With a Masters in Technical Writing and a Master of Fine Arts in poetry, Michael Laughter, a member of the Tech Communications Center, helps Tech students master the art of resume writing. Understanding the difficulty of technical communication, Laughter hopes his advice will help land students the perfect job.
“The reason I always wanted to teach technical communication was because it was something people could immediately go out the door and use, and when used wisely, it would always help. I liked the relevance and the immediate application of it,” Laughter said. “And because I worked so very hard on the psychology of it and my class materials, I could also give them a personal guarantee that they would walk out the door and use this information.”
Although Laughter majored in poetry, he also understands the importance of technical writing in the business realm.
“I’m a good writer, but I’m interested in technical writing because it, at its heart, affected business communication. We all spend our lives in business, and so I have seen communication succeed and fail, and what I wanted to do was figure out a way to show other people how to make it succeed,” said Laughter.
Citing Richard Blanco, the reader for Barack Obama’s second inauguration, as his favorite poet of the moment, Laughter describes his current job as “dynamic,” “fully-developed” and “value-added.” Laughter also describes a typical workday as anything but monotonous.
“I have formal appointments, and I have students stopping me on campus; it’s not unusual for me to be standing looking at somebody’s phone or their iPod at a document that they have,” Laughter said.
He also adds, “It’s not unusual for me to be stopped and sat down on a bench and to talk to them as well. I think a lot of times the best help that I have given to people is when I have only talked to them for less than two minutes.”
Even though he “gets bored hearing himself talk,” Laughter constantly reminds himself that students greatly improve their technical communication skills by listening to and applying his advice.
After all, Laughter says, “I am [giving tips] to someone different, so I have to keep reminding myself of that.”
Viewing the Career Center as a pivotal resource on Tech’s campus, Laughter feels the academic enrichment resources present students with valuable information.
“You have got a great education and a great environment at Tech. [The Career Center] gives you a little bit something extra. I lived in New Orleans for a number of years, and there is a French word that we use quite often: “lagniappe,” said Laughter. “It means a little something extra, and it has nice connotation. What we do here at the Career Center and what I do here is provide “lagniappe.”
Laughter encourages students to use all the resources available on-campus for academic enrichment and career services.
By putting a detailed skills sections and a complete bulleted list under work experience, Laughter also feels students can easily improve their resumes.
“I think I’m only just one of a number of people on this campus who are here to help. You should tap your resources, you should always ask questions, and you should not be afraid to stop somebody on campus and ask,” instructed Laughter.
Regardless of their major, Tech students can easily benefit from Laughter’s expertise.
“Everybody has trouble with communication whether you are an engineer or not. I think a lot of times if you can show people that it’s nothing more than examining your audience, then you will be able to figure out what their motivation will be, and then you can give them what they want,” Laughter said. “That’s satisfaction all the way around.”
Laughter also views the current job market in a positive light despite the 2008 economic downturn. Moreover, he views the advancement of technology as a job creation force.
“I think jobs are better then what they’ve been in five or six years. What’s really interesting is that there are a lot of new type jobs, a lot of data-driven jobs, and also a lot of communication-related jobs,” Laughter said.
Even though he professes to liking poetry because “he is good at it,” Laughter seems ultimately satisfied with his current career choice in the technical communications field.