Re: annotated portfolio for new writers

Subject: Re: annotated portfolio for new writers
From: "S Ryan" <sryan -at- sryan -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 19:37:14 -0700

+AD4- Rachel writes:
+AD4- Does anyone have any suggestions for how I may overcome this issue.
+AD4- ---------------------------
+AD4- And Sean replies:
+AD4- Mmm, that's rough. But if you explain to your interviewers that your work
+AD4-was proprietary, they'll understand. You might want to create some samples
+AD4-though so you have +AF8-something+AF8- to show. Also, for the future, be sure to
+AD4-ask your future employers if you can have a copy of your work for your
+AD4-portfolio. They don't seem to mind, but then again, I'm only basing that
off of +AD4-my experience with two companies.

S Ryan, who is not Rachel, responds:

Actually, I have had quite the opposite response to the proprietary
explanation. On several occasions, I have had prospective employers
practically insist that I send them electronic copies of portfolio pieces.
When I politely decline, pointing out the intellectual property issues,
that's the last I ever hear from them. However, I don't view this as a Bad
Thing. It is simply a filter for people I might not want to work with. After
all, if they don't respect these issues before the interview, what are they
going to be like if I should be so foolish to work for them? Fortunately,
I've never had to find out.

As for Rachel's issue, creating some samples seems like the way to go right
now. You might consider making one of these a procedural piece on some part
of the documentation process. For example, you might document the best
production process you've used. You can go through the process for removing
unused art, generating help, distiller settings, whatever. This not only
provides a procedural sample, it also shows that you know something about
the production process. An added bonus is that it also impresses the hell
out of folks who know nothing about the how pubs works. And I second Sean's
suggestion regarding asking future employers.

Another, longer-term approach is to write articles for various
The trade press is good if you're a technical technical writer. Various STC
pubs are good if you have expertise there. Darren Barefoot and Geoff Hart do
a lot of very useful articles in STC publications such as Intercom. Even
pieces that are unrelated to technology and tech pubs can be good. Whatever
your hobby is, you can probably find an outlet. Use those clips.
Interviewers are frequently impressed with my journo clips, even though they
are a few years old by now. Do keep in mind that many of these publications
don't pay much. But it's something, and it does provide clips you are free
to show to anyone.

Hang in there.

S Ryan
Writer +ACY- Editor
+ACI-Niente senza gioia+ACI-
sryan at sryan dot com

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