From: Martha J Davidson <editrix -at- SLIP -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 09:16:05 -0800

At 05:48 PM 3/23/98 -0800, John Gilger wrote:
>I believe that only HR-types ask for samples because they don't know what
>else to ask. Documentation managers are more interested in you and your
I have to disagree with this. I have been a doc manager, and am now back
to being "just" a senior tech writer, which I must say I prefer. I have
evaluated many resumes in my day, and I would hesitate to hire any writer
who didn't have at least one sample beyond the resume.

My experience is just the opposite of John's. I've never been asked for a
sample by an HR person, but just about every manager I've interviewed with
has wanted to see samples, which I am eager to share.

I have also seen resumes from writers which really impressed me, and then
looked at samples which caused me to completely change my recommendation
about hiring those writers. It's absolutely true that the resume is a
crucial writing sample, but it's only one sample, which only shows one
style of writing, and which I would expect to be polished to the hilt.
Seeing other samples gives me much more information about the types of
things a writer has documented, the writer's attention to detail, and what
that writer considers an example of good writing, even if he/she didn't
write the whole thing.

Anyone else? Am I the only one who values writing samples to this extent?


Martha Jane {Kolman | Davidson}
Senior Technical Writer
mailto:editrix -at- slip -dot- net

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?"
--Hillel, "Mishna, Sayings of the Fathers 1:13"

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