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Recruiting for Tech Comm

The job market and requirements for a good technical communicator are always changing. 

A technical communicator needs strong writing and interviewing skills, in addition to a sense of design. Job listings may contain a confusing amount of requirements; sometimes there are so many a job seeker is left wondering if the company knows what they want.

I had a chance to interview Jack M. Molisani, owner of ProSpring Technical Staffing and an STC Fellow. My goal was to understand what a recruiter looks for in a candidate. 

Molisani will have owned ProSpring Technical Staffing 25 years this month. He started his career as a project officer in the United States Air Force where his responsibilities included technical writing. After he transitioned into civilian life, he worked as a technical writing full time and started a technical writing company. Later, he created a staffing division as he received requests from companies for potential technical writing candidates.

Molisani said ProSpring looks for technical writers for tech companies, manufacturers, in addition to recruiting engineers, project managers and other content writers. He said a good technical writing candidate should have five things in order to stand out. He said his company looks at what they were in previous jobs, their seniority, their domain knowledge, the tools they come with and if they have done structured authoring.

When asked what kind of resume stands out Molisani said, they are the ones which match exactly what the employee is looking for. He explained further by adding, a well designed resume is tailored to the position.

Molisani also said a technical communicator candidate should not apply through web sites or through a job bank. This is advice given by many recruiters in various fields and it is something I have been told many times myself. 

Molisani explained human resource departments use software to weed out candidates who do not appear to come close to what they are looking for. He recommended finding someone who actually works there and emailing them, asking to send them the resume. He said many companies give their employees a bonus for recommending a good candidate, creating incentive.

Molisani said companies vary region by region regarding trends. He said most companies are  using Microsoft Word for authoring documents. He added they also using content management systems and structured authoring, as well as Adobe Framemaker.

Molisani said Covid-19 has caused more technical communicators to work from home and he expects this to increase as time goes on, even after Covid is brought under control. He said employees appreciate the increased privacy and decreased frustration in traveling to work. He said Covid-19 quarantines have proven working remotely actually works.

Molisani talked about some of the mistakes people make in resumes. One of them, he said is mixing hyphens and en dash in resume dates. He said an en dash between dates is not meant to have any spaces. 

Molisani remembered something an Engineering Manager once told him. It was about a programmer who had errors in her resume, “If a person cannot write two pages of error free resume, how could that person possibly write 10,000 lines of error free code?”

This, he says, applies to technical communicators as well.