How Does a Freelance Technical Writer Get Work?

Technical writers produce (create and write) and update technical material or documentation, such as manuals, catalogs, instructions, user manuals and similar materials. Read on to find out how to find work as a freelance technical writer. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

About Freelance Technical Writers

Freelance technical writers are self-employed, meaning they have to find places to sell their work or locate employers who require their services.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $71,850
Required Education Bachelor's degree in journalism, English or communications
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% growth
Key Skills Attention to detail, creativity, writing skills, ability to understand technical information
Similar Occupations Editors, public relations specialists, writers and authors

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment Opportunities

There are many ways to freelance technical writers can find work. Here are some ideas:

Locally

To find work in your own area, approach local manufacturing, engineering or educational firms and training companies. These types of businesses may employ permanent technical writers but may need the assistance of a freelancer if they are running behind. You may try cold-calling prospects or emailing your resume to their offices.

Networking

Just as in finding any other type of job, networking is important when it comes to finding a freelance position. Call employers to do information interviews, and then keep in touch. Join professional organizations and attend meetings if possible.

Online Employment Websites and Message Boards

Many websites and message boards cater to the freelancer. They may even be geared toward technical writers. They may list jobs that can be performed over the Internet or others that require relocation. Some may require that you bid on jobs. You may be allowed to post your resume, so be certain that you have one. Regardless of the type of position, these sources can serve to put you in contact with employers who need your services.

Get a Web Presence

Start your own website or blog where you can post articles or opinions on topics that interest you. When applying for any job, you will need writing samples. This is an excellent way to make sure you always have an available supply. Being online will also increase your visibility.

You could also try writing for web-based publications. While they may pay less than companies that publish paper technical writings, they might provide an opportunity for you to hone your skills and present yourself to hiring companies.

Other Considerations

Learn how to market yourself and do so on a regular basis. You have to let employers know that you are there. Stay in touch with previous clients, especially if they are doing something new or if you are offering a new service.

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