Re: How do hiring companies view TW resumes?

Subject: Re: How do hiring companies view TW resumes?
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 14:57:02 -0400

>> - Increased product sales by 30% through the release of preliminary
>> product documentation
>
> No one tracks such info at our company.

Gasp! How do you track your successes?

> I'm not sure how one could know.

By employing the types of metrics you want to track. It requires work
and change, but then again so does everything worthwhile.

> "Gee, Mr. Techwriter, we're also looking at hiring three engineers
> who used to work at the same company you did and, combined,
> the four of you seem to have taken credit for 218% of the
> fiscal benefit from that one project!"

Now you're just being snarky again.

> For an existing product, somebody with the knowledge and ability
> would need to examine all sales for that product, before and after
> you ... ahem... "release[d]... preliminary product documentation",
> and decide how to eliminate all other factors in a shifting market
> to conclude that it was the docs and not eleventy-two other
> factors that made the difference.

Yes, that's generally how people track these things. They employ
metrics tracking mechanisms so they can sleep.

> Anyway, my guess would be that most TWs are in no
> position to be able to make specific claims about
> how their work _positively_ affects the bottom line.

And yet the tech writing community is full of people suffering from
Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome. I can't help but think these things are
related somehow...

I have and do track these things because it is in my and my company's
best interest to do so.

> When I'm doing a good job (or you are in your
> respective positions) I'm practically invisible.

This is exactly why you need to measure the good impact.

> All of that to say:  It SOUNDS good to insert
> a bunch of claims that you "raised this by
> this amount/percentage", "lowered that by
> that amount/percentage", but I'd be very surprised
> if the majority of us were able to justify any
> such claims.

Again, that's disappointing to here, because it's possible.

> If I saw such claims, when looking to hire
> someone, I'd immediately say the same thing
> that I say to other religious claims:
> How do you know?

Guess I'm not working for you. :-/ My resume follows that format.

> Maybe our brand new Oracle-based ERP system will
> open up vast new vistas of opportunity for me
> and the other techwriters at the company to
> start claiming such stuff.   woohoo    :-)

Not without your involvement.

--
Bill Swallow

Twitter: @techcommdood
Blog: http://techcommdood.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/techcommdood

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Follow-Ups:

References:
How do hiring companies view TW resumes?: From: Peter Neilson
RE: How do hiring companies view TW resumes?: From: Pinkham, Jim
Re: How do hiring companies view TW resumes?: From: Tony Chung
RE: How do hiring companies view TW resumes?: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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