Re: Needs and Wants of Employers

Subject: Re: Needs and Wants of Employers
From: Maurice King <benadam -at- CYBERDUDE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 10:55:15 -0500

I apologize in advance to those who've already heard what I have to say, but I couldn't resist this one.

I think that, tongue-in-cheek or not, Eric Dunn hit the nail on the head. However, at times, I feel that employers really get hung up on rather trivial issues because they really don't know what they want and/or don't know much about technical writing as a profession. Tools mastery is sometimes very important, especially if the writer is to be asked to work on a particularly user-unfriendly application (Interleaf comes to mind immediately, but it's far from the worst); however, it's often just as important, if not more so, to have the ability to learn new things fast. Back in 1993, mastery of Ventura Publisher was of paramount importance to many employers. Today, only six years later, Ventura no longer holds such a prominent place in the market, and there is little carry-over knowledge; being able to adapt quickly to such changes is, therefore, probably one of the most important qualities a technical writer must have -- but often employers are unaware of this, especially if th!
ey are just creating a documentation department for the first time.

I and many others I know have also experienced some strange occurrences in which employers would ask questions that sounded rather silly. For example, if someone were to ask me if I had used Eudora Mail Version 1.5 and I said that I had used Version 2.0, it seems than an employer is being unnecessarily rigid by stating that if a candidate has never worked with that specific version, he/she is unqualified, ESPECIALLY when the version is older and no longer marketed. However, it surprises me when I encounter this attitude, and, in my opinion, it indicates a lot about the employer.

As far as the visa issue is concerned, I've been hit full in the face with this because I have many years of experience on my résumé that were clearly spent outside North America. If the employer is willing to talk to me after reading the résumé, a phone conversation is sure to spawn the issue because I speak with an accent that sounds definitely non-American. I've often wondered if stating a Social Security number on a résumé would be a safe way of avoiding such scenes, because I have a VERY hard time convincing a potential employer that I am American, especially when they hear that I am from the South! Then again, I faced the same sort of reaction from a Canadian border official once; it's wrong to jump to conclusions.

Perhaps the item that I find the most difficult to address is salary requirements and/or history. When I am asked about my salary history, it makes very little sense because so many years were spent outside the U.S. Also, employers have a hard time comprehending the large jumps in salary from one position to another during those years. I know that I frequently consult the International Salary Calculator when I am asked to quote salary requirements, but the calculator only gives equivalencies based upon cost of living; it does not indicate what is the going rate in a particular location. I know that when I calculated the equivalent of my current salary for life in Tel-Aviv, Israel, I saw a figure that was probably accurate inasmuch as what would be required to offset the taxes and the high cost of living, but I know of no company in the entire of Israel that would pay me such a salary! As a result, every time I give a quote, I feel that I'm flying blind -- because I am. I'm sur!
e that many companies have chosen to pass me up because these calculations were not realistic for the target locations. I also feel that stating a salary requirement for a position that may be only sketchily described in an advertisement is unfair, because the responsibilities a position demands from the candidate have a direct impact on the salary for the position and what a candidate can expect to demand reasonably.

For what they are worth, those were my thoughts as I read the other comments.

- Maury

Get free personalized email at

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

Previous by Author: Re: Recruiters: Is It Just Me?
Next by Author: Re: What is a documentation specialist? (Was: What is a document?)
Previous by Thread: Re: Needs and Wants of Employers
Next by Thread: Re: Needs and Wants of Employers

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads