Re: How often is your resume read on job boards?

Subject: Re: How often is your resume read on job boards?
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2002 07:41:33 -0600

Bonnie wrote:

> I'm a writer. I guess when my one-year anniversary rolls around September 7,
> 2002, I shall truly rue the day I borrowed $50,000 in order to go to
> graduate school in 1995 for my degree in technical writing. Nobody even
> hinted that one had to be a "techie" to make it in this field.
> I feel robbed.

If some college took your money and didn't even HINT at that idea, you
WERE robbed. Yes, this is a field where non-techies have been able to
enjoy a lot of success, but it does stand to reason that the more
technical knowledge you accumulate, the more you increase your
employability. I guess they figured you knew that, or they are so safely
ensconced in academia that THEY didn't even know that.

Any college that doesn't at least encourage you to take technical courses
to supplement its tech writing curriculum (whatever THAT is), is doing you
no favors. I would think that there should be some technically oriented
"electives" offered in conjunction with any such degree, offering subjects
like electrical engineering, database modeling, computer networking
technologies, web programming, etc. I am astonished at the number of
"degreed" tech writers who don't even know HTML.

I've developed a fair amount of cynicism towards many TW degree or
certificate programs, and your post does nothing to lessen that attitude.

But something I learned back when I was getting my oh-so-useful music
degree: You can't just take a bunch of classes and think that you'll be
prepared for the Real World. One of the main things we get paid for is our
*judgment* - how we use our brains. You got your degree, but you're also
responsible for making sure you have marketable skills, and an awareness
of how The Game is played. It would be nice if a college degree ensured
that, but it doesn't. Sadly, many college curriculums are geared more to
the particular specialties of their esteemed faculty than on the
real-world needs of the students.

What's really sad is that you could probably already write when you got to
grad school, so I don't know exactly what they taught you there.

You have a right to be angry with your school. But some of the
responsibility is yours. Colleges can't teach you to think, nor should
they. It's up to you to determine your most likely course to success in
any given field, and a degree is only one part of that equation.

Bonnie, you're a strong writer and editor. You've got web skills (or your
webmaster does), and I have no doubt that you can find success in this
field. But you need to approach it with your eyes wide open. Things are
changing around us. Those of us who do not adapt are going to be in

He said, cheerfully. :(

Keith "ray of sunshine and optimism" Cronin
who will soon be able to buy his own company if its stock dips any lower

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