Re: expectations of an entry-level writer

Subject: Re: expectations of an entry-level writer
From: Beth Agnew <bagnew -at- INSYSTEMS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 11:46:22 -0500

On Tuesday, October 28, 1997 10:33 AM, Bill Burns [SMTP:BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM]
> <rant>
> <little snip> Initiative can be expressed in many ways--taking a double
major, working
> full time while going to school, supporting a family while attending
> classes and working, running a business on the side. This focus on
> internships as the only indicator of initiative seems pretty typical of
> the corporate myopia that affects far too many businesses.
><another snip>
> Eventually, someone has to pay for this training, whether it's the person
> sponsoring an internship or the person hiring for an entry-level
> There's nothing wrong with giving preference to people with experience,
> but requiring it for entry-level jobs seems like more of an excuse to pay
> entry-level wages than a legitimate gauge of a candidate's capabilities.
> </rant>
> Bill Burns
> Senior Technical Writer
> ILE Communications Group
> billdb -at- ile -dot- com

I appreciated Bill's rant on entry-level and internship writers. When I
hire an intern or an entry-level writer, I'm not looking for cheap labor --
I'm giving someone that same chance I had many years ago to prove my
commitment to my chosen career. I'm also doing my part in providing quality
candidates for jobs I may need to fill somewhere down the road. I expect
such hires to cost me time and energy as I help them understand the
professionalism required of a technical writer. I also believe that time
and energy will be repaid not only in the quality work they produce, but by
the law of the universe which dictates "you reap what you sow".

Co-op experience per se is not going to get anyone hired in my shop. We
look at the whole candidate; successful internships contribute to that mix,
but they are not the determining criteria. I want to see commitment,
enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and initiative. There are many ways to
demonstrate those qualities, as Bill mentioned.

I think we have a responsibility to be mentors, to teach others what we've
learned through experience, and to spell out the qualifications of a good
technical writer. Role models aren't out of style. In a burgeoning
profession such as ours, they're needed more than ever.


Beth Agnew
Senior Technical Writer, InSystems Technologies Inc.
65 Allstate Parkway, Suite 100 Tel: (905) 513-1400 ext. 280
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 9X1 Fax: (905) 513-1419
mailto:bagnew -at- insystems -dot- com Visit us at:

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