In the hi-tech media-centered world of today if you do not have an online presence you are pretty much invisible. Sure you can still find a job the old fashioned way, mailing or even e-mailing an employer your resume, but having an online presence is essential to making yourself known. When employers search for me online they will more than likely find my Facebook page, and might come across my blog, here. However these two representations of me do little to promote my technical communication skills, or to promote me to future employers.
Thankfully it is a requirement for my capstone course that I create an e-portfolio and publish it for everyone, and anyone to see. YIKES! I am grateful that this assignment, something I might not have thought to do on my own, has been given to me. I get to create a website with the cushion of a professor that will help me every step of the way. I wish it were that simple.
There are endless benefits to having an e-portfolio. An e-portfolio allows you to get more personal than is generally acceptable on a résumé, you can add images of yourself that further illustrate your accomplishments, it’s easy to find, and most of all it’s permanent.
PERMANENT!? As in never ever goes away.
So, you see, it is of the upmost importance that I build a website that shows off all of my skills and accomplishments in the best possible way. No pressure. Thankfully this assignment is due at the end of the semester so I have plenty of time to make it the best that it can be. I assumed going into this assignment that it would be easy to create something about myself.
It is stressful to write about yourself when you know that the world can see it and it could be the difference between you getting or not getting a job. I have always been aware of my presence on social media and the repercussions that could follow a bad decision on Instagram or Facebook. I steer clear of any photos that could jeopardize my future, and feel just as strongly about what I put on my e-portfolio. Like anyone else I want to show my bestself online. I want to show what I am capeable of and how I can be beneficial to future employers.
So as I sit down to write the text for the about me page I ask myself, in a professional sense, who am I? And what do I bring to the table?
In the five years that I have been here at Auburn there has been one constant. I have made friends, lost friends and even found some friends for life. However the one thing that has not changed is that whenever someone asks what I plan on doing with my degree when I graduate, no matter how much I explain, they always circle back to the assumption “Oh, so you’re going to teach right?” I have found this infuriating at times but I always try to remember, when I feel that the situation is hopeless, that for a long time I too had no idea what I could do with my degree. When I graduate with my English degree in Technical and Professional Communication my main goal is to be hired in an editing position. I would like to work for any type of magazine, fiction book publishing, or in a technical editing or writing position. That word technical that I keep throwing around is, what I believe, throws most of people off when I talk to them about my degree. After first hearing the word English, their minds automatically go to teaching, which is another talk for another post.
So what is a technical/professional communicator? Well it is actually as simple, and complex, as it sounds. The experience that I have obtained in the process of earning this degree has prepared me to write technical documents. Technical documents include anything from the manuals that come in your Ikea desks telling you how to assemble your new furniture, to government documents. The role of a technical communicator is one that comes with with many responsibilities. For instance technical communicators often find themselves working for companies that require them to write and edit documents about things like science and engineering. This means that we need to become familiar with the different fields but most importantly we have to know the user, and understand how they will process different pieces of information. I once had a professor that worked for a company where her job was to edit manuals that engineers would use on the job. She, like I, graduated with an English degree in Technical Communication so to successfully complete her job she had to find out how engineers process information and shape the documents in a way that would best communicate that information. The point is we have to understand that people’s minds work differently and shape documents to successfully communicate information to multiple different people at one time.
Because technical communicators are in the business of understanding and sometimes working to guide people’s thoughts in certain ways, it is very important that we understand and can recognize when something is unethical. I have taken persuasion and Anthropology classes, these are two different fields but I have found that they overlap somewhat with technical communication. In my persuasion course we talk a lot about coercion and propaganda and how to spot and steer clear of them which is very important when creating technical documents. In the Anthropology course we learned how to comprehend the differences of people across cultures, which of course is extremely important in creating technical documents. All of this being said, when I graduate I will have obtained a lot of the experience and knowledge necessary to communicate with all kinds of people from all over the world, and honestly I’m pretty excited to get started!
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Tagged anthropology, auburn, Communications, degree, employee, english, ethics, persuasion, professional communication, Student, teaching, technical communication, Writing and Editing