Professional Writing Careers

Professional writers are advocates for users of information--yes, that's every one of us. I think we can all relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed with so much information that it is difficult to know where to begin a task or how to make a decision. And many of us can relate to the experience of having to make sense of poorly designed or highly technical and complex information in order to get something done.

man crumpled paper

Source: 123RF Stock Photo. Copyright 2013 by Elnur Amikishiyev. Reprinted with permission.

Professional writers specialize in designing information for ease of use and accessibility. As you can imagine, these skills are essential to every organization. What we hope you notice from the job descriptions and activities below is that professional writing is radically interdisciplinary--it draws from research in cognitive psychology, art and graphic design, rhetoric, human-computer interaction, and many more relevant areas. In addition, the tools professional writers use are varied and numerous: Professional writers must become savvy information designers, and that information will take a number of shapes and be delivered through a variety of media depending on audience and purpose. However, while we draw widely from other disciplines to inform our own research and practice, professional writing, often called technical communication, has a unique perspective and aim, and that is advocacy for people as they must navigate complex and overwhelming data to make decisions and accomplish their goals.

multimediaThe language organizations use to identify jobs in this area include the following, for example:  editing and publishing, professional and technical writing, grant writing, developing training materials, coordinating social media, coordinating digital content, designing and writing content for Web sites, Web-based training, multimedia writer, communications specialist, communications manager, writing policies and procedures, writing online help and other kinds of documentation for products and applications, and information designer. Students would also be prepared for graduate study in professional writing, rhetoric, composition studies, law, journalism, business and education. [Source left: 123RF Stock Photo. Copyright 2013 by PKdinkar  Reprinted with permission.]

Notably, this Professional Writing program provides substantive and plentiful opportunities to work with community partners in designing and creating written products for print and digital delivery using the latest tools. As a result, students leave this track with a solid record of experience as writers and designers evidenced by important connections in the community and a portfolio of work. We also encourage students to participate in as many internships as they have time for to try on life in various organization types and  professional writing roles. One of these internships can be designed for course credit.

working in community








Source: 123RF Stock Photo. Copyright 2013 by Goodluz  Reprinted with permission.


Works Cited:

Amikishiyev, Elnur. Man with Lots of Crumpled Paper.123RF Stock Photo. Web. 15 Aug. 2013.

Goodluz. 123RF Stock Photo. Web. 15 Aug. 2013.

PKdinkar. Computer and Icons. 123RF Stock Photo. Web. 15 Aug. 2013.