more about what tools to learn

Subject: more about what tools to learn
From: Jim Williams <WILLIAMSJA1 -at- WOODS -dot- UML -dot- EDU>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 1995 16:58:54 EST

In response to my question about what tools a new technical writer should
learn, Glen Accardo wrote:
>Being able to say that you can use
>FrameMaker will not make me hire you. At best it'll chop off a couple of
>days of initial training, which I'm willing to sacrifice for someone who
>can WRITE.
>Show me you can write a manual or a help file -- show me that you know
>the differences in the writing -- and I'll make sure you learn whatever
>tools I happen to use.

I'm wondering if your attitude is the exception rather than the rule. The
few writers I have talked to so far told me that employers were looking for
a big list of tools on a resume. The writers I talked to thought that being
able to list a bunch of programs on their resume got them an interview,
where they were then able to demonstrate that they could write.


>What matters is that people fill in holes in their experience/knowledge
>when necessary, and have acquired this knowledge in a way that "pleases"
>employers. Some people want you to have a degree in a field before they'll
>believe you'll know it. Some people with degrees don't know their field.
>Other employers demand ON THE JOB experience, and claim, for example, that
>using Word Perfect in school is meaningless. Others compare your knowledge
>with theirs: if knowledge(yours) < knowledge(theirs) then you = stupid.

>I don't necissarily agree with any of these, but I've seen the attitudes,
>so don't be shocked when you are labeled ignorant when you really aren't.

This is something that I've wondered about. If somebody asks what
experience I have using some program listed on my resume, how are employers
going to respond if I have to admit that I just taught myself how to use
them? If I'm applying for an entry-level job how can they expect me to
have on-the-job experience using some tool?

Jim Williams

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