RE: A cautionary tale.

Subject: RE: A cautionary tale.
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 16:36:38 -0000

>> Before any interview, the agency contact
said that people at the firm wanted to see
a portfolio. Normally this would happen at
an interview, I would have thought, and I
only had two copies of a portfolio, so I
was loathe to just send one off. I've rarely
worked for companies where the documentation
was printed, and so only had 2 professionally-
bound manuals to show off. Against my better
judgement, I mailed off a copy to them.<<

Same thing happened to me a while ago (and like you, I didn't get the job -
it turned out the company's alternate prospect was a man who had no previous
experience of technical writing but who was a close personal friend of the
CEO's, so they put me through (a) inspection of portfolio (b)
writing/editing test (c) gruelling three-hour interview during which my
portfolio and the test were both extensively discussed... and then guess who
they hired?) Anyway, they wanted to see an example of my printed work, so I
took the only copies I had of the only example manual I had in hardcopy
format, to the agency, handed them over in person to the agency
representative who'd been talking to me, and said that they were my only
copies and that I would hold the agency responsible for their safe return.

I hate to sound smug, but... I got them back. (By registered post, which
would have been my alternate means of sending them to the agency if I hadn't
been able to just walk over.) I'm not saying it would inevitably have
worked, either in your case or in mine, but I think that if you're handing
over actual documents, making the agency responsible for getting them back
(and making it clear to the agency that they're very important to you) does
slant the odds in your favour. After all, if you don't get the job, the
company has no relationship with you at all. But it must have some
relationship with the agency, even if a short-term one, and the agency
presumably hopes for a long-term relationship with you.

Anyway. Not a lot of help now. Go home and kick your Catbert. Oops, did I
say that out loud?

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Digital Bridges, Scotland
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone. Apologies
for the long additional sig: it is added automatically and outwith my


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A cautionary tale.: From: Paul Moloney

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