Tips and Examples for Your First Technical Writer Cover Letter
Hi! My name is Yulia, and I have been working as a technical writer for the past three years. Last year, I started to write for Draft.dev, a technical marketing content agency for software startups. Draft.dev works with quite a few companies with different tech stacks and is constantly looking for talented new writers. I’ve always been interested in technology and writing, and this position helps me learn new things and improve, as well as share what I’ve learned with others.
Writing is a great way for technical specialists to get recognized in the community, share their expertise with potential employers, and improve their communication skills, especially if English isn’t their first language. In this article, I will share some tips for creating technical writer cover letters so that you can successfully kick off your writing career.
About Technical Writer Cover Letters
From my experience, being able to write a good cover letter is extremely important if you want to land a job in writing. In technical writing, formal education and other qualifications don’t matter. However, you need to know how to “sell yourself” and provide the hiring manager with the relevant information they need, such as your technical background, your writing experience, and which technologies you can write about.
Don’t just copy cover letters from the internet. Make sure that yours is unique—believe me, content editors and managers receive dozens of cover letters daily, and they’ve seen them all. Write your own authentic email in a friendly, informal fashion, and don’t be shy about showcasing your best attributes.
Developers with no technical writing experience often aren’t sure how to convince the editor that they’re a good fit. In this case, explain why you’re interested in the position and what knowledge you can bring to the table (for instance, ten years of experience in programming or experience dealing with the product and the client side). If you have more general experience with writing, you can link your social media, academic papers, or other materials that show your command of the language.
However, the best thing would be to write at least one post on Medium about a technical topic that interests you. This way, the agency can evaluate your expertise, language, and logic.
How to Write Technical Writer Cover Letters
Following are some suggested steps to follow in writing your cover letter for a technical writing position:
What Your Letter Should Say
Your cover letter should contain all the necessary information about you that helps the employer make a decision. First, introduce yourself and explain why you’re writing:
My name is Dan, and I’m an Android mobile developer. I understand that you’re looking for technical writers, and I would like to apply.
Make sure that your email is structured and well-formatted. When I write cover letters, I usually structure them like this:
1. Relevant education: This includes degrees and online and offline courses. You’re not required to have a degree in computer science or engineering, but if you do, it’s worth mentioning, especially if it’s a master’s or a Ph.D. Not only is this a plus for you, but it will also help the company to offer you writing assignments that suit your expertise.
I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Cornell University. I’ve also acquired Google Android Developer Certification and IBM Certification.
2. Relevant work experience: This means both in tech and in writing. Talk about your programming experience and technical writing experience separately since both are important components for this job.
I have four-plus years of experience in software development. Right now, I’m working at Amazing Software Company as a middle software engineer. My team creates mobile applications for Android. Some of the projects that I’ve worked on are CoolApp1 and CoolApp2. As part of a promotion for these projects, I’ve written several blog posts that were published on HackerNoon and got a lot of positive comments. I really enjoyed writing them and would like to continue sharing my knowledge with a wider audience.
3. What you’d like to write about: Tech is big, and nobody can write about everything. Mention what programming languages, frameworks, or technologies you know best and have experience with. If you’re learning something new, include that as well.
4. Writing samples: Writing samples are the most important factor in whether you get hired. If you’ve written posts for your own or your company’s blog, include them. If you don’t have any samples, you can create a post for your blog or post something on Medium. Not only is this helpful for employers, but it helps you find out whether you enjoy writing. You can also include links to your GitHub repositories to showcase the quality of your code.
Here are some examples of my work:
Let me know if this looks like a good fit for you.
Don’t make a cover letter too long. I try to keep them to about ten sentences maximum. Let your work speak for itself.
What Your Letter Shouldn’t Say
Your cover letter should be straight to the point, so don’t include irrelevant information. For example, if you don’t have any blog posts to show, don’t mention that you have always liked writing and even wrote a couple of stories as a child. This isn’t relevant experience, and it doesn’t sound professional.
Another common mistake is to leave out the cover letter and send your resume by itself. A cover letter shows your interest in the job as well as your respect for the person who will open your email. Instead of making the editor comb through your ten-page CV trying to understand what you can do for them, give them exactly what they need. It will be appreciated.
What to Know about the Company
Writing cover letters starts with reading. Do your homework and investigate what the company does, who their clients are, and what niches they work in. If you’re a Haskell developer, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll land a job writing for mobile developers. It’s also a good idea to demonstrate in your cover letter that you have studied what the company does and you’re interested in it. Link your relevant experience or knowledge to the company’s mission, and you’re much more likely to be hired.
Less Experience vs. More Experience
For technical writing, the demand is generally higher than the supply. This means you don’t necessarily need to be a senior developer or a writer with ten years of experience to become a technical writer. If you’re a junior developer, it’s okay to say that. Different clients with different audiences need different types of content: from high-level posts to deeply technical long-read guides with code snippets.
Example of a Successful Cover Letter
As an example, below is the cover letter that landed me a technical writing job at Draft.dev:
My name is Yulia, I’m twenty-five, and I have been writing about tech for three years now.
I started as a junior software developer at [company name], where I worked on projects in the domain of machine learning and data science. Right now, I work at [company name] as a middle software developer. I mostly write in Python and JS and work with TensorFlow, Microsoft Azure, and AWS.
I am interested in working with you because I would like to share my experience with wider audiences, grow as a writer, and help great startups and companies gain more recognition.
I’m a quick learner and passionate about language and technology, especially artificial intelligence.
Link to my blog:
Hope to speak to you soon!
Have a great start to the year,
Writing a cover letter for a technical writer position is a necessary step since it allows you to show yourself in the best light and introduce the reader to how you can be useful for them. This might seem like a tricky task, but in reality, it’s simple if you follow these rules:
- Keep it short and friendly.
- Showcase your relevant experience, education, and skills for the position.
- Provide links to your portfolio.
- Write the letter in your own words.
Draft.dev is one of the best places for technical writers from different fields to share what they know and get paid for their words. It offers clear guidelines on its editing process, a convenient writer portal where you can select tasks based on your interests, and great pay rates. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a technical writer, give it a try now!