RE: Portfolio vs- writing samples

Subject: RE: Portfolio vs- writing samples
From: Lynn Perry <LynnP -at- networkcommerce -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 12:38:32 -0700

David Downing writes:
Whatever you give your prospective employer to look at, make sure it's
package nicely. I blew an internship by submitting a set of samples stuffed
into an envelope (although I suspect they already didn't like me).

I never "give" prospective employers my samples unless it's a released doc
(that is, released with the software/product/etc.). My documents are my
bread, butter, and jam, not to mention all other foodstuffs. I might post a
few small samples online, and maybe I'm paranoid, but unless it's a released
doc (that is, generally acquirable by anyone) I don't give it out. Someone
can view it while I am interviewing, but I don't leave documentation with
prospective employers.

On a related subject:

John Posada writes:
>How do you know when something is suitable to be included in a

This is very touchy. Yes, I have gone to the printer many times, though my
comment tends to be more like "I do *such* good work." :-j So what do I do
with confidential material? I don't show it. I may keep it in my set of
samples, but I do not let prospective employers see it. If I can change the
item and retain its glory, I will do so. However, I do sign non-disclosures,
and I suspect many of us are governed by them, explicit or not. I've bent
the rule a bit in this way, though: if the company has gone out of business,
I am free to use the document, even if it was confidential to the company.
If there are legal ramifications to this, I'd be interested in hearing them.
I can't see how I'd be bound by a non-disclosure agreement with a company
that no longer exists.

On an even more related subject: determining suitability. My criteria are
~ the document looks really good
~ the content reflects a specific ability that I'm touting (usually for a
particular interview)
~ the writing is excellent (or at least good)
~ the document shows me off well (I love hearing folks go "oooo")
~ I remember the project the document represents and liked it

Don't use stuff you don't like. Always get copies of any printed docs you
create (I consider this part of my compensation as an employee, contract or


C. Lynn Perry --- Senior Technical Writer lynnp -at- networkcommerce -dot- com
Great companies deserve great documentation
Network Commerce Inc. (NASDAQ: NWKC) 206.652.3139
411 First Avenue South, Suite 200N Seattle, WA 98104

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