by Christina Eftekhar, Carolina Chapter Member
- What: Seeding the Clouds
- When: June 23, 2011
Anyone who has looked for work in the last year will know that the number of available jobs has decreased while the number of technical communicators out of work has increased. On June 23, 2011, John Hedtke spoke to a large group of job seekers, giving over two dozen tips to succeed in this competitive job market.
An author of over 26 books authored and more than 30 years' experience, John provided helpful tips, examples on how to answer tough interview questions, and resources to help both full time employees and freelancers find work. "This is the first time in a long time that technical communicators have had trouble finding work," John said.
To make yourself more employable, John suggests updating your resume and creating a portfolio first, and then do what you can, when you can. John's tips can be summarized with: do more, do it differently, and have fun. For all his tips, listen to the recording and follow along with his slides.
Whatever You're Doing, Do More of ItRevamp your resume, but don't just update it: user-test it with your peers individually or by hosting a workshop. (You've done user testing on your work, why not your resume?) Read more books, magazines, blogs. Network more. Make your online presence more visible by adding social media accounts, starting a blog, or building a (professional) website. Go to STC and non-STC events and take your resume with you. Consult with your alumni group or take on interns. Share your knowledge by speaking to networking groups or students. Volunteer more: for your local STC chapter, for non-profits, or for groups like the Chamber of Commerce or the Rotary club.
Whatever You're Doing, Do It DifferentlyExamine your skill set for what you need to change or add, and then do it. Network with people in different industries, with more people of the opposite sex, or in social (non-work) groups. Change your venue: if you've done marketing, try course development; if you've written user manuals, try online help. Relax your standards, including who you will work for and for how much. Create your own business cards. Consider contracting or freelance work; or consider working for a salary if you are a freelancer. Expand your geographic area for your searches and don't forget about telecommuting options. Sign up with a few staffing agencies or contract firms. Write for magazines or trade journals, or even write a book (you know you've thought about it).
Have Fun and Keep MovingBeing out of work is difficult and depressing. Have a plan for how you spend your time when you are not job searching. Keep your spirits up by moving on with your life and doing things you were previously neglecting. Relish what you're learning and who you're meeting, but be ready when the floodgates open. Become immortal by paying it forward as it will pay you back in the future.
Christina can be reached at c dot s dot eftekhar at gmail dot com.