TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Portfolio tip for TW-wannabies -WAS Average Length of TW Resume
Subject:Portfolio tip for TW-wannabies -WAS Average Length of TW Resume From:Stanley Smith <smith -at- tdk -dot- dk> To:"'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Sat, 1 Apr 2000 09:52:14 +0200
Scottie Lover wrote:
>"...Under those circumstances, wouldn't it be possible to write something
>highlighting your best writing? It wouldn't matter if it were directions
>for boiling water; the point is that it be something that you feel shows
>off your best efforts...
I would caution the tech writer wannabe about the type of writing samples to
present at an interveiw. -- It does matter what you write about!
When I was trying to break into the field , I had had no formal writing
education or experience. I researched the field and profession of technical
writing for almost a year before I decided to send my first application
(finishing an MA in a different discipline left no time for anything else).
I had read that bringing a how-to writing sample - on anything - to the
interveiw was a good idea.
After interveiwing for several technical writing positions, and presenting
my sample of How to Operate my Washing Machine, I feel now that I wasn't
taken seriously, and therefore lost a few 'brownie points' in the interview.
Needless to say, I didn't get those jobs. This may be because the
enterveiwers may not have been writers themselves, thus failing to look
further than the title of the writing sample. Many technical writing
positions call for lone writers in positions with no centralized writing
dept. or group or even direction.
Tip: Get some REAL experience in technical writing first -- VOLUNTEER. If
you can't do that, then find something technical and SERIOUS to write about
on your own..
My two cents.
Technical Writer Wannabe
Subject: RE: Average Length of TW Resume
From: Scottie Lover <iluvscotties -at- mindspring -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 07:48:11 -0500
At 07:11 AM 03/30/2000 -0500, Win Day wrote:
>>... show a portfolio of samples to demonstrate our skills and
>Ah, but some of us can't do that. The material I
>write for almost all of my clients is proprietary...
Under those circumstances, wouldn't it be possible to write something
highlighting your best writing? It wouldn't matter if it were directions
for boiling water; the point is that it be something that you feel shows
off your best efforts. That would enable you to show SOMETHING to
prospective employers, to whom you could explain that your professional
writings all contain proprietary information which you obviously cannot
show anyone else.
Even better, perhaps you could volunteer to do some form of technical
writing for your church, temple, or charitable organization (or write an
article for publication).
The point is that any of these options would at least give you a sample to
show, and your explanation about proprietary information would clearly
demonstrate why other samples weren't available.
(The Scottish Terrier Lover)
Tele Danmark IT * Teglholmsgade 1 B-307 * DK-0900 København C
E-mail: smith -at- tdk -dot- dk * Phone: + 45 33 83 44 36 * Fax: + 45 33 20 17 01
When all else fails, read the manual. If that doesn't work, do what it says.