RE: Is TW Still Hospitable to Novices? A Dilemma

Subject: RE: Is TW Still Hospitable to Novices? A Dilemma
From: "Richard Smith" <Richard -dot- Smith -at- windriver -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2001 12:09:57 -0800


> A friend of mine, having heard & read many testimonials about people like
> himself (computer literate with liberal arts background) breaking into
> tech writing, was inspired to take a run at becoming a T-Writer.

Yes, it can be discouraging, but it does happen. That story described me not
so long ago. For many HR departments, the door closes without experience. In
addition, most employers usually look for a portfolio. I suspect most places
wont hire without a portfolio, or at least some writing sample. He can begin
a portfolio even without full-time paid experience. It is probably a
familiar refrain, but there are plenty of places to volunteer some TW
services. The vast open source world is a great place to get some
experience.

So here is my advice.
Get a foot in the way before the HR door closes. Enroll in the TW
certificate program. HRs job is to find qualified people, a certificate
(even one in progress) is a level of qualification. Maybe not ideal, but it
is something. An IT degree does not represent TW experience/qualification.

Do some related work. Volunteer services somewhere. Find a project that
needs some doc/help work and deliver. Dont just write something, tee it up
and smack it out of the park! A portfolio of even one good piece will get
more mileage than nothing at all.

Realize that many hires based on less tangible, and less quantifiable
aspects than tool skills and years of experience. You probably need the
above two to get an interview, but you still need to convince the hiring
manager to hire you.

Tell him to hustle for a job now. An up market is the best time to
transition to another career (At least it is still up in my part of the
world).


Richard Smith


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