Re: Why are companies now requiring techical writer candidates to be SMEs?

Subject: Re: Why are companies now requiring techical writer candidates to be SMEs?
From: John Posada <john -at- tdandw -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2003 11:36:31 -0700

We bitch when companies restrict their job searching to tools knowledge with
no consideration for technical skills.

Then we bitch when they don't mention tools, but instead, make their
requirements based on technical skills. (gasp...they never mentioned Word or
FrameMaker even once!) do you know you'd be a great fit tools
wise...they never mention tools once.

You're just upset that the skill they asked for is a skill you don't have.
I'm sure if the skill being asked for was with one you'd spent the last
three years, this would be the perfect post.

Well, I have no problem with this advert and if I was in the area, even
though I don't have the specific skill asked for, I'd still respond because
they have their priorities straight and I want to be a part of that
organization. They say they want a great technical writer (...and be a great
technical writer...) To be a great technical writer for a company, you need
to know the subject about which you are writing. Is it wrong to ask for

I'd respond anyway. I'd respond with an impressive effort even if I didn't
have the required skills. How might I do that and give myself a chance of
being considered? (this goes toward the later part of your post). I'd
disregard the parts that don't apply to me at all. Make believe they don't
exist. What's the difference? The worst that could happen is that you don't
get it and if you don't response, that's the result anyway. To the parts
that do, I'd reply to each of them individually with proof that I'd done
that skill before, document for whom it was done for, and why it is
applicable to them. They give you the ability to do this because they list
the actual deliverables you'll be creating. Give them examples of exactly
the same deliverable but for a different product or technology.

Take the whole requirements, break them into individual sentences, put them
into a matrix, and create a hyperlink to that sample.
Take your strongest skills that aren't in the requirements, put them into
the matrix, explain why it is of use to them, and create a hyperlink to that

Package the whole thing up on a cd or web page and present it. Presenting
and sending are two different things. Presenting is to make them WANT to
look at it further. The advantage to the req being so specific is that you
aren't going to be lost in the pile. Instead of them getting 100 responses,
they might get 10.

Finish the whole thing up with a copy of your certification showing that you
are professionally certified in technical writing with process analysis,
project management, manufacturing, quality control, UML, ISO, etc. skills,
....oh, yeah...forget about this last part...I was looking into the future.

John Posada
Senior Technical Writer
john -at- tdandw -dot- com
"Chuck Martin" <twriter -at- sonic -dot- net> wrote in message
news:200304200710 -dot- DAA19557 -at- irresistable -dot- cnchost -dot- com -dot- -dot- -dot-
> I am seeing what appears to be a current trend, at least here in Silicon
> Valley, and it bothers me on a number of levels, not the least of which
> because it shuts the door on many opportunities. While I haven't done
> extensive, rigorous research on this, it is still my ever-stronger
> impression.
> It seems that many job postings for technical writers are listing as job
> requirements (not desired skills) that the candidate be an SME in that
> company's particular application. Or at least an SME in the specific field
> in which that company's application competes. For example:

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