Re: Trends for Technical Com

Subject: Re: Trends for Technical Com
From: Tony Rocco <tony_rocco -at- NAVIS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 16:52:42 U

Subject: Time: 16:42
OFFICE MEMO RE>Trends for Technical... Date: 3/5/96

The below mentioned comments bring to mind my early (and tragic) experiences
as a struggling technical writer. The qualities mentioned are too intangible
for many hiring managers to consider important. They all want to see
qualifications proving that you have done EXACTLY what they need done at
least a hundred times before or they aren't interested. Try telling a hiring
manager that you don't know application xyz but you're sure you can learn it
and all you get a blank stare. No points for inquisitiveness, ability to
cooperate, ability to take criticism and direction, motivation, etc. I tried
to sell myself on such things but found few takers. I guess managers take the
conservative route to cover their asses. If a guy doesn't work out, and they
only reason they can give for having hired him is that he was real curious,
it just doesn't look good. If he had a resume that indicated all the right
experience, it's a little less embarassing.

Kent Newton said:

>I think the core skills of a technical writer (curiosity, researching,
>organization, writing, designing) are applicable in any job -- regardless
>of the product being documented or the medium in which that documentation
>is being produced.

I agree.

Now the question is "How do we get more hiring managers to also agree with
this philosophy?" Although I'm currently working at a company that shares
Kent's view, it was tough getting here. There have been many times where
I've sat in a job interview (and I'm sure others on this list share the
same experience) and used words similar to Kent's as my pitch...and lost out
because I didn't know the current tool that was being used at that company.

And part of the reason why I made the decision to send an application to
-this- company is because I know that the information/technology here is
transferable to other locations.

Or, to put it another way: I hate cold weather, we're winding up another
brutal Boston winter (looks like we just might break that record for snowfall
before the season's over), and today I learned that Pratt & Whitney down in
West Palm Beach (Florida) is looking for tech writers. With the three and
a half years I've got on jet engine manuals, I'd be a strong contender for
a job down there. Am I sending a resume? No way, because I don't want to
trap myself by appearing to be a "jet engine hardware" writer.

Rick Lippincott
Boston Technology
Wakefield, MA
rjl -at- bostech -dot- com

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