Many people say that they have “excellent command of the English language” and I do as well. However, not all of them understand tone. Therein lies my strength. I am always mindful of the purpose and audience of written material. I know that the tone of a user guide will be different from the tone of a blog, which will be different from the tone of a sales sheet, which will be different from the tone of a client newsletter. When I edit, I do more than proofread—correcting spelling and grammar mistakes; I also consider the whole of the piece and make sure it flows, it is not confusing, it conveys what it is supposed to convey, and it has the proper tone.
Of course, I work closely with clients to understand the purpose of each written form of communication before I get started. I am reliable and work well independently, but can collaborate well with teams also.
Software User Guides
I have been writing end-user documentation since 1985. This has often meant 1) figuring out the topic and scope to be covered in the particular guide, 2) determining an outline, 3) writing the information in a user-friendly manner, 4) adding graphics where appropriate, and 5) checking for consistency and accuracy. I work with programmers and developers as needed to ensure that my information is complete and correct. Even if the trend is to get away from user guides, I believe they serve an important purpose.
I have started and been responsible for the newsletter at several different organizations. I can design the layout of the newsletter and write articles for each monthly issue. If others contribute to the newsletter, I check for tone and correctness, editing as needed. I have been, and can be, responsible for the deadlines required by monthly newsletters, as well as for the distribution of the newsletter.
I have been involved in the creation, design, writing, and updating of several websites over the years. Originally working with FrontPage, I then moved on to Dreamweaver and now mostly use WordPress. I am mindful of SEO practices as well as graphic design elements.
I have written a fair number of articles for a company’s blog, also editing other contributor’s articles to conform to a consistent tone (and not have any posts sound like sales pitches). I have been and can be responsible for the scheduling and publishing of blog posts.
Because of my proofreading skills, I am sometimes asked to review marketing material. I make sure such material sounds intelligent and has a clear point. I have also written news releases, all the while understanding that news releases should never sound like marketing or sales pieces.
I am comfortable training new users on software, both in person and over the web (using tools such as GoToMeeting). Often, I have also been responsible for creating the content of each training class and for providing the users PDFs with snapshots of the training classes. For those who can’t schedule time with me, I have created training videos in short segments to cover the material.