Re: Employers' mistaken job requirements?

Subject: Re: Employers' mistaken job requirements?
From: Elizabeth Vollbach <bethvollbach -at- EARTHLINK -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 13:17:03 -0800

Agreed. When all else is equal, hire the guy with more tool knowledge. But,
most often, all else isn't equal. And most often, a good tech writer doesn't
get her foot in the door unless she has lots of experience with FrameMaker and
RoboHelp. And, to most employers, it seems, that experience is a no.1
requirement and matters more than writing ability. And I wish we could,
somehow, straighten their priorities. But I think, as Eric says, it ain't
gonna happen.

I just interviewed for a marketing technical writer job. I got the interview
because I taught myself FrontPage. That's a good sign that I got credit for
that. But will I get the job? If so, maybe there's cause for optimism. Beth

Geoff Hart wrote:

> Elizabeth Vollbach wondered <<How can we convince employers who are
> looking to hire a tech writer that their primary concern should not
> be with the software programs a tech writer has experience using?
> that a technical writer is not, primarily, a typist?>>
>
> I guess the same way we convince people to have safe sex, not drink
> excessive amounts of alcohol before driving, save some percentage of
> their income for retirement, and stop smoking: a combination of
> education and blind luck. People (myself included <g>) tend to have a
> great deal of resistance to common sense, and you can generally
> expect that they won't change just because it makes sense for them to
> do so. As the old joke goes, "it only takes one psychiatrist to
> change a light bulb, but the light bulb has to want to change."
>
> Since I enjoy playing devil's advocate >@8^{)}, I'll turn your
> question on its head: _should_ we try to change this attitude?
> Strictly speaking, if I were a manager and I had a choice between a
> candidate who could drop right into my work environment with no
> training and an equally talented candidate who I'd have to train for
> weeks or months, I know which one I'd choose. If I'm in an area where
> there are tons of technical writers looking for relatively few jobs,
> I'd certainly use tool knowledge as one way to cut down on the number
> of people I'd have to interview. That's not fair, but then again, I'd
> be hired to actually produce documentation for a living, not read
> resumes and conduct interviews.
>
> Returning to non-devil mode @8^{)}, I certainly concede validity of
> your point, with one reservation: if I were sitting on the hiring
> side of the desk, I'd be very skeptical of technical writers in
> general, simply because there are so many incredibly bad ones out
> there. Like the bozo who wrote the installation guide for a DOS
> program (from a large, well-respected company) that I unsuccessfully
> tried to install over the weekend. It contained gems such as (paraphrase):
> "Add the following line to your config.sys file: [the path to your
> mouse driver goes here... me, I wouldn't recognize a mouse driver if
> it bit me, but since you're _not_ a techie, you undoubtedly know
> better than I do where it is, and if not, you can always return the
> software]" I kid you not... and the manual was printed in 7-point
> Helvetica with inadequate leading, was organized seemingly randomly,
> and had no troubleshooting section to speak of, which made reading it
> an absolute joy, I can assure you.
> --Geoff Hart @8^{)}
> geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
>
> "Patience comes to those who wait."--Anon.



--
http://www.evansplumbing.com


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