Re: portfolio questions

Subject: Re: portfolio questions
From: "Lisa Wright" <liwright -at- rmi -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000 13:21:11 -0700

R Greenberg wrote:
> Is it reasonable to
> just use them anyway, without permission?

You need to consider a couple of things: is the subject proprietary and/or
confidential? Could anyone gain a competitive advantage over your current
company? Perhaps more importantly, would your current company *perceive*
that their confidentiality has been violated if they found out?

I believe it's very important for your future employers, particularly if you
are going into contracting, to believe that you are a trustworthy
individual. Why would they hire you if you're just going to turn around and
show confidential information to the next company you interview with? They
will understand if you can't show them actual manuals. I've used the
following techniques to demonstrate the breadth of my experience without
violating anyone's trust:

1. Include the table of contents for lengthy documents. Explain to the
person reviewing your work that you can't show them the manual itself
because that would violate the terms of your employment/contract.
2. Select individual pages from the manuals and include them. Make sure
there is nothing confidential in the content (e.g., IP addresses or
3. Do include in their entirety things that are clearly not proprietary,
e.g., I use instructions I've written for getting around some of MS Word's
more unstable functionality.
4. If you include content that may be proprietary, explain to the person
that they can look at it but not have copies.
5. If you are required to provide copies to someone, rather than them simply
reviewing a notebook, BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you don't include anything
that could bite you back later.

> However, I would like to show the entirety of each
> piece because I want to show structure and
> organization as well as the writing itself.

I've never run into this particular need, but I'd think one of the samples
you refer to should be sufficient to give them an idea about what you can

Hope that helps.
Lisa Wright
Technical Writer
LiWright -at- rmi -dot- net

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