By Maggie Schneider Huston-Oracle on May 06, 2015
Look, we get it- you think you can write. You write obnoxiously long messages on birthday cards. You post your away message as “word smithin.” You may even spit some sick rhymes on the weekends. But before you craft your cover letter in iambic pentameter, read a day in Alyssa Jackson’s life…
What do you do?
I’m responsible for all of the copy that appears in the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform, as well as all the help articles and customer communications about the platform. That means error messages, emails to our customers, help docs… if it is the written word, it (mostly) came from me.
How did you get started?
I previously worked for a children’s electronics company as an Assistant Product Manager, which mostly involved writing Quick Start Guides for our products. That’s really how I learned to write well for customers - writing for an 8 year old audience will teach you really quickly how to be concise and clear. I was an English major in college, so don’t let anyone tell you that’s a pointless degree!
What are some writing guidelines you follow?
I try to keep it simple - use as few words as I can, while still giving detail and context. We are working in social media, so I like to keep our tone conversational. We want to sound relaxed and easy-going, because that’s the kind of people our customers are.
This sounds straightforward, but gets a bit more difficult when you’re trying to explain a very complicated technical idea. In a way, I’m acting as a filter between the engineers and our customers. I do this by breaking complex ideas into smaller chunks, using regular language, and posting lots of screenshots. Business-speak is the devil! At the end of the day, keeping my customer in the front of mind keeps my writing tight.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Definitely juggling all of the requests that come in. I’m technically a member of all of the Oracle Social scrum teams, so I get a lot on my plate.
How do you stay focused?
Noise canceling headphones and Spotify. Peppy music keeps my energy up and my emotions in the “happy customer” place. Currently, I’m listening to "Make You Better" by the Decemberists... and Taylor Swift. <laughs> I’m like an onion, I have many layers.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I really like working directly on the platform and being the customer’s representative. I’m not a coder. I’ve worked on the platform for four years, but I’m still a fairly non-technical person. I’m not afraid to speak up when I think things are confusing. A lot of software companies don’t use technical writers, but at Oracle Social I get to work with the engineers and our creative team directly to design software that is intuitive, so our customers won’t need to go to the help files.
Still think you have what it takes? Apply at Oracle.com/Careers