RE: portfolio questions

Subject: RE: portfolio questions
From: Kat Nagel <katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net>
To: "Sharon Deitch" <Sharon -at- eshbel -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 10:09:50 -0500

At 03:16 PM 03/15/2000 +0200, Sharon Deitch wrote:

I have some thoughts and questions for the more experienced people on
portfolio building. While you're working at your current job, do you think
about and plan your portfolio for the future?

Of course. As a freelancer, I make sure my contract includes a clause giving me at least one copy of the final document and permission to use it in my portfolio.

Where confidentiality agreements prevent using the whole document, I am usually able to negotiate the right to use a specified portion of the document. For manuals and training materials, the cover and TOC and a sample chapter, suitably bowdlerized to remove sensitive material but with all company logos, etc. For shorter documents, a copy with sensitive text blurred out. The only recent contracts where I wasn't able to do that involved (a) a series of business strategy documents for an IT division, and (b) patent-related materials for a client of a technology and intellectual property law practice.

Also, the writing that
appears in our final documentation is edited work. I'm assuming this is
true for many of us. So, do I display the final work and explain that it
has been edited (sometimes I don't like the editing)?

Why not show your original submission and the final edited publication, point out the differences, and explain what you didn't like about the editing.

Do I "reedit" it and
display that?


If an interviewer questioned me on phrasing, the answer very
well could be "My boss wanted it that way." Not a very good answer.

On the contrary---an *excellent* answer. It lets the interviewer know that you are both competent (assuming you show before and after drafts) and a team player. Nothing wrong with that.

The software I documented at my previous (and
first) job turned into vaporware, and the manual was never finished, let
alone printed. At my current (second) job, I don't write print
documentation at all. So, with two years experience under my belt, I don't
actually have a professional portfolio.

Well, for the vaporware project, did you actually write anything? If so, include it. As for the non-print stuff, who said portfolios have to be all printed material. Include online stuff on CD, or print out a couple of help topics or pages of a web site, and talk about it.

Good luck!
Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting Services
katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net

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