Why hire me?

"Help desk, this is Nicole, how can I help you?"

"Hi, my registers didn't send my sales for yesterday to my back office computer. Can you tell me how to enter them?"

"Sure, that's no problem. But just so you're aware, the building across the street from our offices burned down last night. We have no power and we could be evacuated at any time. So if we get disconnected, that's probably why."

My first job out of college was working at a help desk. Every day, people at the world's most famous fast food restaurant called about problems with their back office computers. I walked people through troubleshooting both hardware and software problems—without being able to see what they were doing. It's pretty easy to tell someone to turn their monitor off and back on, but it's trickier to help a panicked manager whose store is down during the lunch rush. Some callers were total newbies, and others had a pretty good handle on what was going on. I quickly learned how to get a feel for who I was talking to and what level of information they could handle. When you're on the help desk, you don't want to talk down to someone who knows as much as you do, but you also don't want to fly right over the head of someone who called because they don't know what to do.

I also took on a couple of special projects at the help desk: writing training manuals, and writing the office newsletter. I learned that I had a knack for explaining complicated topics in clear and direct language. I carried that knowledge with me to my next job, where I worked as a temporary writer at a health insurance company.

My next job was at the local library, where I trained volunteers on how to use the library's computer system. After my family moved, I worked for several years at a retail business. In addition to doing desktop support, I also learned how to do marketing writing there, including email newsletters. My goal was to increase my open rate and click-through rate each month, and I often succeeded.

After a few years in retail, I was ready to take on a new challenge. I took some online classes in web development, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. I got a job at the North Dakota State University Libraries as a web developer. My first task was to move their outdated WordPress site to a new CMS. I launched a new Drupal site within six months. A couple of months after that, the library dean created a marketing department and put me in charge of it. I left NDSU in 2014, and since then I have worked as a freelance writer and web developer.

Since the beginning of my career, I have been called on to handle many different IT problems, and to explain them to other people. If you need someone to tell your customers about your IT product or service, I can put this experience to work for you.