Re: Job Information

Subject: Re: Job Information
From: nancy ott <ott -at- ANSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1993 11:01:43 EDT

My $0.02 on the "degree vs. experience" thread:

You need both. Having a degree can keep your resume from
automatically being tossed in the circular file, but your experience
will get you the job.

If you're still in school, you're probably caught in the classic
Catch-22 situation: you don't have a "real" job and therefore have no
experience, but you need experience to get a job in the first place.
Well, there are a few things you can do to get experience before
you graduate:

1. Do an internship. Most colleges offer formal internship courses;
in fact, some programs require them. (If none are available, talk to
your advisor about arranging one as an independent study.) An unpaid
internship is better than no internship. Try to avoid ones that
involve a lot of filing and photocopying, though. Internships with
well-defined writing assignments are the most desirable, since they
give you experience, a document you can show prospective employers,
and (if you've done well) a good recomendation from your boss.

2. Try to get a part-time job (either on-campus or off) that involves
writing, even if it's not a formal technical writing position.
Emphasize the writing parts of it on your resume and in your

3. If your current job doesn't involve writing, create a writing
project that applies to what you're doing -- such a procedures manual
for new student workers, information or help sheets, etc. -- and sell
your boss on its benefits. If you can, get his/her permission to
write it during your working hours; otherwise, do it on your own time.
(I hate to advocate slave labor, but keep in mind that you are at the
bottom of the writing food chain. You need the experience more than
the money at this point.) Ideally, you could set up the project as an
internship and get academic credit for it. Draw up a schedule for
completing and evaluating the document, and stick to it! You will get
high marks for initiative, an entry for your portfolio, and valuable
project experience.

4. Do a co-op -- where you work for a semester at a company as a
student co-op employee. Again, many colleges have formal programs for
this sort of thing. Co-ops give you the benefits of an internship,
with even more real-world experience. You may even be able to get a
permanent position there after you graduate, since you've demonstrated
that you can handle the job.

5. Volunteer at a local charitable or civic organization. Perhaps you
can do a newsletter for them, write up information sheets, and so
forth. This option is better suited to people interested in
journalism, professional writing, public relations, and so forth ....
but experience is experience. A lot of the skills transfer over to
technical writing, you'll get some nice entries for your portfolio,
and you can help others while helping yourself (this is known as
enlightened self-interest).

Good luck.

nancy ott | No good deed goes unpunished.
Ansoft Corp. |
Pittsburgh, PA | - anonymous
ott -at- ansoft -dot- com |

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