Interview About TC Internship & Job Search

Completed for a friend’s assignment in September 2013.
1. During your internship, what types of documents did you write? What was the purpose for these documents?
Who was the target audience?
In sum, I used Word, PDF, and HTML for documents that involved writing. I also used Excel and Camtasia for some other things I was working on.
  • I revised an author’s guide and contract writer’s guide with the purpose of informing journal contributors about what the editors expectations are. These were in the form of a Word document that would be turned into PDFs and/or posted on a website.
  • I wrote a document with writing tips for journal authors related to the previous task.
  • I revised author and Editorial Review Board instructions. The purpose was to tell authors and people who did reviews for peer-reviewed articles how to submit manuscripts and submit manuscript reviews. Along with this task, I created instructional videos on the process that required a sort of script.
2. What steps did you take while creating these documents?
Creating these documents were an iterative process; however, in general: I was given a task, did some research into what materials ASRT already had available, planned the document, wrote a draft, asked for feedback on a draft, revised, and edited. Sometimes I did a couple of drafts and did more research before I had a meeting to discuss a document.
3. How did time and budget limitations affect your work?
I didn’t have enough time to complete all the possible tasks for me. I also didn’t have the time to survey authors and editorial review members to inform my work. If I had more time, I would have liked to do some usability tests on instructions and guides. I had to invest time in learning Access in order to evaluate whether it’d be best for an article catalog database but ended up using Excel. I felt as though time was wasted working with customer support for Camtasia because I had to go back and forth with the Information Services department at ASRT to download anything that might help fix the software error.
4. How much time did you usually spend on each project?

About half my time was spent creating resources for authors and Editorial Review Board members, such as tutorial videos, manuscript submission/review instructions, writing tips and structural guidelines. About 15 percent of my time was devoted to researching and developing strategy to increase nonmember subscribers and improve visibility of the journals. About 10 percent of my time was devoted to developing ASRT publications FAQ and glossary for the website. About 10% of my time was spent writing and editing materials for ASRT’s print and electronic materials as assigned (edited two articles and started research on a member magazine column article). About 10 percent of my time was devoted to cataloging articles printed in the three print publications and creating a master content spreadsheet. Five percent of my time was devoted to learning about the production process of a scholarly publication. Basically, I sat in on meetings and shadowed someone in the art department as they took a manuscript done in Word and used InDesign to create a comprehensive layout.

I felt fortunate to have these priorities spelled out for me in my job description. I also had periodic meetings with my supervisor to see how things were going and refocus. For example, after I cataloged about 770 articles because it was easy and there were so many to do, my supervisor let me stop doing that and just work on other things.
5. How and when did you revise your work?
Revision was an ongoing process. I’d revise as I saw fit and would consult with my peer mentor who managed web content, editors, or my supervisor who managed the scientific publications. For the article index, I also got feedback from people in the membership department who would use the document while they talked to customers. For the contract writer’s guide, I had a meeting with someone who used to be in the communications department but at the time consulted part-time as someone who works with both contract writers and editors.
6. Did you give/create any presentations? If so, what were they about? Who
was your target audience?
Yes; I gave a 30-minute editing refresher presentation on the proper use of pronouns. More specifically, I covered vague/unclear pronoun references and nonsexist language. My target audience were a variety of professionals from any department who worked with editing in some way. That included people from publications, marketing, governance, art, or anyone who was interested in a company of over 100 people. I think about 20 people showed up.
7. What citation methods did you use when referencing secondary source
material (if any)?
American Medical Association Manual of Style
8. What types of issues do you think a young professional should consider
when applying for internships or jobs?
  • Short answer: interests and strengths. In addition to exploring interests in a place where you can use your strengths, you might also want to consider the location.
  • If you’re going to be living somewhere long term, do you prefer a rural or urban environment? What kind of climate do you do best in? Personally, I don’t do so well in places where they have blizzards. 
  • Is it important to be near family, or are you good at finding your own support system? I’ve made a lot of friends in college who have proven to be a more reliable support system than family.
  • Do you want to have the opportunity to travel? (I think I turned off one potential employer because I was too eager to travel at the time, but it all depends on what you’d be happy with and how much travel is necessary for a given job. You might not know what will make you happy until you try it.) 
  • Do you want to have the opportunity to switch to different jobs within the company? Do you want opportunities to be promoted? Also keep in mind what you have to offer the company.
  • I’ve had the best luck when I’m interested in a particular job, I show them I’m interested, and I show them how my strengths would be an asset to the team.

Online Tools for Office Workers

Rank Goals or Options

The Prioritizer can help you make tough decisions.

Split, Merge, or Convert to PDF

They make Portable Document Format easy. Smallpdf can be used to compress PDF files and do a whole lot more.

Save Paper, Ink, or Storage Space

If you want to print an article off the Internet or save a webpage for future reference, I recommend Print Friendly.

Send a Short Fax for Free

No further explanation necessary, though you can also use Fax Zero to contact your government representatives if their voicemail inboxes are full.

Schedule a Group Meeting

Doodle is a useful tool for scheduling parties, study sessions, or other gatherings of people with a variety of schedules.

Books for Job Seekers

Get an Interview

The Job-Hunter’s Survival Guide by Richard N. Bolles
This book has a lot of helpful suggestions for looking for a job. It was a reasonable price, fit a lot of clearly written tips in just 100 pages, and had a very positive and friendly tone.

 

Prepare for an Interview

60 Seconds and You’re Hired! by Robin Ryan
Want to be able to deliver a persuasive elevator pitch, know how to respond to tough questions, and create a list of useful questions to ask during an interview? Learn all that and more in about 200 pages.

Graduation 2014: I did it!

Graduation Ceremony 2014

Commencement (Photo credit: William Colburn)

Looking back at these last two years, I’ve overcome some obstacles, but I do have a lot to be proud of. Though it was the sum of hard work rather than a story in itself, I did apply for and earn the technical communication scholarship all 2 out of 2 years that I’ve been here. I had a great internship experience. I’ve maintained multiple part-time jobs while earning high honors as a full-time student. What’s more, catching up after losing 3 weeks of school due to an injury that required surgery while planning a wedding pushed me to grow in time management. Despite the challenges, I set a goal to earn a second BS in 2 years and I did it!

Outside of classes, there were some experiences that I’m glad I added this time around. When I was studying chemical engineering, I was very busy and focused. I wanted to graduate in 4 years and move on to the next thing. This time, studying technical communication, I was still focused, but I wanted to get the most out of my classes and work on people and leadership skills. I might have been able to get a second BS in less than 2 years because nearly all my core requirements counted, but then I would have lived a much less balanced life and I probably would have been set back when the unexpected happened. (I was not expecting to be getting surgery the same day as job fair during my last semester.) I’m really glad I decided to challenge myself to learn more people and leadership skills as a Resident Assistant. I’m an introvert, but I was able to use extrovert skills when required.

I’ve come a long way in 2 years. I thought I had a good start in visual and verbal communication, but my work has gotten much more professional. I got interested in web design and was able to explore that interest in Visual Communication (TC 151), Web Design (TC 351), and my Senior Thesis (TC 422) project. Studying technical communication challenged me in different ways than chemical engineering did. I got a strong foundation in math and science studying chemical engineering and I learned more ways to express these ideas in technical communication. I’m happy to have degrees in both of my passions.

Spring 2014 Course Schedule

For my last semester working on my BS in technical communication, I’m taking:

  • Food & Culture (Anth 302)
  • CPR & First Aid
  • Painting in Acrylics
  • Intro to Digital Photography
  • Beginning Belly Dance
  • Senior Thesis (TC 422)
  • Special Topics in Science Writing (TC 491)

Fall 2013 Course Schedule

This semester, I’m taking

  • Pilates Matwork
  • Massage I
  • Intermediate Yoga
  • Elementary Spanish II (Span 114)
  • Internship (TC 321)
  • Senior Seminar (TC 420)

Alt Codes ¡Olé!

There aren’t enough keys on my keyboard! I used to look up special characters in the Character Map, but now I have found a more efficient way to add accents. If you’re using Windows, all you need is a keyboard with a number pad. Hold down the ALT key while you type in the number code on the number pad.

I searched for a table of often-used Alt Codes, and the closest one that I found to meeting my needs was from www.UsefulShortcuts.com; however, I found some errors in them and doubt the page gets updated anymore. So I made my own. Here’s what I put together for Spanish.

Alt Codes for Spanish

Punctuation

Characters
Alt 168 ¿
Alt 173 ¡

Accents

Uppercase Lowercase
Alt 0193 Á Alt 0225 á
Alt 0201 É Alt 0233 é
Alt 0205 Í Alt 0237 í
Alt 165  Ñ Alt 164  ñ
Alt 0211 Ó Alt 0243 ó
Alt 0218 Ú Alt 0250 ú
Alt 0220 Ü Alt 0252 ü

Let me know if you find this table useful and if you’d like me to create more reference tables like these.

A New Outlook on Outlook

I learned how to use Microsoft Office 2003 back in 2005 while participating in the Math Science Regional Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I’ve been using Word and Excel regularly since then, but I haven’t been able to see the usefulness of Outlook until now. I’ve had to use Outlook during summer research in summer 2008 and work in 2010-2011, but I didn’t enjoy it. I’m not sure if they’ve updated features, but I think there are a few requirements of the work environment that make Outlook useful:

  • working at a large company,
  • where everyone uses it to schedule meetings,
  • and you consistently work at the same computer.

End of Semester, Start of Internship

I’ve been super busy since I got engaged, and we haven’t even done much wedding planning yet. What’s been keeping me busy is the end of the semester. I only had one final (Spanish I), but I did have a presentation for Media Studies, a proposal for Writing Workshop, and a project for Web Design to complete. Since I volunteered to help with the department redesign earlier in the semester, I had more time to work on a brochure during Web Design class to finish off the semester of Community Service. Once I got through all that, I had a little bit of time to relax before the start of my internship.

My internship is going pretty well so far. I am getting to learn new things while using existing skills to make a meaningful contribution. One of my main projects is updating the author information page and compiling additional writing resources for authors. This internship is right up my alley.

I got engaged!

Our Engagement Rings

I wasn’t planning on posting much about my personal life, but this is big news. My fiancé is smart, funny, and cute. He’s also a good cook and really sweet. I worked with him on [a previous version] of the Shattered FX website, and we put together a placeholder for a potential business website using a ThemeShaper theme before I got really busy this semester. We’ve started a wedding website of our own that we’re not sharing until the date gets finalized. 🙂