TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: PET PEEVE #3148 From:Kevin Harper <kevinh -at- DEV -dot- TIVOLI -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 7 Jul 1995 15:24:33 CDT
> From: Bob Morse <morse -at- INXPRESS -dot- NET>
> Does anyone else get as aggravated as I do when browsing
> want ads for tech-writer positions, to find prospective
> employers specifying the brands/models of software tools as
> REQUIREMENTS for the positions? E.g.: "XYZ Corp. seeks
> user documentation specialist for its industry-leading
> SoftWidget software. Documentation experience preferred.
> Familiarity with MS Word [or WordPerf, or Pagemaker, etc.]
> a must."
The most revealing portion of this ad is that documentation
experience is PREFERRED, but that familiarity with a specific
software is REQUIRED. It seems to me that technical writers
are not held in very high regard at this company, and I wouldn't
bother to reply (unless I was unemployed or otherwise desperate).
But to directly answer your question, it seems to me that
many companies don't want to pay for any sort of introductory
training. (They may be more willing to pay for ongoing training
once you've proven yourself, though.) Also, from what I've
read, many companies scan in resumes and use keywords as a
preliminary means of sorting out the "qualified" from the
"non-qualified." Therefore, if you're having to resort to
responding to ads (never a good means of landing a job), you'd
better be taking training classes on your own just to honestly
say you have experience with MS Word, WP. PageMaker, etc. or
whatever tool the company uses.
I've seen a few ads that request 3 years experience of MS Word
6.0. Word 6.0 hasn't been out that long. Now that's really