RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)

Subject: RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)
From: "Steve Arrants" <steve_arrants -at- sonic -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 10:34:37 -0700

I was interviewing for a job a few years ago. One of the requirements was
Visio knowledge, which I didn't have. The interviewer loved my portfolio,
solutions for "problem" scenarios, and my personality. But....I didn't have
Visio knowledge. I asked her if I would be documenting their products or

I didn't get the contract, but that company's blind obedience to a checklist
of qualifications always stuck with me. At a local STC meeting a few months
later I met the writer who got the contract. I asked some questions--turns
out that her main use of Visio was to convert native Visio diagrams into
another format.

When asked about a tool that I've not used, I don't say that I don't know it
anymore. I don't lie; I just say that I'm familiar with what it does and
the concepts. In my 16 or so years writing, I'd say that 95% of the tools
we use do similar things--they either process text, work with numbers,
create or modify graphics, etc. The other 5% are so specialized that
most--not all, but most--employers will train you. Employers who are more
interested in you hitting every tool on their checklist than your
demonstrated ability to take complex information and change it into good
writing have more problems that you want to deal with.

steve arrants Certified Cruelty Free
"The dream was marvelous, but the terror was great.
We must treasure the dream, whatever the terror."


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Re: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer): From: Andrew Plato

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