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>I've been working for the data processing department at the
>college for 2 years, creating documentation for the students' computer
>labs and working at the Help Desk. My previous work experience includes
>bartending & waitressing (I've been going to school part-time for 6 years,
>Yesterday, I received a letter, hand-delivered by the director of alumni
>services (who, by the way, does not know me), which read (paraphrased):
> . . . someone suggested that I contact you concerning a job
> opening for Communications Manager at our local Chamber of Commerce.
> If you'd like more information, stop by and see me. If you'd like
> to apply, send your resume to ..."
>My first reaction was, "Hallelujah!!!" Then, reason and logic took over
>and I realized that I am in *NO WAY* qualified for this position.
Whether you should apply or not depends on why you think you're not
If your reason is that the job involves corporate writing
rather than tech-writing, and you're not interested in that sort of
thing, then it seems to me that you shouldn't apply.
However, if you think you're not qualified, look at yourself carefully.
For one thing, if you have at least 70% of the required skills, you can
probably do the job well enough to keep it. For another, in my own
(admittedly rather limited) experience, part of what a tech-writer sells
is adaptability. In other words, what a writer has to offer isn't just
expertise in a specific document processor (no, not even FrameMaker), but
a general knowledge of what to expect in a document processor and a set
of techniques for writing readable, maintainable manuals. And many writing
techniques transfer from one type of writing to another very easily. In
other words, you may be better qualified than you think. Even if you
don't know everything you need for the job (and every job requires a
learning experience, no matter how well it suits your qualifications),
you can still offer adaptability.
Keep in mind, too, that since you, specifically, are being asked to
apply, you have a good chance of getting it if you apply. Unless you
dislike the work you'd be doing, or have a better offer, you might
as well apply.
Bruce Byfield (byfield -at- direct -dot- ca)
Burnaby, BC, Canada