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Responding to Steven Jong on earning respect before
you ever get in the door - yes, it can be done:
Present yourself as the candidate who will meet the
business needs they've identified, anticipate the ones
they haven't, and make them look good to their
I once got a job by finding a company I wanted to work
for, and writing a page of recommendations for making
their web site meet their business needs better. I
also created a mock-up showing what their home page
would look like with the changes. I sent those two
files, with a cover email, to their VP of Marketing.
He was on the phone to me that afternoon.
We don't - and shouldn't - automatically get respect
just because we call ourselves technical writers or
technical communicators, any more than every engineer
should automatically be respected just for having the
title. In every profession, there are practitioners
who have chosen badly and are not suited to their
jobs; at the other end of the spectrum are those who
show the world how it ought to be done. The former
will never be respected; the latter will never have to
worry about it.
The rest of us fall somewhere in between. If we want
respect, we have to understand that it doesn't (and
shouldn't) automatically happen. We earn it by
delivering results. It's that simple. Deliver the
goods, and you get respect.
In my current job, I'm a department of one. I do all
the things you'd get from a technical publications
group. My employers respect me because I make them
look good. Sure, there's always a bit more to it than
that - like playing nice with others and recognizing
that their needs are valid and may conflict with mine
- but mostly it's about the results.
If you give people a reason to think you'll make a
visible, valuable contribution to their business, you
start out with a certain amount of respect. Then all
you have to do to keep it is...deliver the goods.
BTW, my business card says "Technical Writer".
I introduce myself as a technical communicator.
The only thing that counts is results.
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