Re: What Defines "Entry-Level"?

Subject: Re: What Defines "Entry-Level"?
From: Barb Philbrick <caslonsvcs -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 15:24:40 GMT

>Specifically, when one is seeking to enter the technical communications
>field, what defines "Entry-Level"?
I'll take a crack at it. I would probably pull you in as an
entry-level writer, but I'm a 1-person shop, so I get hit hard by any
training costs. However, I'd also bump up your status and pay as soon
as you merited it, not on a typical time-line or "sorry, best we can
do is 3% a year" basis.

You do have enough experience that if I was a manager in a larger
company and felt you could be trained fairly quickly, I'd probably try
to bring you in at above entry-level, especially if I knew pay
increases were fixed.

Realizing that I don't have all the facts on your experience, I'll
give you some ideas on why I would consider you entry-level.

1. I'm not confident that you have the interviewing skills you'd need
to work with engineers.

2. Most of my work is hardware and software documentation. It would
take you some time to come up to speed.

3. Your experience in law would give me some reservations about
writing style. That's not a field that's well-known for concise,
user-friendly writing. The Journalism background is good, but you'd
probably still need some training in the basics of technical writing,
especially in organizing material. (I recently had an ex-journalist --
not degreed -- working for me, and he never did "get it." It's a
long, sad story and I wouldn't rule out a journalism major because of
him, but I'm a little gun-shy right now.)

4. I look for some skill in at least word processing and at best
desktop publishing. I prefer someone with experience in Interleaf,
Framemaker, Ventura, or Tex (or all of the above). I take work from
clients that required print-ready final copy, so I need someone who
can handle desktop publishing.

5. I need someone who can at least clean up graphics using one of the
standard graphics package.

Hope this helps. I'm curious to see other people's ideas of what
entry-level means.


Barbara Philbrick, Caslon Services Inc.
Technical Writing. caslonsvcs -at- ibm -dot- net
Cleveland, OH

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