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

Subject: RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)
From: "Swallow, William" <WSwallow -at- courion -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 16:01:53 -0400

:: "Don't forget that ads are a wish list.

I have to agree here as well. (Oh no, the "tool man" is rambling about why
tools are not end-all job-getters... someone get the straight jacket!)

I got my first Help authoring job (2nd job out of college, first was
typesetter) after answering an ad for a SENIOR TECHNICAL WRITER. I was
supposed to be a candidate with 6-8 years' experience, and specific
experience in WORD, DOC-2-HELP, and ideally with hands-on PeopleSoft and
Oracle experience. Needless to say, I had Word down cold by that point. *g*

So, they got my resume, called me, and said (to paraphrase) "Are you # -at- $&ing
nuts?!? You can't be a senior writer! But... we do have this Junior Help
Author position open... you interested?"

And the rest is history... well, it'd qualify as history in dog years. *g*
That was all of 5 or so years ago.

Anyhow, my point is that people trying to break into the field should NEVER
get discouraged when seeing ads that exceed their current experience. Answer
them, and for cripes sake, be honest! None of this "Yes, I know that tool.
It's a long-time friend of the family" crap if you don't know it. I never
had to stoop that low, and I wouldn't tolerate working with someone who did.
If you say you know WhooptieDoo2000, then you'd better be able to use it
when you get hired. Be honest and relate experience to what you DO know.
"No, I don't know FrameMaker, but I have worked with various related desktop
publishing and information management utilities. If you like I can make it a
point to learn the tool prior to my start date, if considered for the

So, all foam and spittle aside, my point is to not get discouraged, apply to
any and all ads that suit your fancy, and be honest. You'll like the
results. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some padded walls to bounce off.


Technical Writer
1881 Worcester Road
Framingham, Mass. 01701
T E L * 508-879-8400 x316
F A X * 508-879-8500


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