I’m trying out a “show, don’t tell” approach to my resume writing. Instead of describing what a great technical writer I am, check out this piece of technical writing I produced: Documentation on my career and qualifications. If you like it, consider hiring me.
Introduction | Writer | Collaborator and Researcher | Independent Worker | Relationship Builder | Download PDF
When you hire a technical writer, you’re looking not only for a competent writing technician, but for a team member able to research, understand, and document new features using all the tools at her disposal, including technical specifications, interpersonal relationships, and features staged in a test environment.
Katie is a writer, a collaborator and researcher, an independent worker, and a relationship builder who improves quality and builds teams wherever she works.
|Good to Know|
|Education||BS, Technical, Scientific, and Professional Communications|
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2006
|Experience||6.5 years in aggregate as a technical or medical writer|
4 years as a Client Service Administrator at a financial advisory firm
2.5 years teaching bike classes to PE teachers
11 months as an AmeriCorps intern
Microsoft VisualStudio with TFS
Microsoft Office products
|Hobbies||Long-distance cycling, reading, and playing cooperative strategy games|
Katie produces high-quality technical writing by thinking like a user. She asks, “If I was a user, why do I care about this feature? What do I want to know about how it works? Where do I get confused?” She then answers those questions clearly and directly.
|Example: Report Settings Project|
|The product Katie documented at Tamarac included over 20 different types of financial reports, each of which had 10 to 30 unique settings. To make it easier for users to understand what each setting did, Katie added over 500 new pages that documented each setting individually. Help documentation page views increased by 50% in the year after Katie added the pages.|
Although Katie loves writing, she prioritizes communication over words. This often means incorporating screenshots to guide users through step-by-step instructions and to help them locate features within the product.
Collaborator and Researcher
Katie loves learning. She thrives on challenges and rises to the occasion when deadlines loom.
|Example: Learning Financial Concepts|
|Katie started at her financial advisory job with zero knowledge of the finance industry. Within three years, she had passed the Series 65 exam, qualifying her as a financial advisor, and had earned her insurance license to sell life insurance.|
When learning about a new feature, Katie uses the right source for the job, whether inter- or intra-team.
Inter-Team Collaboration and Research
Katie learns about new features and expected behavior from all appropriate sources, including:
- Test environments, to learn hands-on about all the ins and outs of the feature.
- The spec and any written technical documentation, for initial understanding of the feature, its scope, its use cases, and the impact to users.
- Demos, for high-level overviews of the whole feature and a great opportunity to ask questions with the whole team in one place.
- Developers, for questions about how the feature behaves as written.
- Quality Assurance, for the kind of detail only a QA person could love – as well as excellent edge cases clients might encounter.
- Product Managers, for use cases, expected behavior, and intended impact to users.
Katie works closely with the writing team to edit and provide feedback on each other’s work and accomplish long-term projects while still meeting immediate deadlines.
|Example: Smart Help Project|
|Katie and her colleague collaborated closely to document over 4,300 settings throughout the entire product, then used an in-house tool to add context-sensitive help links for each setting as it appeared on the screen. This put help at clients’ fingertips, eliminating the need to search help documentation separately and allowing clients to immediately answer questions as they arose. Help documentation usage went up 11% as a direct result of adding those links.|
Katie’s works best like an arrow: Point her in a direction and let her go. Katie thrives working independently, meeting all deadlines, producing phenomenal documentation, and earning an Employee Excellence Award in 2019 in recognition of her efforts.
While Katie works hard and produces excellent technical documentation, she values relationships with coworkers and builds personal connections naturally. An energetic, outgoing, and cheerful personality gives Katie the natural predilection to connect with people across all different teams.
|Example: The Jokeboard|
|In 2017, Katie started writing Dad jokes on a white board at her desk. Soon she started writing a new joke every day, and nearby coworkers began checking the board for a new joke daily.|
Two years later, #Jokeboard had become one of the company’s most popular Slack channels, a site for employees across the company to find a work-friendly joke every day and to contribute their own add-on jokes and puns.
This cross-team interaction directly facilitates work-related conversations. Jokeboard participants regularly alert Katie about changes to features, upcoming new items, and other work details they know a technical writer values.