shows that as well.
When performing this analysis, take care to copy the ‘exact’ words and phrases that are being used by the hiring manager. We will want to pepper these into our CV later.
Technical Writer Job Description Example
Technical Writer – Exciting Opportunity at a Leading Tech Company
We are seeking a skilled and passionate Technical Writer to join our dynamic team at a leading tech company. This role is ideal for someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and is eager to make a significant impact in the field of technical communication.
As a Technical Writer, you will be responsible for creating clear, concise, and comprehensive documentation that meets the needs of our diverse audience, including end-users, developers, and internal stakeholders. Your primary focus will be on developing user manuals, API documentation, online help content, and training materials.
- Collaborate with product managers, engineers, and customer support teams to gather information and understand documentation requirements.
- Create and maintain technical documents such as user guides, API documentation, release notes, and FAQs.
- Ensure technical accuracy, consistency, and readability of all documentation.
- Manage updates and revisions to existing documentation.
- Utilize various tools and platforms, such as Markdown, MadCap Flare, and Confluence, for document creation and management.
- Participate in product development meetings and provide input on documentation-related aspects.
- Assist in the development and implementation of documentation standards and best practices.
- Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing, English, Communications, or a related field.
- Proven experience as a Technical Writer in a technology-focused company.
- Strong writing and editing skills, with an emphasis on clarity and precision.
- Experience with technical writing tools and content management systems.
- Ability to understand and document complex technical concepts.
- Excellent collaboration and communication skills.
- Ability to work independently and manage multiple projects simultaneously.
We offer a dynamic work environment where innovation and creativity are encouraged. Our team is committed to providing opportunities for professional growth and development. While we do not specify an exact salary range, we offer a competitive package that aligns with industry standards and the candidate’s experience.
If you are a motivated Technical Writer looking to advance your career in a challenging and rewarding role, we would love to hear from you. Join us in our mission to deliver top-notch technical documentation that enhances user experience and supports our cutting-edge products.
Research The Company
Time to put on your detective hat and do some research on your target company. Look at their website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. You are looking for any piece of intel that will give you the leg up.
- Find out about recent work/projects they have undertaken or will be embarking on (highlight your experience in these areas on your CV)
- Find out what software/processes they use and make sure you include your proficiency in them in your CV
- Learn what interview questions you might expect should you make it that far
See if you know anyone who works there and/or connect (LinkedIn) with people ahead of the interview. A little nepotism could never hurt, and you might be able to glean more information about the role/hiring process in the meantime.
Find A Good CV Template
When selecting a CV template, it’s essential to opt for a simple design and structure. Not only are straightforward layouts more compatible with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), but they also make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to quickly identify and understand key details. A clutter-free and organized CV ensures that your most important information stands out, facilitating a smoother review process for potential employers.
Write 2 Or 3 Bullet Points As A ‘Professional Summary’
A handy approach is to craft three sentences: the first highlighting your qualifications and experience, the second showcasing your biggest professional achievement, and the third detailing your most recent experience.
Technical Writer Professional Summary Example
- With over 10 years of experience in technical writing, specializing in creating comprehensive documentation for complex software systems. Proficient in tools like MadCap Flare, Adobe FrameMaker, and Markdown, and holding a Master’s degree in Technical Communication.
- Most notable achievement includes the development and implementation of an end-to-end documentation strategy for DataSoft’s flagship analytics software, which resulted in a 35% increase in user comprehension and a 50% reduction in support queries.
- Recently focused on designing and executing an interactive e-learning program for cloud-based applications at TechGlobal, utilizing Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate, leading to a 40% improvement in training effectiveness and user engagement.
Detail Your Employment History
Begin by listing your employment history in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent role. This allows potential employers to see your recent experience upfront, which holds greater value. Keep in mind that brevity is key.
As you go further back in time, reduce the level of detail to ensure your CV doesn’t exceed two pages. Employers are less likely to read lengthy CVs.
When writing about your responsibilities on your CV, focus on how you’ve excelled in those roles, especially as a Technical Writer. Instead of simply stating “Wrote technical documentation for software products,” you could say “Developed and maintained over 300 pages of clear, user-friendly technical documentation for advanced software products, leading to a 40% decrease in customer support queries.” This approach not only shows that you handled technical writing tasks but also demonstrates the positive impact of your work, highlighting your ability to create effective and useful documentation.
Detail Your Education History
Keep your CV concise, aiming for a two-page limit. The education section can often be streamlined.
Highlight the most relevant qualifications. For instance, if you have a degree, your A-levels become less significant. Similarly, if you’re in the U.S., having an MBA overshadows your high school GPA.
Unless an older educational milestone is crucial for the job or highly pertinent, focus on showcasing your Bachelor’s degree, post-graduate studies, or professional certifications. If you lack these, mention your latest qualifications. Remember, having a Master’s suggests you’ve finished school, so no need to state the obvious. Only include your educational background if it’s pertinent to the job.
Tactically structure your CV to the ‘most wanted’ attributes of the job description. For example, if the job description values “qualified”, then place your qualifications first; if they want someone with RECENT experience, put your last job up top. If they want multiple years of experience, highlight your tenure.
We always recommend that you have a Professional Summary up top (after your name/contact info), as it will be the first thing that anyone reads. As discussed earlier, this should be tailored towards the job advert and showcase your experience and skills in what the employer is looking for.
A fairly typical structure would go:
- Name and contact info
- Professional Summary
- Current (or most recent employment)
- Education & Professional Qualifications
- Employment History
WHAT NOT TO DO
Now that we’ve discussed what you should be including in your CV, let’s look at some things that you should avoid doing.
- Do not include personal history or likes. Employers are not going to care about your hobbies, so unless you have some inside information that the hiring manager only hires people who play a particular sport, for example, then leave your extracurricular activities off your CV. This does not extend to things like volunteer or charity work. Definitely include that if you have the space.
- Do not list your skillset and the tools/applications you have experience with. It takes up valuable space and is often obvious (Skilled in Excel…?). Instead, include these in your achievements section (Example: “Used Asana to manage and coordinate tasks for a remote team of 25 members”).
- Do not include references or “references available on request”. If employers want a reference, they will ask you for them; otherwise, this is just wasted space on your CV.
- Do not include a photo of yourself unless specifically asked. In many countries, including the UK and US, you should not include a photo of yourself on your CV/resume. Companies don’t want you to do it, as it opens them up to liability, and there is absolutely nothing for you to gain by doing so – plus, you are making it easier for firms to discriminate against you, either implicitly or explicitly.
- Do not use any fancy graphic or artistic CV format. Most CVs come in a standard format, allowing Application Tracking Software, recruiters and hiring managers to easily pick out the key pieces of information they need quickly based on their experience. If you throw them a CV in an artistic format, they are more likely to get annoyed and throw your application away. This is not a situation where standing out is good. You want your skills/experience to be noted, not your CV format.
- Do not include your previous salaries. This will severely impact your negotiation abilities down the line.
Technical Writer CV Tips – Recap
Let’s recap what we’ve discussed so far:
Understand Your Audience Remember, your CV is often first read by recruiters or hiring managers who may not be technical experts. Write in clear, accessible language that showcases your skills without overwhelming the reader with jargon. 🎯
Highlight Relevant Skills Focus on the skills that are most relevant to a Technical Writer. Include your proficiency in documentation tools, understanding of technical concepts, and ability to translate complex information into user-friendly content. 💻
Showcase Your Achievements Instead of just listing job duties, highlight your achievements. For example, mention a documentation project that improved user experience or reduced support calls. Use numbers to quantify your impact where possible. 📈
Tailor Your CV Customize your CV for each job application. Align your skills and experiences with the job description to show you’re the perfect fit for the role. 📝
Keep It Concise Technical Writers are expected to be concise and clear. Ensure your CV reflects these qualities. Aim for a length of no more than two pages. 🗒️
Proofread As a Technical Writer, attention to detail is crucial. Proofread your CV multiple times to avoid any spelling or grammatical errors. A well-polished CV reflects your professionalism. ✅
Use a Clean Layout Choose a simple, professional layout for your CV. Avoid overly complex or decorative designs. The focus should be on your content. 🌟
Include a Portfolio Link If you have an online portfolio or samples of your work, include a link. This gives potential employers a direct insight into your capabilities. 🔗
Stay Up-to-Date Keep your CV updated with your latest skills and experiences. Regular updates ensure you’re always ready for new opportunities. 🔄
Be Honest Always be truthful about your skills and experiences. Integrity is key in building trust with potential employers. 🤝
Technical Writer CV Sample
Below is an example CV from someone with a number of years experience in the field. For an editable .DOCX version, click here.