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I'm in much the same position, except my entry level writer started last
week. I did not ask for tool knowledge either, but instead focused on a
science degree, which we have found to be an absolute requirement for
writers working here. Her responsibility will be production and quality
documentation. I handle the technical, customer literature. I would like her
to redesign the templates after a month or two, which I regard as an
excellent way to force you to think about document structure and to learn
the tool. (Word, in her case, and not without help from me)
Now that she is here, I've had her spend most of last week in production,
meeting everyone and learning how we actually produce our product. She has
also learned how orders come in and are shipped out. This week, she is
learning to use the product and has been given the task of editing an
on-line help system for an internal product that she will have to use. Next
step is to make small changes to a production procedure that has been
flagged as out-of-date by an internal audit. This will introduce her to:
 researching the procedure herself, not relying on the notations from the
 writing the procedures
 re-writing the many sections that are third person passive into second
 handling change in the company through engineering change orders.
She will be working with production to develop new assembly procedures from
the beginning. She will also be my backup (as I will be hers) and must learn
how I organize my files so she can print/edit something if I am not here.
Lastly, I expect her to subscribe to techwhr-l and a Word email list. We
talk about what is discussed on the list and how it applies to our company,
or what the current trends are in either technology or practice. I regard
myself as a lead technical writer - the person who interfaces with
management and is a resource on company style, but not a superior.
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
From: Smith, Martin [mailto:martin -dot- smith -at- encorp -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2001 5:56 PM
Subject: Hiring an entry-level writer
I was wondering what kind of advice others on the list might want to offer
when it comes to recruiting entry-level writers, as well as helping them to
succeed once on the job.
Martin R Smith
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