TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: software for a newbie From:Tracy Boyington <tboyi -at- ODVTEWS1 -dot- OKVOTECH -dot- ORG> Date:Tue, 4 Mar 1997 16:05:28 +0000
Tim Altom said:
> As for what employers want...well, most of them want dedication, especially
> in an entry-level position. How organized are you? How inventive? How much
> time and effort have you put into things besides classroom attendance? Are
> you a self-starter? Can you find things out on your own?
Well, yeah, but...
It wasn't very long ago that many people were complaining, here on
this very list, about employers who ask for experience with a
specific tool and reject anybody who doesn't have that specific
knowledge. Whether or not you think this is a valid, intelligent
criterion for a hiring decision, it *is* happening and there's
nothing you can do about it.
If Ryan's resume -- or, if he's interviewing with Tim, his cocktail-party
conversation ;-) -- doesn't get past that first hurdle, it doesn't matter
how organized and inventive he is, because they'll never find out.
I agree that the ability to learn things (tools, etc.) is just as important,
if not more so, than specific product knowledge. But many employers
don't. IMHO, Ryan should be learning a few tools
now, instead of concentrating on other things first and tools later,
especially if he's graduating soon.
> Then put lots of time in learning the fundamentals of the profession,
> including tours of duty in computer science (snip). Volunteer
> at the campus computer center to write manuals for special software.
> Anything to bolt together a portfolio and get real experience.
Last time I looked at one of those STC surveys, maybe half of the
members write software/hardware documentation. The rest of us do
something competely different. Come to our side, Ryan. We will use
the power of the dark side of the Force to overthrow them all...
tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org
Oklahoma Department of Vocational & Technical Education
Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA http://www.okvotech.org/cimc/home.htm