Technical Writer Seeks Non-Conglomerate for Employment-based Relationship
August 1, 2012 3:47 PM   Subscribe

How can I find a job at a smaller company given my recent work experience (technical writing)?

I want to leave my job, and I want to work for a much smaller company than I'm currently at, but I don't know where to look.

I graduated with an English degree in 2009 and went straight into a technical writer/content manager sort of job for a huge corporation. I think I've acquired some good experience over the last couple years, doing stuff like writing UI content for user accounts, help and support documents, video scripts, product marketing content, and so on. But I've never liked working for a behemoth of a company, and now that I'm ready to move on, I feel sort of stuck.

Every place I look online (indeed, craigstlist, montser), seems to only list jobs relevant to my experience from similarly gigantic companies. I feel like I need to broaden my view and start looking at other sorts of positions where my skills might still apply, but I don't know where to start.

So, what sort of smaller companies could use someone with technical writing experience? And where can I find them?

(For the purposes of this question, any place with fewer than 300,000 employees would be a step in the right direction, but I guess what I really want is an employer that doesn't feel corporate and impersonal. And I'm in Seattle if that matters.)

Thanks in advance!
posted by eggplantplacebo to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe an ad or PR agency? Or a software firm. In Nashville there are a bunch of places that do medical software that probably have jobs for your skillset.
posted by dawkins_7 at 5:57 PM on August 1, 2012

Smaller software companies, small law offices, small insurance firms. Having who might be on your resume is a good entree, but they might not care that you find Boeing or Microsoft to big or impersonal. Spin it more along the lines of wanting to be more connected with your team or product than "h8s the monolith and decent health insurance".

I'd just start digging up businesses locally and asking. Tech writing can be hard to place as a lot of people might not know what they need and tech recruiters can be pretty clueless. And the smaller a company is (say under 50-100 people) they might not even really get what they'd need one for, so you might be giving more information to make them see why how they need a tech writer.

Generally, the smaller companies will go with someone who works in dev or support who takes a day off or two to knock out some documents and not really know that there's value in the training you've got from the larger company; managing documents and document libraries, templates, style guides, and so forth. They're "kind of looking" for a tech writer because Bob wants to get back to his day job and they need to much documentation for him to spend his time on it.

Generally I've been pretty meh about cover letters, but with the last few companies/hirers who needed the education as to what a tech writer can do for them, I've found a good opening letter/conversation to be very beneficial.
posted by tilde at 7:20 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Crap. Too big or impersonal. They need too much documentation.

I worked in a similar type of job for a local Giant Software company; I spent my time there not just honing my writing skills but the planning and management skills a smaller company would need. When I moved a few years back, I'd picked the area as easy to get to GS, but with other smaller technology companies in the area.

As such, I've interviewed or worked at cell phone business companies, medical software companies, smaller airlines, financial companies, and small manufacturing companies. I ended up with a company that was one degree removed from one of the companies I'd targeted upon my move (it was run by people who all used to work at the target company). The health insurance sucked but I survived until better was available through other means.

Glad my answer could help, sorry if it was all over the place; it's one of those days .... but the 1 degree of kevin bacon company is just starting to realize the value I'm bringing on and my brain is full ....
posted by tilde at 8:48 AM on August 2, 2012

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