Re: Techie First or Writer? -Reply

Subject: Re: Techie First or Writer? -Reply
From: Michael Collier <michacol -at- SBSERVICES -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 15:41:52 -0400

Melissa (MLOWERY -at- GWM -dot- SC -dot- EDU) wrote:

<Reading job postings is often a very frustrating endeavor. You see a
<of 5 applications listed as "must-have's" and a passing mention of some>
<kind of writing training or proficiency thrown in as a afterthought.>

But think of how writers are hired in other industries. For example, a
newspaper looking for a sportswriter doesn't look for just communication
skills or evidence of writing ability; the applicant must also show some
experience in, or at least aptitude for, the subject matter he or she
will be writing about. Now this doesn't mean the applicant actually has
to be proficient at the sport or whatever other subject they're writing
about--they need to know enough, though, to do their most important job
effectively, which is write about their subject.

A strong applications background gives a nice "warm and fuzzy" to a
hiring manager who needs to know if candidates have the skills needed to
write and produce documentation. Application or other technical skills
are regarded, rightly or wrongly, as somehow more tangible than
communication skills, which probably can only become evident (to the
interviewers) over time in the specific circumstances in which they are

I always thought that job descriptions worded like your example were
largely designed to screen out candidates anyway. It's part of the
interviewing game to think of clever ways to turn a lack or weakness in
one area into a strength.

Michael Collier
michacol -at- sbservices -dot- com
SOFTBANK Services Group
Buffalo, NY

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