Re. Using software your clients propos

Subject: Re. Using software your clients propos
From: Peter Kent <71601 -dot- 1266 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 10:25:29 EST

>> GOOD GRIEF. (no, I'm not yelling, I'm just exasperated...)
Yes, folks, these are the attitudes that make employers from
all over look askance at resumes, from all over.
So, I guess your "rules of thumb" are "say whatever you think
will get you the job, and worry about accounting for it later."
I'm much happier hiring someone who simply says, "Well, no, I've
never used that particular package, but I've been in this position
before and sure do learn fast." This is preferable to a bold-faced
lie from a newly hired employee whom I will then continue to
*always* doubt for the rest of the time s/he works for me, and
foget about that reference you wanted.
Let's make a deal: I won't throw any flack if you'll just
get a thumb transplant. {;-0<<

I must admit when I first wrote my comments I expected more flak ("flak", as
in anti-aircraft fire, not "flack" as in publiciity agent). This is the first
negative msg I've received; yesterday I received several in agreement, though
a couple were sent to me privately.

I'm not suggesting a bold faced lie. Some employers have a totally ridiculous
set of hiring guidelines. They don't know how to hire writers, how to judge a
writer's skills and capabilities, nor judge--more importantly--exactly what
that writer can do for the employer. Instead they make up some hokey
"qualification" list, such as "can you use Samna" (a real example). I
mentioned in an earlier msg how I advised a friend to say "yes" to this
example. Was this a lie? No, she was quite capable of using Samna, as she
proved to the client. How did she know? Because she'd already used a dozen
different word processors, and was certain she could pick up the peculiarities
of Samna in a few hours. (She worked with that client for a couple of years,
with no complaints that I heard of. The few hours she spent figuring out Samna
were totally irrelevant in the overall picture.)

I also said in an earlier msg that if you've used a program you should say
"yes," but not offer any negative information, such as "but not in a long
time," "but not much," and so on. Again, this isn't a lie, is it? If the
employer asks a question, and you answer honestly, but don't offer negative
information, that's just common sense, a very basic sales technique.

I'm not suggesting you make promises that you can't live up to. If your
client wants someone to do heavy duty Quark layout and nothing more, yoiu'd
better be sure that you really know the program. But if an employer bases a
technical writing job on the knowledge of a word processor or
desktop-publishing program, and if you are sure that you can pick up the
necessary skills in a few hours (as is often the case), then I see nothing
wrong with telling the employer that you are capable of doing the job.

Peter Kent

E-mail from: Peter Kent, 02-Nov-1995

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