How to Become a Procedure Writer (With Relevant Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A procedure writer collaborates with management or human resources professionals to develop policy and procedure manuals to implement in a business. A career as a procedure writer can be interesting because you can work with a variety of businesses to develop their procedures and talk with different people to understand their roles. Understanding what a procedure writer does and discovering the path to this role can help you plan your future career.

In this article, we explain what a procedure writer is, detail how to become one, discuss where they work, explore their typical daily duties and list their common skills.

What is a procedure writer?

A procedure writer is a technical writer who documents business policies and procedures. They collaborate with managers and staff from different business areas to collect information about their processes. This allows a procedure writer to ensure they understand the intricacies of what each business area does. Procedure writers may write a variety of procedures, including human resource policies, code of conduct documents or more complex procedures that require a legal opinion.

Procedure writers review documentation and relevant legislation, and interview employees to conduct research into the procedures they're developing. They may also map out particular processes and seek feedback on them from the subject ‌expert before writing the document to ensure accuracy. Procedure writers compile the information from this research phase and translate it into an easily digestible procedural manual. They then present the manual to management for approval before handing over the final copy.

How to become a procedure writer

There are some prerequisites to gaining work in this field, which you can find below in a step-by-step guide on how to become a procedure writer:

1. Obtain relevant education

Most employers require procedure writers to hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant area of study as a prerequisite for employment. If a career as a procedure writer interests you, it may be a good idea to see if your preferred university offers a suitable bachelor's degree course such as a bachelor's in English and literary studies or communications. These degrees can provide you with the skills and knowledge you require to develop your reading, writing and thinking skills. You can expect a degree to take around three years to complete with a full-time commitment.

2. Gain some experience

It can be helpful to gain some experience working in a business environment, such as accounting, human resources, sales or marketing. Having experience working in these fields can be a good way to familiarise yourself with specific industry standards and may help you understand the procedures that these industries have in place. It can also be a good idea to gain some experience in writing or proofreading positions to broaden your skills in this area. You can consider checking online job boards to see if there are any content writing or proofreading jobs available that may interest you.

3. Apply for a job as a procedure writer

Once you complete your university degree and gain some experience in writing and industry standards, you can apply for a job as a procedure writer. You may choose to work for one company and only write procedures for them, or you may choose to be self-employed and contract your services out to businesses requiring the completion of smaller procedural writing projects. Whichever option you choose, it can be helpful to update your resume to ensure you have a current version, including your relevant work experience, to send to potential employers.

You can sign up for job alerts for procedure writer positions that become available.

Where does a procedure writer work?

Large organisations typically offer to employ procedure writers full-time, as these types of organisations generally have a higher demand for their skills. People in these positions often write procedural documents and policies for all areas within the organisation. Procedure writers may meet with different business units to assist with updating routine process improvements or developing processes to align with legislation changes. These positions typically offer an annual salary with superannuation and leave entitlements, along with other employee benefits.

Rather than working for a large organisation, procedure writers can also choose to be self-employed and offer their procedure writing services to multiple businesses for smaller projects. This may mean working with a new business to establish its policies and procedures or working with an existing business to improve its existing operational documents. This option typically requires you to charge either a flat rate per project or set an hourly rate for the company to pay you for the work you complete. As a self-employed contractor, your leave and superannuation contributions are your responsibility.

Related: 10 Examples of Policies and Procedures in the Workplace

Daily duties of a procedure writer

Procedure writers typically have a broad range of responsibilities as part of their role. Below, you can find some of their typical daily duties:

  • engaging with businesses to offer procedure writing services

  • developing and implementing procedural documents to meet regulatory requirements

  • consulting with lawyers where a business process is complex and has legal obligations

  • researching, reviewing and analysing policies, procedures, work instructions, forms and guidelines

  • editing existing operational documents

  • proofreading documents before submission

  • meeting with managers to receive feedback on procedural documents you have developed

  • reviewing legislation to understand business processes and requirements

  • identifying areas for improvement within the business and developing procedural documents as required

  • building and maintaining business relationships

  • mapping out business processes to ensure a clear understanding of procedures

  • interviewing process owners and subject ‌experts to understand their role within the organisation

Common skills of a procedure writer

Below you can find some of the general skills that may be useful to be a successful procedure writer:

Communication

The role of a procedure writer involves meeting with employees and management to discuss their roles and understand how their processes work. Possessing strong communication skills can be beneficial to ensure you can talk confidently and clearly. Ensuring you make eye contact while talking and paraphrasing during your conversation can be a good way to show you're listening and understand what they're explaining. You may improve your communication skills by practising active listening and paying attention to body language.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Writing

As the primary role of a procedure writer is to write policies and procedural documents, excellent writing skills can be highly important to help you succeed in this role. Knowing how to write clearly and using language that's easy to understand is the key to writing effective procedures. You may improve your writing skills by joining a writers' workshop to learn new writing skills and by reading books to broaden your vocabulary.

Attention to detail

Having good attention to detail can be a helpful skill as a procedure writer. Knowing how to proofread your work to ensure it is accurate and represents the information you receive can be important to ensure you meet the project scope. Being able to identify any errors in your documents before submitting them can also be helpful to ensure you deliver a quality product. You can improve your attention to detail skills by exercising your brain through memory games. Doing this can train your brain to focus on small details.

Related: Attention to Detail: Definition and Examples

Interpersonal

The role of a procedure writer can require you to meet with many people to help you gain information to write your procedures. Being self-aware and knowing how you interact with people and being flexible in your thinking and operating style are good examples of interpersonal skills that may make your role as a procedure writer easier. You can improve your interpersonal skills by showing genuine interest when you're talking to people and acknowledging their expertise in their industry when gathering information from them about their roles.

Related: Why Interpersonal Communication Is So Important at Work

Business process mapping

Knowing how to map out a business process can be a helpful skill to have as a procedure writer. You may wish to map out procedures before developing the policies and procedure documents to ensure you have understood the process correctly and included all the steps. A good business process map includes defining what a business entity does, who handles the process and to what standard the employee completes the process. You may improve these skills by using appropriate software to help guide your process maps or by mapping out processes you're currently familiar with.

Ability to receive feedback

To become a successful procedure writer, it's often important that you're comfortable receiving constructive feedback from people. You're likely to receive feedback on the procedural documents you develop and they may require some editing before being completed based on the feedback you receive. Being open to constructive feedback and responding positively to it can be a helpful skill. You may choose to develop this skill by listening to feedback, not taking it personally and being prompt with any edits you make to a document following receiving feedback.

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