RE: Employment Websites

Subject: RE: Employment Websites
From: Chuck Martin <CMartin -at- serena -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 10:19:39 -0800

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christian, Peter [mailto:PACf -at- pge -dot- com]
> Sent: Friday, January 28, 2000 1:21 PM
> Subject: RE: Employment Websites
> no question about it. I got a job within three weeks of
> posting, and still
> get calls based on my posting, from 18 months ago.
> Most of your calls will be from contracting agencies - but I
> like that. It
> allows me to bypass HR.
A contrary point of view.

When I posted a resume on DICE last summer, I had some very specific
qualifications that described what I can do and what I sought. Those
included the job focus (end-user docs, usability and GUI design, and so on)
and the location (near San Francisco--and I was clear to define "near" as
not including places such as the East Bay or South Bay (Oakland, Pleasanton,
and Fremont; and San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara for those not familiar
with Bay Area geography).

Countless clueless recruiters contacted me with positions they called "great
fits." They then would describe positions for an API writer, or writing for
corporate developers. Or they'd say this great job is "just" in Mountain
View. (For the geographically uninformed, Mountain View is about 30-40 miles
away, but an average of 1 1/2 hours of Bay Area travelling time each way on

I got so tired of recruiters who were so hard up for commissions that they
totally ignored their customers' (users') needs. Many of these people were
with companies that did not specialize in technical writers, and so had
recruiters who were not familiar with the vernacular of the field and who
had no clue about what a competent technical communicator can contribute to
a project team.

One listing I got had a bunch of requirements, mostly for specific tools,
with some programming languages. When I got done reading the email, I almost
(and I was oh! so tempted) replied by saying "Yeah, all knowing all those
tools is great; do you want someone who also knows how to write?"

Then there's the web site (I forget the URL) that harvests resumes posted on
other sites and charges recruiters to view those resumes. Even though I've
not been looking for more than 6 months, even though I haven't posted a
resume in at least that time, I'm still getting calls from recruiters who
have seen my information there (it's quite outdated too). This particular
web site claims they can do this because, once I post my resume somewhere,
it's publicly available information. I can't argue that, but I do note the
ethics of the situation: taking information from where it was intended to
be, putting it somewhere else (any perhaps implying that it is original),
and charging others to view it.

Perhaps this comes from blind loyalty, but I have had tremendous success
over the years with a local (Bay Area) recruiter who was once a technical
writer, who knows the field, who takes the time to know his clients, and who
tries to make matches that fit the clients desires as well as companies'
needs. Andrew Davis runs Synergistech Communications (
Synergistech has listings of Bay Area contract and staff positions (you do
have to register to get access, but registration is free. It's just that the
listings are password protected. And there's also a mailing list so you can
get listing in email as soon as they are available.

Still, it doesn't typically mean that HR is bypasses because too many HR
departments are the ones releasing job descriptions. But with Suynergistech,
because Andrew was a technical writer himself for so long, he has plenty of
contacts, and many managers will initially contact him directly. As a
result, job descriptions can be much more accurate.

Chuck Martin
Sr. Technical Writer, SERENA Software

"People who use business software might despise it, but they are getting
paid to tolerate it....Most people who are paid to use a tool feel
constrained not to complain about that tool, but it doesn't stop them from
feeling frustrated and unhappy about it."
- "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"
Alan Cooper

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