One of the challenges of finding work in technical writing is that many posted positions require at least three years of experience. Building up experience through volunteer work is a key way of breaking into the field. It will also help you develop a portfolio.
When I started thinking about putting together a portfolio, I knew I wanted to have a wide range of writing samples. I began researching ways that I could gain experience through volunteering and found that there were many options to choose from.
Here are two ways I built up my portfolio by writing online articles:
Completing Project-Based Writing Projects
As part of the Technical Communication program at Simon Fraser University, I completed a final project that involved producing a professional user manual. I decided to seek out a practicum with a non-profit organization where I could utilize my skills and obtain relevant, practical experience in technical writing.
I ended up working with the curator of the Vancouver Police Museum to produce an archive management policies and procedures manual. It was an excellent experience, as I was able to gain hands-on experience and skills in interviewing a subject matter expert. I also learned how to organize this newly acquired knowledge into a usable format. At the end of the practicum, I had a polished portfolio piece and a good initial grasp of the process and practice of technical writing.