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Summer: A Time to Heat Up Your Career
2004, Q2 (February 21, 2007)
By Meredith Blackwelder

The arrival of summer means hot weather. What are you doing this summer to help keep your professional skills hot and to nurture your career? Our chapter can help you by offering networking, mentoring, publishing and speaking opportunities, and ways to acquire new skills.


One of the biggest reasons writers join our chapter is to network with others. Attending chapter meetings and Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings are good opportunities to network, but real networking happens when you serve on committees! When a committee accomplishes a task, it also accomplishes all of the goals of networking:
  • You learn about your fellow committee members — their work, skills and interests, what they have to offer — and they learn about you.
  • You discover the recent activities of local companies, learn who manages which groups in large companies, and uncover opportunities for work.
  • You have the opportunity to practice or develop skills that you wouldn't in your day-to-day job. By working on chapter committees, other members recognize you as a committed professional who sets and achieves goals. And that recognition spreads throughout our industry.


Through the Carolina chapter's mentoring program, experienced technical communicators act as trusted counselors, or guides, to share their experiences with new or less experienced protégés. Mentors help determine the future of the profession and play an instrumental role in helping others achieve their career goals and learn new skills.

Our program also offers the young technical communicator a chance to learn from an experienced professional. Through the chapter's mentorship program, you can find a coach to help you to learn or hone key skills and to better understand your way in the technical communication business.

Publishing and Speaking Opportunities

Experienced members of our chapter have untapped professional advice that others in the chapter will find useful. Publicize your knowledge by writing an article for our chapter newsletter, the Carolina Communiqué. Being published is a great way to enhance your portfolio, establish name recognition within the chapter, and help your peers with problems with which you've already dealt.

I also encourage you to give presentations at monthly membership meetings and SIG meetings. Giving presentations helps you brush up on your public speaking skills, so when it comes time to present to clients or coworkers, you'll be ready. It is also a way to raise your visibility in the chapter and share your knowledge with your peers.

Ways to Learn New Skills

Helping with the chapter newsletter or web site is a great way to learn new skills. By volunteering for these projects, you can learn to use a new software tool or practice a cutting-edge design technique that you may not get the freedom to do in your job.

Similarly, serving as a chapter officer or committee chair helps you develop management skills without company pressures and politics. Once you've mastered how to be a successful chapter treasurer or SIG manager, or how to successfully manage a large project, you can easily transfer those skills to your job setting.

Make the most of your investment in the STC. Give your career a boost — volunteer!!

Please contact me at mblackw at earthlink dot net for details on how STC Carolina can help you keep your career hot. End of article.

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