RE: Why are companies now requiring technical writer candidates to be SMEs?

Subject: RE: Why are companies now requiring technical writer candidates to be SMEs?
From: "Lisa Wright" <liwright -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 23:05:32 -0700

Chuck snipped and wrote:

> I agree with you that a TW shouldn't need to know anything about it,
> but only as long as the TW knows how to model the application and
> discover the functionality. You probably could defend your position in

> a cover letter. You have nothing to lose.
Any suggestions how? This is what's stumped me a bit--and I'm not
typically shy about selling my skills.

This has been brushed across a couple of times but not directly
addressed. If you have parallel experience, that's what you play up in
your cover letter. You talk about the similar experiences, technologies,
working environments, etc. Touch every point listed in the ad that you
can. Mirror their ad back to them (this is a very effective
communication tool in when trying to make a connection). You learn
quickly. You have experience in start-ups. With every kind of
documentation they require. It looks like the configuration tool is key,
so if you can come up with prior experience with that kind of tool,
that'd be good. Whatever the parallels are. Go to their web site and
cull whatever you can about their target market and see you have any
experience there.

The biggest experience requirement they have is tech writing, then
software documentation. The next is the development software. After that
is voice. If you could address the top three very effectively then I'd
say it's a salable proposition. Only the top two, it gets a little iffy.

I wouldn't mention your lack of voice application experience right off
the bat. If they're interested in you after reading your letter and not
seeing that, they'll call. Then you have another opportunity to pitch

I've done this a couple of times and have gotten callbacks. It's been
very effective for me.


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