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: "Chuck Martin" <twriter -at- sonic -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 18:38:44 -0700



"Mike O." <obie1121 -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote in message news:195105 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> They asked for someone who is a great tech writer AND has voice app
> experience. If they are serious about both requirements, there may not
> be a lot of qualified applicants. GREAT tech writers are probably
> already employed and might not apply for this job. So the pool of
> applicants meeting all the criteria might be smaller than you (and
> they) think.

I'm glad you said "probably." I'm still not.

>
> It is entirely possible they might not find someone who meets both
> requirements. They may just have to settle for a great tech writer who
> can quickly adapt to the new technology. In this case, get in there and
> start selling yourself. It might take a few weeks, but once they get
> frustrated with the lack of response to their impossible requirements,
> then they start listening to your pitch. I have gotten at least one gig
> in this scenario. (I'd leave out the 'deliberate ignorance' part,
> though).

That's what I was having trouble figuring out.

One of the stances I've taken during this 8-month job search, something I've
mentioned to a few hiring managers, is that I won't apply to jobs that I'm
not pretty sure I'm qualified for. I know in this economy that any job
posting generates hundreds of responses, and I don't want to fill someone
else's Inbox with irrelevant email; I don't want to waste their time.

So therein lies the dilemma. Should I violate my own ethics and simply
ignore such requirements and simply sell myself for what I can do? (In this
case, everything except their own software knowledge--something I can learn,
and learn quickly anyway.) Or is there another approach that may be
effective in such situations?

>
> On the other hand, maybe they are not really serious about the great
> tech writer requirement. Maybe what they really want is the "best
> available tech writer" who also has voice app experience. In this case
> you have less of a chance, since they will be screening you out early.
>
> Hey, if it makes you feel better, there are also probably a ton of
> unemployed voice-application programmers who are P.O.'d they can't get
> this job because they don't have writing experience.
>
Do you know any programmers with writing experience? The last time I worked
with a programmer-turned-writer, after he got laid off, I spend a
not-insignificant amount of time "cleaning up" his "writing" output.

I'm tempted to out-and-out tell hiring managers that I can write in the
English language at least as well as their programmers can write in
C/SQL/Pascal/Java/whatever, and I know programming languages probably better
than their programmers know the English language.

The only thing that keeps me from being so bold is that such a statement
might be perceived as racist--even though many of the programmers I've
worked with over the years are native English speakers (and yet still that
concusion tends to hold).

--
--
"I don't entirely understand it but it is true: Highly skilled carpenters
don't get insulted when told they are not architects, but highly skilled
programmers do get insulted when told they are not UI designers."
- anonymous programmer quoted in "GUI Bloopers"

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net www.writeforyou.com



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