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Subject:First Jobs From:Ron Sering CDS <ronaldse -at- MANX -dot- CDS -dot- TEK -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 1 Apr 1997 15:44:38 MST
For me, the first job came pretty easily-and unexpectedly. I was working toward a career in tech comm by coming in the back door. I had gotten a certificate in computer operations and hired on as a computer operator on the graveyard shift at a medium-size corporation. I wheedled my way into documenting data center procedures (such as how to perform backups, etc.) and the like, but MEANWHILE I was in a writer's workshop for fiction writing (I _really_ want to be a novelist, you know ;-) and one of my colleagues in the workshop referred me to a contracting firm that needed immediate help. I had had some writing experience ( a few magazine articles, plus the primitive documentation I had written in the computer operations job), so with that plus my computer knowledge, I got the job at a below-market pay rate, but I learned a lot.
So, I can't minimize the importance of word-of-mouth; it is a valuable commodity. The Conventional Wisdom is that classified ads are a waste of time, but I washired into one of the best jobs I've ever had through a classified ad; I just happened to fit their requirements perfectly. I've found some excellent leads right here in TECHWR-L, and my current position came to me through an STC job line posting.
In short, there are many routes to happiness and prosperity as a techwhirler. Asan entry level writer the chore is a little tougher, but it is, as far as I can tell, a seller's market out there.
The most important thing for you right now is to get that first job, so leave noavenue unexplored. I don't know what your qualificationsare, but if you have an appropriate degree, some writing samples, etc., you could start registering withcontracting agencies; you have a good chance of AT LEAST getting interviews, which help build poise and confidence.
Classifieds are okay if you have enough of the qualifications they are looking for to get through the screening process. If you have some practical experience (for example, if you've worked in a bank, or in the medical industry) to strengthen your qualifications, you can use that to strengthen your overall qualifications.
Also, if you are willing and able to relocate, this expands your choices of jobsand you may not have to settle for the first thing to come along.