RE: portfolio again - clarification

Subject: RE: portfolio again - clarification
From: salatas <salatas -at- micron -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 08:15:24 -0700

Tom Murrell wrote:

>It seems to me to be too easy for someone to pass of work as theirs when
they may not have done anything in the document.

>Has anyone else had this experience?

Yes, Tom, I have, and it's one of the reasons I like to have a little more
time with the writing samples. Personally, I don't even care if the writing
samples I get to review in detail are even software-related. I'll look at
the web page you set up for the PTA, or an article on beer brewing. As of
today, an overwhelming 67.57% of respondents to the TECHWR-L poll have
indicated that writing skills are the "single most important skill set for
technical writers to have," and I agree. I don't have any better way to
judge writing skills than to actually read the samples.

We had a candidate for a contractor position send us a link to a web site
where he had some samples posted. (I like that kind of portfolio.) Two of
the samples were business memos, and one was an elaborate HTML manual. Maybe
it was the way that the samples didn't look like they were written by the
same person. Maybe it was the way that this candidate's resume experience
didn't seem to include the skills or experience necessary to produce the
HTML manual. Maybe it was the way the HTML manual looked like it needed a
table of contents that it didn't have. Maybe it was the fact that I have
teenagers at home and am used to being lied to. Something about that manual
made me suspicious.

Anyway, I copied a sentence from the middle of the document, and pasted the
sentence into a search engine. I found the exact same manual, word for word,
graphic for graphic. The manual I found had a table of contents, a
copyright, and an acknowledgement page that thanked everyone who got near
this project, including the administrative assistant. But there was no
mention of our candidate.

Needless to say, this candidate not only discredited himself, but his agency
as well.

Salette Latas
salatas -at- micron -dot- com

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