RE. Am I employable?

Subject: RE. Am I employable?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 09:19:14 -0500

Tom described his skills (BA in Technical Writing, computer skills,
maintains a website, good writer, an all-around great guy) and wondered
<<Here are some "problem areas": My resume is terrible. It's old, has
nothing but coursework and
unrelated experience on it.>>

Then the first thing you need to do to demonstrate that you're really a good
writer is to rewrite your resume. Focus on your skills (writing, web design,
computer knowledge) and provide examples. If you can't provide examples from
actual work, coursework and your Web site will do as a start until you build
a portfolio. Have a look at the techwr-l archives under "portfolio",
"getting started", etc. and you'll find a wealth of information.

<<I don't really know the tools. FrameMaker? Ack. Word? Haven't messed
with a Microsoft product in a while...>>

There's an ongoing debate here and elsewhere about whether it's more
important to know how to write or how to use a specific tool. I come down
heavily on the "know how to write" side, but acknowledge that there are
enough people on the other side of the great divide that you'd be foolish to
try to get a job without knowing Word, Frame, or both. The good news is that
you can get a free demo version of Frame from Adobe; combine that with a few
bucks spent on Adobe's "Framemaker Classroom in a Book" and you'll basically
have the skills you need to apply as an entry-level writer. I don't know
whether Word is available as a semi-disabled demo, but since it comes with
just about any computer now sold, that shouldn't be a problem. And if you're
a student, you should be able to buy a copy at a steep educational discount.
It's going to cost you a few bucks, but think of this as an investment in
your future. What good is a carpenter without a saw or even a sharp knife?
(Yes, that's Frame and Word, respectively. <g>)

<<The skills I have, I can't easily define.>>

Hmmm... you sure you're a good writer? <g> Think of it this way: can you
explain complicated things to someone else? Design an easy-to-navigate web
site? Write clear text? Apply paragraph styles in Word and Frame? Each of
those is a skill. Do some "no editing" brainstorming to list all the things
you can do with words, then rank them in order of importance (or group
related topics). Compile into a 1-page resume, and you've just proven you
really are a good writer.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Hofstadter's Law: The time and effort required to complete a project are
always more than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's

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