A technical writer is a magician who transforms technical specifications and information into something a little more reader-friendly. Whether it be user manuals, instructions, or something else – a technical writer is responsible for getting it done. It is one thing to know that an IKEA table needs assembly and a whole different thing to explain, in writing, how to do it.
When you apply for a job as a technical writer, you need a resume that accurately demonstrates your writing skills and experience. Rule number one? Proofread your resume to make sure there are no typos, spelling- or grammar mistakes, as this could reflect poorly on you as a writer.
This guide will show you how to write a competitive technical writer resume that will (hopefully) get you noticed, and we have included a full sample resume at the end of the article.
Resume objective for technical writers
After working as a technical writer for years, you might feel like it is time for a new challenge, but perhaps you are finding it hard to land interviews in an increasingly popular field.
The rising interest for online work has brought on a surge in technical writer applications, but the question is – are they as good as you, or do they just have a better resume?
As a technical writer, you need to know how to identify your clients’ needs, conduct audience research, and outline and plan projects, and you also need to be an excellent writer. All this – your skills and your experience, needs to be reflected in your sample objective.
Technical writing often means taking something that looks impossible and make it sound like something anyone can do. Companies turn to technical writers to help put their ideas and solutions on paper.
With your resume objective, you want to give away enough to make a future employer want to know more. If you have years of writing experience – mention it and highlight skills and personality features like being a team player, being reliable, and willing to grow with the company.
Capable technical writer with documented experience in the technology industry. Profound ability to collaborate with others, create targeted content, perform in-depth research, and adapt to each project’s needs and requirements—solid history of exceeding expectations.
Resume skills for technical writers
You could be the best technical writer the world has ever seen, but unless you know how to point out your skills and strengths – how do you expect a future employer to know how great you are? Start by taking a moment to think about what makes you such an excellent technical writer.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted an 11% increase in the need for technical writers between 2016 and 2026, paving the way for technical writers all over the world.
Perhaps your reason for writing this CV is that you want a better job with a more competitive pay? These stats show that the opportunity is out there, and there might be more to come. To be considered for your dream position, list your technical skills, like proficiency in Google Docs, Microsoft Office, and other writing platforms, and impress with something like single-sourcing.
If the job you are applying for asks for skills you don’t have – don’t make anything up, and consider whether you are right for the job. Applying for the wrong roles is another reason you might be at a stand-still in your technical writer career.
Systematic | Organized | Microsoft Office | Google Docs | Researcher| Team player | Single-Sourcing | Basic web design | Background in journalism | Critical thinker | Communicative
Technical writer work experience
Good technical writers know how to structure their work from beginning to end, and an excellent way to show off your skills is by listing previous work experience. Now, technical writing is a very diverse field, and there are many different jobs you can have as a technical writer.
With this in mind, many jobs are relevant to a technical writer resume. Technical writing initially centered around writing for professionals and putting complex procedures into words, but it has since become significantly broader.
Some technical writers focus on writing guidelines and how-to guides. Other jobs entail writing research-based medical- and science material. Then, we also have UX writers, case study writers, and technical content writers, along with a list of other writing opportunities.
The requirements for past work experience differ depending on the writing job you are pursuing, but you can (and should) include anything related to writing and the tools and software you would likely use if given the job.
Sample Work Experience
Tander’s Tech Solutions, New Orleans, Louisiana
Senior technical writer, 2015 – 2019
Supervised a team of writers to ensure product specification quality, user manuals, workplace guidelines, and company website information. Responsible for urgent requests with strict deadlines and final task approval.
- Successfully trained three new and inexperienced writers.
- Promoted to Senior Technical Writer within the first year.
- Improved efficiency by teaching the team how to multitask.
- Maintained a perfect record of meeting deadlines.
KTR Medical Services, Tucson, Arizona
Medical writer, 2013 – 2015
Worked closely with a research team to document progress and compose detailed yet easily digested texts. Investors and the general public were the primary target audiences.
- Helped develop a more efficient system for quality control, which resulted in fewer revisions and quicker deliveries.
- Implemented a crash course in medical terms for all writers, to make sure everyone was on the same page.
- Got a promotion for being highly efficient and delivering quality work twice as fast as other writers.
- Worked closely with the management team to create texts that would appeal to the general public, which resulted in a 86% increase in website traffic.
Social media content writer, 2012 – 2013
Kept the company’s social media pages updated with carefully researched posts, blogs, and information. Was fully responsible for creating content and deciding what should be published.
- Doubled Facebook and Instagram page likes within the first four months and helped the company build a stronger online presence.
- Reached a broader audience with posts that appealed both to an inexperienced audience and to tech professionals.
- Created a marketing campaign that went viral, and brought doubled the number of paying clients that month.
- Wrote guides for new content writers to aid in their training and keep the language in the posts consistent.
Technical writer education
What is interesting about a career in technical writing is that you could theoretically become successful without a university degree, as there are no requirements that a technical writer must have one.
However, most employers prefer at least a B. A, preferably in a related field like English, Communications, or Journalism.
Depending on the technical writing position you are applying for, specializations and knowledge of specific areas might also be desired (or even required), which is often the case with scientific writers and those writing for- and about the medical industry.
Technical writers are currently in demand worldwide, and this means you are likely to have competition when applying for a role. A college or university degree to show off on your resume will give you an advantage and set you apart from less qualified applicants.
Pennsylvania State University
Masters in Applied Linguistics, 2013 – 2015
- Graduated in the top 10 of the class.
Pennsylvania State University
Bachelor of Liberal Arts in English, 2008 – 2012
- Wrote award-winning final project.
So, perhaps you already have your university degree listed and an impressive list of work experience – why do you need to list courses as a technical writer? In reality, you don’t have to, but it could help if you are applying for a job in a specific field.
There is a high demand for, for example, medical writers, but you are unlikely to be hired unless you can prove that you have sufficient knowledge. A smart way to do this is by demonstrating that you have taken a course in medical terminology.
There are so many different types of technical writers, and some positions require more documented experience. Expanding your knowledge is also a great way to stay relevant in the work market, so if you don’t qualify for the jobs you want – consider taking a technical writing course.
- Technical Writing: Documentation on Software Projects (PluralSight)
- Tech Writers Master Class (Udemy)
- Basics of Technical Editing (UC San Diego)
- Medical Terminology: An Anatomy and Physiology Approach (UC San Diego)
Getting Medical Writer Certified is one way to increase your chances of getting a well-paid job. This usually required a Bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in medical communications.
There are many ways to get relevant certifications as a technical writer, but some are considered more prestigious than others. The Society for Technical Communicators offers a program that entails three separate certification levels (Foundation, Practitioner, and Expert).
Other certificates that matter when applying for a technical writing job are those from the American Medical Writers Association and the National Association of Science Writers.
- CPTC Certified (Certified Professional Technical Communicator)
- Medical Writer Certified
Complete technical writer resume sample
Perhaps it has been a while since you applied for a new job, or maybe you are just looking to strengthen the resume you already have? We have written a full sample resume for the below job post to demonstrate how to use the tips and tricks provided in this article.
In the first section of the job post, you can detect a few desirable skills the company is looking for. They want someone who respects deadlines, is flexible and knows how to adapt, listens, and is a team player, and a multitasker.
They would like someone with a relevant B. A, great attention to detail, and consistent work methods. The job post is always a great place to start when writing a resume.
Versatile technical writer with a B.A. in Communications and a passion for the written word. Reliable, flexible, and highly motivated, with experience writing software related texts for the computer- and gaming industry.
Detail-oriented | Organized | Experienced Editor | Communicative | CPTC certified | B.A. in Communications | Multitasker | Perfectionist
UBISOFT, San Fransisco, CA
Technical writer, 2017 – 2020
Responsible for creating reader-friendly guides based on complex software design material, to make it digestible for the general public. Also responsible for researching market trends and adapting existing guides and content.
- Improved the communication between the UX teams and the writers by implementing daily briefings.
- Developed a simple yet professional writing style which was appreciated by both professionals and regular users.
- Contributed to the company blog and was successful in bringing in more traffic to the website by using SEO techniques and keywords.
- Recommended the removal of old, unprofessionally written posts from both the blog and the website, which led to a 34% increase in company credibility, according to a survey.
Databricks, San Fransisco, CA
Senior Technical Writer, 2015 – 2017
Wrote compelling content related to data engineering and data science, and developed guides for data engineers to learn to use Databricks properly.
- Were promoted from technical writer to senior technical writer after only six months on the job.
- Rebranded Databricks and made it more approachable by simplifying the language, so that regular people would not be put off by its complexity.
- Implemented a weekly internal newsletter that improved communication across the different work areas.
- Wrote occasional conference speeches for the CEO, which were all well received by professional audiences.
Claris, Santa Clara Valley, CA
Content Writer & Editor, 2014 – 2015
Rewrote user guides for software developers, improved legal- and DEV documentation, and worked closely with UX to improve the overall user experience through clear, written material.
- Oversaw the work of other writers and was responsible for the editing process before texts went to print or were published.
- Developed a rotation system to prevent the other writers on the team from getting bored, to improve efficiency and quality in the texts.
- Met every deadline throughout the employment and was recognized for being highly reliable and determined.
- Was named ‘Most Innovative Employee’ after updating the landing page text on the website, as it led to an increase in traffic.
- CPTC certified
- Certified content marketer
University of Colorado, Denver, CO
Bachelor of Arts in Communications, 2010 – 2014
North Florida Community College, Madison, FL
A.S. in Digital Media & Multimedia Technology 2008 – 2010
- Technical writing (Coursea)
- The Art of API Documentation (Udemy)
The best technical writers out there understand the correlation between style and audience, and they can adapt to the writing style each client requires.
Above can also be applied when writing a technical writer resume, so don’t underestimate the power of adapting your technical writer resume to the job post you are replying to. Here are a couple of other tips for a technical writer looking for a job:
- Structure and outline your resume properly, as this will show off your organizational skills.
- Make sure your resume is easy to read. It is a key skill that hiring managers will be looking for in a technical writer.
- List any writing-related experiences or education, and pinpoint what skills you acquired that are useful for the job you are applying for.
Tips from Experts
“Keep in mind that when a typical recruiter is looking at your resume, they are only going to spend about 6 seconds on it.” – Bill Benoist, Career Strategies and Executive Coach
“Technical writing covers a lot of ground. The society for technical communication defines it as communicating about technical or specialized topics, communicating through technology, or providing instructions about how to do something.” – Woody Lewis, WL Solutions LLC
Companies hire technical writers daily to write service level agreements, legal disclaimers, standard operating procedures, reports, help guides, software installation manuals, and more. When applying for a job, a recruiter will first see your resume before they (hopefully) go on to meeting you.
Show off your writing and your organizational skills already in your resume, by giving it a professional structure with only relevant experience listed.
The whole point of hiring a technical writer to write, for example, a user manual is to communicate a complex concept in a digestible manner. Apply this technique also when writing your technical writer’s resume.