Re: Returning to Tech Writing

Subject: Re: Returning to Tech Writing
From: "Barry Baldwin" <barry -dot- baldwin -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2008 15:24:42 -0400

Bill and Deborah,

My linkedin profile, linked below, is pretty close to the resume that I've
been sending out.

I took a pay cut to do my overseas experience, thinking that it would be an
investment in my long-term career. It hasn't really played out that way so
far, though. I'm making only a little more than I did overseas, and
significantly less than before I went overseas.

The job listings I've seen generally get very specific with the tool skills
that they're looking for (XML, DITA, FrameMaker, etc.), some of which I
don't have experience with, even though I do have experience with very
similar tools (XHTML, CSS, PageMaker, InDesign, etc.). Do you think
employers and recruiters get hung up on these, maybe not considering how
similar various markup languages and DTP softwares are?

Someone once told me that the more detailed the job description, the more
likely they already have a candidate in mind. Do you all agree?

I do plan to ask probing questions if I ever get an interview. Namely, what
is your current documentation strategy, and how does that fit into your
overall business model? I think documentation is sorely underestimated as a
selling point, and even as a potential profit center rather than a cost
center, IMHO.

Maybe I should put "user advocate" and "documentation evangelist" in my
resume somehow :^)

Thanks again for everyone's responses.

Barry Baldwin


On Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 9:45 AM, Hemstreet, Deborah <DHemstreet -at- kaydon -dot- com>

> Hi Barry,
> I would guess it's a function of several different issues. I think
> Geoff's suggestions are good, but here is what I have found:
> My Background: Working overseas for 25 years; Past President for an
> overseas STC chapter, 15+ years experience in medical device industry,
> software/hardware/internet/intranet and blah blah...
> I am now getting paid LESS than what I earned overseas, and I was told
> THAT was low by US standards.
> The one medical device company that I did get an interview with - their
> head writer felt I was too threatening as I asked too many questions
> (which unfortunately showed up on what they were not doing - I didn't do
> it on purpose, just wanted to understand the scope of the work... Ah
> well)
> I am living in a State where the economy has been hard hit (Michigan)...
> So wages are lower than expected anyway.
> At least here, the jobs are few and far between, and since relocation is
> not an option at present... Private work has become my bread and butter
> (in addition to working full time elsewhere)...
> Companies NEED technical writers.. But they don't want to pay what we
> are worth - especially if we are qualified.
> Not to sound discouraging, but it is going to depend on a lot of
> factors... I think the jobs are there, but like Geoff's article says, it
> will take a lot of hard work to find them...
> Just my 2 cents worth...
> Deborah

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RE: Returning to Tech Writing: From: Hemstreet, Deborah

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