RE: portfolio questions

Subject: RE: portfolio questions
From: "Carnall, Jane" <Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 10:44:47 -0000

>>I have found this thread to be fascinating. I also realized that I do not
have an updated portfolio. 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.<<

Invent one. Pick out bits you can use as writing samples: you don't need the
complete manual. If you don't write print documentation, you may well still
write *something*, which can be taken along. (If you do online help,
consider producing a special "limited" version of your help file to be
available on floppy disk. You shouldn't send this out, but you can produce
it and explain the limitations if asked.)

>>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? <<

Sometimes. And when I don't, I usually wish I had.

>> 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)? Do I "reedit" it and
display that? <<

If you feel that the editing has disimproved your writing, you might want to
produce a page of your original work to prove that the spelling errors and
grammatical mistakes were introduced by someone else. Or mark up the page
the way *you* would have edited it - thus demonstrating that you know how to
edit your own work.

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

It's a perfectly good answer! ("That's house style" is perhaps a better one,
if your boss has consistent opinions.)

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.

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