Article by Shikha Jhala, Secretary, STC Carolina Chapter
If you are a student, recent graduate, or career changer in the midst of a job search, you have surely gotten advice about how to get started as a technical communicator. Learn the basics, get familiar with some tools, put together a portfolio, volunteer at your local STC chapter, and so on.
I am a student/career changer, and in my experience, getting involved with my local STC chapter (STC Carolina) has proved to be the most effective method to jumpstart my career in technical communication. A year ago, when I was new to the Research Triangle Park area and a technical writing rookie, I started going to the STC Carolina chapter meetings to connect with other professionals, get advice, and build up my network.
STC Carolina provided all of those career-enhancing benefits through their monthly educational events and socials, an employment network, training opportunities, annual competitions, and a mentoring program. I started actively volunteering for various chapter events and positions; competitions judge, awards night planning committee member, secretary, and here I am now, co-authoring an article with my mentor for their award-winning online publication!
I started actively volunteering for various chapter events and positions; competitions judge, awards night planning committee member, secretary, and here I am now, co-authoring an article with my mentor for their award-winning online publication!
I have found over the past year that the greatest value of STC Carolina, above all else, is in the relationships you build. When I got in touch with a former mentee from the STC Mentoring program, here’s what she told me about her experience.
“I came to the STC Mentoring program after completing coursework in Tech Comm. I was looking for more information on how I could land my first tech writing job with the skills I possessed and in a job that was a lot of technical writing without the title “Technical Writer”. I got everything I was hoping for and more. All of the mentors I met gave me excellent advice about how to market my transferable skills, which ultimately helped me land my first tech writing job. I started meeting with my own mentor just as I was beginning to start my job. The advice she gave me was invaluable, and I have already seen it help me in my new role.”
The STC Carolina mentoring program put me in contact with several professionals in the area who gave me good advice and were keen to prepare me for the move to the technical communication industry through real-world working experience and a project-based relationship. I found my current position, a technical writing internship, through my chapter network, and it has proved to be an invaluable opportunity for career advancement.
So, don’t be shy! Reach out to your local STC chapter and be on your way to a fruitful career in technical communication.
Here’s your chance to volunteer for STC Carolina. Join us for a FREE Webinar on April 12th regarding Volunteering Opportunities.