Networking is Making Friends

Life can be unfair.

If you’re like me, you always want to know the perspective of the other. You may try to emulate it using your ‘super sensory skills’, but that just doesn’t do it justice. When I discovered my passion for technical writing, I wrote a letter to Duncan Kent. Mr. Kent is my good friend’s uncle and the firm founder/senior project manager at Duncan Kent & Associates Ltd., a technical documentation company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Life can be amazing.

For the past 27 years, his company has guided and developed more than 300 manuals and technical publications. His team’s work and client list span many industries, from construction and project management to law enforcement and security. I was inspired to write to him because of his company’s success.

As I started planning, I wondered to myself, “Imagine if…my client list was…in the thousands?”

Have a read –

Good morning Duncan,

Thank you for your time. I am excited to share a bit of my background with you and hope that this will be the beginning of a new adventure!

I have spent the past 8 years managing corporate accounts for the Medium and Enterprise sized business market segments of Canada’s #1 telecommunications brand and wireless service provider Bell Mobility. I write about 50 emails a day, corresponding with important decision-makers like billing analysts, IT coordinators, managers and/or executive directors.

Writing business emails has taught me how to approach language in a linear and logical manner, so that the complexities of the technologies and services we implement can be communicated to our clients with clarity and ease.

My passion for writing was originally theoretical (art school approach), but my role at Bell Mobility changed that. Now, making words make sense in a technical fashion has me completely converted, if not entirely fascinated by the precision of writing in and of itself.

I have achieved positive results in account management by:

  • Optimizing processes
  • Maximizing workplace efficiencies
  • Minimizing client expenditures through routine account management
  • Organizing & streamlining daily communications
  • Thinking critically
  • Taking proactive approaches to solving problems in writing
  • Building dependable & long lasting relationships with my team & clients

So here I am, graciously connecting to you thanks to your nephew, Chris Kent. I understand you must be very busy, but if possible, could I ask you some questions about technical writing? My goal is to determine if it is the right career for me and what steps I would need to take to get there.

These are some of the questions I had –

(I think these are all great questions, but since this is your first time contacting him, just lead with a subset of these questions – I’ve starred which I think you should lead with.  Once you’ve established a bit of a relationship, then you can ask the rest of the questions.  You just don’t want to  overwhelm him to start. I also can add questions to this list as well later on.) *editorial by my husband Romel Canlas; at this stage he was helping me A LOT with my writing. Doesn’t it seem like he has a natural penchant for selling?

Try giving a ONE WORD answer to the questions below for sake of

yet another personal development exercise. Adjust it to your role and your industry.

What are the best traits to have to become a technical writer? ***

What is work-life balance like as a technical writer? ***

What is the job prospect like outside of the lower mainland?***

What is the job prospect like in Alberta?***

Is it difficult to start straight away as a consultant technical writer (before and after certification)?Is it possible to gain experience prior to receiving certification?***

Which institution offers the best Technical Writing program in BC?***

What is the best way to receive an internship or junior technical writing role at a company?***

What is a typical day like?***

What is the typical duration of a project?***

How do you gain expertise in specific industries and with their subject matter?***

Thanks again for your time Duncan! I appreciate everything you can do to help me set my path!



Chona Canlas

Enterprise Account Specialist

There is always a way to make things simpler. *Note: the beginning of my brand

What do you guys think? Have you ever reached out to a stranger for help? How did they react?

The success of your pursuits can be measured infinitely. What will you cherish once your work is done? For myself, it will be my physical, non conceptual work and the relationships I have built along the way. Once you’ve defined what’s important to you, try to centre your FOCUS around those things. Now I’m off to Superstore…talk soon!

What Does a Technical Writer Do?

technical writer is a communicator for a company – they represent the company in words, focus on any areas that require CLEAR and SUCCINCT writing to communicate a message. They also work on CREATING and FORMATTING material so that it can be the most effective it can be.

For example, a technical writer for a communications company would cover the roles below (perhaps more later as a technical writer is flexible and can assist with other areas like research, project management and customer advocacy):

  • Creating/formatting any necessary documents (i.e.: important emails, meeting minutes, customer welcome packages, social media posts, website content etc.)
  • Developing instructions, guidelines, training material, strategies, plans
  • Creating templates, marketing packages, brochures, promotional materials, ads, presentations

Higher level roles:

  • Writing contracts, proposals, RFPs, white papers, reports, feasibility studies, reviews
  • Interviewer, trainer, organizer, facilitator, mediator
  • Visual communications strategy, information graphics and data interpretation

Another advanced role is analytics or observing and collecting data from customers that will suggest that the product and/or customer experience can be changed or improved in a way that customers would prefer or benefit from.

Established companies (think Google, Amazon, Apple) use technical writers to enhance communications to a specific audience and can help to create simplicity from anarchy while making improvements that result in increased ease of use, time savings, improved levels of customer satisfaction and other customer-centered metrics. Desirable traits of a technical writer: 

  • organized & able to multi-task
  • attention to detail; is extremely focused
  • able to portray a style and a voice 
  • team player, but also a leader
  • likable and passionate personality
  • intuitive, intelligent & innovative

These days in the communications field, you can’t get by with a one-dimensional resume. The salesperson is the content strategist is the account manager is the social media expert. So if you hear the words, “You aren’t qualified.”, make sure you let it be known – if you haven’t had time to read my blog or the captions of my Instagram posts or the reference materials I provided you, then YOU are the one missing out.

Then walk away and fling your cape. HAHA, JK.

The point for the venturer is – yes, you can have all the vigor and energy to retort back, but HOW will you organize your thoughts is a way that is LINEAR, LOGICAL & has IMPACT to the receiver?

Today’s mantra:

“What you’re doing is VALUABLE, NOT FREE.” – The Futur

Keep reading, keep watching and stay on top of your to-do lists from the bottom to the top, talk to y’all soon!