[Long]First TW interview-request pointers/good questions to ask

Subject: [Long]First TW interview-request pointers/good questions to ask
From: "DEBORAH S. WESCOTT" <wescotds -at- SS2 -dot- SEWS -dot- WPAFB -dot- AF -dot- MIL>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 12:13:52 -0500

Hi to all you Tech Whirlers!

I've been reading this list for well over a year and have gleaned much priceless
advice. Thanks to all of you!

I would like to ask your advice, please. I'll get to that in a minute but,
first, some history:

I have developed several operations manuals for the ops staff at my present
place of employment. I was the senior operator and sort of fell into the job
of documenting our work when the boss finally decided it was necessary. I
then transferred to the Configuration Management department and now write
baselines and such. I created a WWW presence for the office and thus have
experience with HTML (no cgi scripting though...). I have no formal training,
just these experiences. The experiences themselves have even been very
informal in that there were no defined processes. I wrote, self-edited,
self-validated, etc. All documents had to be approved but the approval
process didn't amount to much more than a signature or two. These people
trusted me and were really too busy (from their perspective) to spend a lot
of time with a red pen.

Now to my problem. Actually, it may not be a problem but it is definitely a
challenge. I sent my resume to a head hunter. I just wanted a change and
possibly some more bucks. My resume pretty much said the same thing I said
above but with polish and a more positive slant --i.e. I didn't embellish. I
expected to be called for an operations job or something similar. Well, they
called alright, but with a possible TW position. I'm really excited although
realistic. I know very little about the company other than they are "small
and up-and-coming" according to the head hunter. She also asked if I had
experiences documenting a windows environment. I feel really stupid for not
asking more questions on the phone but I was still in shock from hearing TW
instead of ops. I would really like to put my best foot forward during the
interview and so to my request(s):

1. Would you people consider giving me some pointers for handling the interview?
or some specific questions to ask? The head hunter said she'd coach me but
I'd like your perspective.

I understand that many of you began your TW careers in a similar fashion and
I'm especially interested in your advice.

Hiring managers are another population I'd like specific advice from.

2. I don't want to be one of those bad writers that you guys always refer to.
I'm *fairly* well spoken and write just like I speak (I can feel you guys
cringing...stop it! <grin>), do you think I can hone my skills on the job or do
you suggest that I invest in some more formal training? (Money is extremely
tight right now, but I might be able to get a loan to pay for a class or two.)
If from this small (but growing :) writing sample you determine that I might
benefit from some training, what would you suggest? A university class?

Please don't pull any punches. Be as realistic as possible in your responses.
(I realize that documenting something I do every day is much different
than documenting a new application i.e. I was my own SME.)

3. I just filled out my app for STC. Does anyone know if they have a mentoring
program. How about this list? If not, would anyone be interested in starting
such a program?

Feel free to email me directly with your responses. I can summarize if there is
interest.


With much appreciation,


Debbie Wescott wescotds -at- msrc -dot- wpafb -dot- af -dot- mil


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