RE: a different resume red flag

Subject: RE: a different resume red flag
From: "Stephen Arrants" <steve -at- microbrightfield -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 09:13:06 -0400

Dick Margulis said:
> Stephen Arrants wrote:
> > The correct use of tools is more important than skills involved in
> > actually investigating a subject and writing about it.
> First, that's not what she said. Second, if you keep carrying
> that big a chip around on your shoulder, your chiropractor is
> going to be rich indeed.

That's what she implied:
> If I see that you hacked the
> formatting in some way, or claimed HTML proficiency but used
> Word to produce your web page, or supplied a web page that
> only works in one browser, I'm much more likely to send your
> resume to the bit bucket instead of the interview pile.

"Much more likely" may not mean 100% of the time, but it seems to say
that tools are more important than content.

> In any case, if you came into an interview spouting off about
> how you do the important part of the job by being a brilliant
> writer and those peons over there can clean up your mess when
> you're done, I'd be pretty quick to show you the door.

That's not what I said--or implied. Why do we stress tool usage and
tool knowledge as much more important than "domain" knowledge and the
ability to get information from reluctant sources? I've seen too many
times where someone who is a whiz with WWP or Word or Frame can produce
things that look nice, but are almost totally lacking any meaningful
content. It is easier to teach someone how to use Word or Frame or
whatever the way YOU want them to use it to produce documentation, than
it is to teach them how to reconcile three or four different sets of
contradictory comments, how to actually write, how to deal with
developers, marketing, et al. Who would you rather hire--a candidate who
is an Adobe Certified Expert in Framemaker but can't write, or someone
who may not know the intricacies of Frame and doesn't use its feature
correctly, but writes solid, usable documentation? Neither is the best
choice, but which one will most likely produce better documentation?

I think we're on the same page--too much stress on one set of
requirements is wrong. We all want to hire and work with people who know
the tools, know (or can quickly come up to speed) on the domain
knowledge, know how to interview, investigate, and write.


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