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Technical Writer Resume: Examples and Tips

A technical writer’s main task is to create documents that simplify technical information, and make it comprehensible for end users. The job can involve in-depth research, as well as writing and editing instruction manuals, support documents and journal articles.

Take advantage of our resume examples and tips to create your own professional technical writer resume.

Top 4 Characteristics of a Best-in-Class Technical Writer Resume

  1. Summary In a few sentences, convey your top abilities and areas of specialization, as well as your work experience. For example: “Reliable, detail-oriented Technical Writer with extensive experience in data communications, and writing user manuals for high-end electronic products.”
  2. Skills Feature important abilities such as research skills, investigative thinking, and the ability to organize and communicate information. Don’t forget to include some interpersonal skills, such as collaboration and excellent verbal and written communication.
  3. Work experience Quantify your achievements instead of presenting vague statements. For example, write “Collaborated with 150 clients every month, creating technical journals” instead of saying “Wrote technical journals and guides for clients.” Include examples of successful projects, initiatives in training staff members and contributions you’ve made to business decisions (e.g., “Introduced a systemized process to streamline work reviews, and trained a team of 5 technical writers on end-user documentation”).
  4. Education Typically, a bachelor’s degree in English, Communications or Journalism is required for this position. Some organizations prefer to hire candidates who specialize in technical fields such as mechanical engineering or computer science, so highlight any advanced education you’ve had in these areas, as well as examples of on-the-job training.

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Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume

  • Make your resume ATS-friendly Many hiring managers save time in shortlisting candidates by using ATS (application tracking systems) to scan resumes, based on keywords.To make your resume ATS-friendly, carefully scan the job description for phrases that describe the skills and experience needed for the job, such as “developing, writing and editing material for reports and manuals.” Then update your resume skills and work history sections to make sure these phrases are addressed. For example, in your work experience section, you could write: “Created reports and instruction manuals for retail clients.”
  • Proven accomplishments add an edge to your resume Wherever possible, add facts and numbers to your work achievements to prove your effectiveness to your prospective employers. Awards and other recognitions also elevate you above other candidates. For example: “Copyedited and updated reference guide, slimming down a 1000-page document to a concise 200-page manual,” or “Won ABC Publishing Award for series of how-to books.”
  • Package your skills and work experience  It’s good to list your skills–it’s even better to show how you’ve deployed them at work. Weave your skills into your work experience descriptions. For example, to demonstrate your ability to lead a process, you could write: “Managed design and content for the project team’s internal portal.” As an example of teamwork, you could write: “Collaborated with IT managers to write user guides with engaging infographics.”
  • Don’t overcrowd your resume with unrelated skills Understand the job description and the industry you are applying for, and highlight those skills and your proficiency in related skills and technical tools. For example, documentation expertise in software development is different than compiling content for a standard operating procedures manual. Make sure your resume matches the job description.
  • Don’t send your resume in before proofreading Technical writing requires the highest level of accuracy — apply that same attention to detail in your resume. A simple typo of grammar foul-up can tell recruiters you’re not the best candidate for the job. Take the time to check for silly mistakes, and also make sure all the information you present is relevant and accurate.
  • Don’t go overboard with font styles and unnecessary formatting If your resume has a garish font or a confusing layout, you will lose a recruiter’s attention. Focus on a clean and professional look for your resume, using standard fonts and font sizes, and a straightforward layout. Keep the focus on your credentials, not your unusual design sense.

Technical Writer Resume FAQs

1. What are the skills you should emphasize for this specific job?

A technical writer should possess excellent writing skills, analytical thinking, technical knowledge, and the ability to communicate complex information in a coherent manner. You should also have the ability to collaborate with others, and deploy superior organizational skills.

2. How should you format your resume?

Select a resume format that best fits your current level of experience:

  • If you’re an experienced technical writer, use the chronological format, which places emphasis on your work history and achievements.
  • The functional format is best for those with less experience, as it concentrates on your skills and training.
  • The combination format is a mix of the above formats, and suits writers who have moderate experience.

No matter the format you choose, use action verbs such as “led,” “managed” and “organized” to describe your work experiences, and add a “Credits” section where you can provide links to your work portfolio or individual publications. Don’t forget to include any academic or volunteer work related to the position.

3. What are some examples of training and certifications that fit this specific resume?

Since technical writing involves subject matter expertise, note any studies or certifications you have in specialized fields, such as medicine, engineering or computer science. For example, an organization that creates content related to automobile technology may prefer candidates with a certificate in automotive engineering.

4. How far back should I go in my job history?

As a general rule of thumb, limit yourself to the last 10 years when listing previous jobs. The exception is if you’re applying for a senior-level job that demands a full work history. Like we noted above, concentrate on your best achievements, rather than rote everyday tasks, and bring your descriptions to life by using metrics and numbers (e.g., “Wrote reference manual for photo editing software that was adopted by 2,000 employees”).

5. How should you craft your resume if you’re looking to take the next step forward in your career?

To move forward in this field, build your resume to by focusing on the following activities and skills:

  • Proficiency in completing projects as per client deadlines
  • Managing multiple projects efficiently and successfully
  • Gaining more opportunities to collaborate with other departments and clients
  • Activities in which you went beyond typical duties, such as taking the lead on a project, or managing work performed by other employees or departments
  • Getting additional training in programming, publishing or graphic design