Re: Writing Samples

Subject: Re: Writing Samples
From: Dick Margulis <ampersandvirgule -at- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 15:56:00 -0500

Mitchell, Moira E (MED) wrote:
>
> Hi all!
>
> Has anyone run into a problem taking writing samples to an interview?
> What do you do if the company you work for says that you cannot give out
> their documents even if you wrote them?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Moira Mitchell
>
>

Moira,

What you write for an employer is, in the first place, work for hire.
You do not own any part of it and have no right to show it to anyone
without the owner's permission unless it is a published work (that is, a
copyright work--such as a manual for retail software--rather than a
confidential/proprietary work).

But to answer your question, there is a way.

What I have done is to secure permission from the client to show bogus
samples.

A bogus sample is an excerpt from your work in which you have made the
following changes:

1. Replace the company name with "ABC Co." (or something equally
obvious) and any product names with "XYZ-Ware" or some such.

2. Replace any and all numerals 0-9 with zero. This applies to money
amounts, engineering dimensions, dates, etc. Just do a global search and
replace.

3. Scan for any other confidential information that might cause the
company to deny permission.

4. If the page has a "Confidential" watermark or slug, either remove it
or replace it with one that says "Writing Sample" or "Cleared for
external use" or something equivalent.

Once you have prepared a sample, also prepare a release granting
yourself permission to provide copies to potential future clients, and
include a signature line for whoever in the company is authorized to
grant you this permission. Either speak with the person directly or
prepare a cover memo and send it with the release form and the bogus
samples.

Good luck,

Dick




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