RE: I'm taking my marbles and going home...

Subject: RE: I'm taking my marbles and going home...
From: "Grant, Christopher" <CGrant -at- glhec -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 15:28:42 -0500

Pat Glass wrote:

> Dear Techwhirlers:
> After a year of being out of work, I've come to the end of my
> rope. I'm registered with six or seven temp agencies, and they can't
> even find me work. I'm on, I write killer cover letters, and
> everyone loves my resume, but I've had only three actual interviews during
this past
> year.

Here's my uninformed opinion:

With the large number of job seekers in the market now, places like aren't going to help you. I see like using
Microsoft Word's Resume Wizard: everyone looks the same once you run through
it. Consider how's databases must be swelling with folks
seeking jobs these days. Do you really want to hang out there, one name
among thousands or tens of thousands?

I'd almost say the same thing about temp agencies or recruitment agencies,
but actually, due to a number of poor hiring choices and lazy writers
grossly overselling their abilities, we're now hiring folks on as temps
first so we can lose 'em if they're lusers. So maybe the temp agency is a
good idea, depending.

> I am interested in Web design and writing for the Web. Can any of you
> forecast the upcoming demand for skills in these areas? Will
> there be a demand for these skills? Tools I should know? A better field to
> Programming? Testing? I've got to make changes, and I want to
> ensure my future marketability.

Then, IMHO, do more than just Web design and writing for the Web. You and
ten thousand other folks want to "do Web design" and "write for the Web."
IMHO to many folks this means, "do the same thing I'm doing, only have it be
published online." This makes you no more marketable than you were.

Instead, pick up skills and experience in the areas surrounding "writing for
the Web." Learn about usability so you can offer usability testing, advice,
and design. Learn about testing so you can help with QA and application
design. Learn about online information formats like HTML/XML and dynamic
formats like PHP and ASP so you can provide content that will play well with
those formats. Learn about Web programming languages like Javascript, Java,
perl scripting, etc. so you can get in and play with the developers. Learn
where the tech is now, and where it's going, so you can give good advice.
And learn a few tools along the way to put all this knowledge to use. To
borrow from a business cliche, figure ways to add value to your product

Then, DO something with what you learn, on your own time. Build a Web site.
Write some content for it. If you want to be a Web content provider, you
better have a link to your Web site on the PDF of your resume.

Go to seminars. Get involved. Stay involved. If you don't have a job
surrounding you to keep you up to date and frosty with your tech writing
skillz, get involved in SOMETHING that will exercise those skills. Don't
let yourself get rusty. Don't let your mindset become antiquated.

And after you're done reading this, go back and read Andrew Plato's message
titled, "How to get a job in these challenging times" from August 4th of
this year. Lots of good stuff in there about how to stay ahead of the rest
of the job seekers.

Good luck.

-Chris Grant

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