Many professionals can benefit from boosting their technical writing capabilities. In some roles, technical writing is a core part of your job, if not its entire purpose. In others, you may only be called upon to create manuals, instructions, or formal documentation occasionally, and knowing how to do it well helps you stand out from your peers.
While improving any capability can take time and energy, it’s often worthwhile. If you want to enhance your technical writing skills, here are five ways to do just that.
- Take an Online Course
When it comes to skill-building, formal training is often the best approach. It allows you to receive guidance from a reliable source and participate in exercises or assignments that hone your abilities.
Several online resources may offer free technical writing courses or general courses in writing that could be beneficial. For example, Coursera, Khan Academy, and Alison could be good places to start, though precisely what’s available can vary over time.
If you don’t mind paying, then you can look at options through colleges and universities. Many schools have massive course catalogs, much of which is available with online-only instruction.
- Try Books
While books may feel a bit antiquated, they are still an excellent option for learning new skills. You can move through them at your own pace, make notes on the pages, and refer to them repeatedly during your career.
Plus, you can find books on specific niches within the technical writing field. For example, there are books dedicated solely to grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. Others may focus entirely on formatting. You can learn the entire process one step at a time, really honing a skill segment before moving forward.
- Review Examples
One way to improve your technical writing capabilities is to review high-quality examples. Find documentation in your target niche, such as instructions and manuals, reports and research, or catalogs. Then, read through them with a critical and discerning eye.
As you go, note the document’s format. Consider why the writer used particular words or phrases. Identify language patterns in the document. As you do, you’ll be able to use a similar style in your next project, as you’ll be more familiar with the approach.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
When it comes to improving any skill, practice is one of the best approaches. It lets you learn by doing, which can be beneficial for learners who need to be active to stay engaged.
You can always see if there are opportunities at work, such as a project that needs technical documentation. If not, then practice on your own time. For example, you could pick your favorite appliance or program and create a manual for a specific feature from scratch.
Freelancing can be a great way to put your skills to work without having to change your main job. Plus, you can pick and choose your projects, giving you a chance to concentrate on options you find engaging or that align with your preferred niche.
When you freelance, you’ll also get feedback from your clients. This can help you figure out if you’re on target or if there are areas that still need improvement, giving you a chance to grow further over time.
Find The Perfect Technical Writing Position
Ultimately, all five of the methods above can help you improve your technical writing. If you’d like to learn more about how you can increase your marketability as a candidate, the team at Alpha Consulting can help. Contact us today and see how our skill-building expertise can benefit you.