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>>This is not my experience, which goes like this: you place and ad,
>>get 300 responses, all but four of which are totally unsuitable.
>This is pretty amazing. Is this true? If so, good writers should be
>able to get a job instantly, whenever they need one.
The rate of one good candidate per hundred ad responses is, if anything,
optimistic in the line of work I was recruiting for (VLSI chip data books
and other engineer-oriented hardware manuals). Recruiters would come
up with one good candidate in ten to twenty, but this was largely due
to simple screening, a task that's simple enough that I don't like
to pay much for it.
My impression is that, in Silicon Valley, a good tech writer CAN get
a new job quickly if the horrifyingly unpleasant donkey work is attacked
with vigor. This includes calling up every single person you know in
the industry and asking if they know of any openings, taking a shotgun
approach to newspaper ads, and (this one is supposed to always work,
at least for contractors) driving up and down North First Street in San
Jose, writing down the names of all the companies there, and cold-calling
their product marketing manager and asking if they need any technical
Cold-calling is so unpleasant that few people make good use of it, but
it works extremely well if you do it right (which involves sounding
cheerful, confident, and gung-ho, no matter how hungry you are).
A hundred cheerful, confident, gung-ho phone calls later,
you'll be ready to shoot yourself rather than place another one,
but you'll also probably have found some work.
Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139