RE: Out of Work Tech Writers

Subject: RE: Out of Work Tech Writers
From: "Wilcox, Rose (ZB5646)" <Rose -dot- Wilcox -at- pinnaclewest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 11:19:09 -0700

Where are you looking and what are you looking for?
I've seen about 10 jobs in NYC within the past 2 weeks
alone... Some were instructional design, some web
development, some tech writing, some training...

That doesn't seem a lot for a metro area such as NYC.

We have had a handful here in Phoenix Arizona too. However, there are so
many out of work technical writers that the jobs can afford to be extremely
picky. They are deluged with resumes. I am theorizing that things that
didn't used to count against me, might now. For instance, I have been an
on-site contracting tech writer for 18 years so I have a ton of jobs. My
resume could get tossed into the "don't even look at heap" because of the
length or because I change jobs too often (every couple of years generally,
although I have a few 90 day gigs in there). Also I am currently on a
contract and my end date keeps being pushed into the future (thank
goodness), so I can't always give 2 weeks notice. I have also noticed
hiring decisions often stall during the summer month due to vacations... the
hiring manager, the hiring manager's boss, and the HR department all can
affect moving on interviewing, let alone hiring.

I also see that the ads ask for specific experience, recent experience, and
often for an odd mélange of experience.

For instance, as a contract technical writer of 18 years, I have great
experience. I also have a degree in instructional design, some good solid
HTML experience, and a smidgeon of training experience. However, the
training jobs all want SOLID trainers with X amount of experience, people
not just with instructional design education but with that plus x amount of
years, etc.

Luckily, they seem to want to keep me here, but I feel for those who are out
there and may soon be one. I have a handful of tech writer friends
hereabouts who are top notch people who are struggling to find something.
Although I have weathered a few recessions in my 18 year career, I have
never seen it like this.

I am trying to study and keep my tool knowledge up, but I am also full time
employed and taking a class in Spanish. I like to think positive, so I try
to imagine that if this contract ends that I will find a great new job
before my savings run out. However, the data doesn't look promising, so I
think that a Plans B, C, D, and E are in order. Unfortunately, I don't have
time to make the fall back plans. :-)
Oh well....

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