Name: Courtney Ginder
College and Majors/Minors: Purdue University, Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing, Bachelor of Science in Psychological Sciences
Current Location: Noblesville, Indiana
Current Form of Employment: Content Manager at LHP Telematics
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I currently work for LHP Telematics as the Content Manager. I’m responsible for writing all product documentation, both user guides that are customer-facing and internal documentation, such as work instructions for our warehouse. I’m also responsible for designing and writing marketing materials, such as flyers, press releases, and brochures. I also manage our company social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, as well as write our e-newsletter that goes out twice a month. I manage the company website and make sure that all the information on the website is up-to-date and relevant, and I blog about our products and services and relevant industry news. Finally, I have some testing and support roles for our web portal – I test all of our new portal version releases for usability purposes, and I also provide web portal support for our customers.
LHP Telematics is a heavy equipment remote monitoring company, founded in 2008. When I was hired, I was the first technical writer and as such, was able to design our standard documentation formats. When I moved into the role of Content Manager as I began taking on more marketing tasks and took over our online marketing strategies, I successfully tripled the traffic to our website, as well as grew our social media presence and started an email newsletter.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
I found my job at LHP Telematics by attending Industrial Roundtable, which the engineering and technology career fair held every year in the fall at my alma mater, Purdue University. It may seem strange to hear an English major say she found her job at an engineering fair, but I knew I wanted to pursue technical writing, so the companies I wanted to work for were not going to be at fairs held by the College of Liberal Arts (which is where my major, Professional Writing, is housed within the Department of English). I marketed myself as a strong technical writer with a unique perspective on usability since I also double-majored in Psychological Sciences. That marketing strategy worked, and I was hired as LHP Telematics’ first technical writer.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
I had an internship with Ovar’Coming Together, Indiana’s only non-profit for ovarian cancer patients and survivors, during the fall of my senior year. During my internship, I focused on research on survivor resources around Indiana, and designed the survivor resource handout that is used in the HOPE Packets given out to ovarian cancer survivors. This internship helped me grow my design skills, which in turn helped me design the documentation formats in my job at LHP Telematics. It also gave me some insights into the world of nonprofits, which ties into my role as Publicity Chair in my community chapter of the international service organization Epsilon Sigma Alpha.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
One of the things I loved about my Professional Writing major was that the classes provided a lot of outside-the-classroom experiences. My Research in Professional Writing class worked with a food bank in Lafayette, Indiana to create a needs assessment and design a newsletter for them. In my Multimedia Writing class, we helped redesign a local coffeehouse’s website, while my Advanced Professional Writing class was responsible for the user experience of the Spring Writing Showcase. Even though I only had the one internship, I had a lot of work that I did for real clients and events through my Professional Writing classes, which really helped build up my portfolio.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
Don’t be afraid to take chances and reach out to different companies. When I originally talked to my now-employer, they weren’t sure they needed a technical writer, but here I am, a year and a half later! Also, own what you’re passionate about – I actually like to write technical documentation, which sets me a part from a lot of other people, simply because it’s something a lot of people just don’t like doing.