Well, I guess I can kind of see both sides. I've been a tech writer at
my company for a year and a half, and it is frustrating when others
assume that if you can type and spell
(or *not* spell..."hey, that's what spell-check is for, right?") then
you're fully qualified to be a tech writer.

But it is hard to break out of the "admin" mold. I don't have a degree
in English, but I have a BA in Psychology. I majored in Psych because
I thought the classes were really quite interesting, not having a
specific career goal in mind. After college, I started temping, and
ended up in an admin/customer service role at a manufacturing company.
Among other things, I wrote work instructions and the like for my
department, learned PageMaker and became an expert at Word. Two
acquisitions, two office moves and 2 years later, the tech writer
position here opened up, and I applied.

I think my former boss went to bat for me, as they moved the position
out of the marketing department and into the Engineering Services
department (where I was already), and here I am. I've since taken
classes in Frame and a Tech Writing course through University of IL at
Chicago, and I find I have an affinity for the job.

Moral of my story, I guess, is that it's not a bad thing to think
outside the box, hiring-wise, but yes, it is hard to effectively weed
out the unqualified while finding the right person for the job.

-Lise

On 5/15/07, Rene Stephenson <rinnie1 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I have had secretaries apply for tech writer openings in my group. Internal 
> candidates always get phone screening, so I'd have to call them. I always 
> asked what they felt were their qualifications, and they all responded that 
> they had "good English" and were experts with MS Word. They wrote lots of 
> corresondence and updated their draft letters with the "edits" from their 
> bosses, so they "knew" how to handle document review. We had to start posting 
> BA or higher in English or directly relevant field as a minimal requirement 
> with no "equivalency" allowed.
>
>  Rene
>
>
> Keith Smyth <smythkl_1 at express56.com> wrote:
>  As in "So easy a Caveman could do it"?
>
> I am sure all of us have had the experience of someone totally clueless
> thinking all we do is type. Had a gal at one of our square dances from
> our church in 1983 tell me that while she is a store clerk, she is going to
> become a tech writer, "because if you can do it, anyone can do it".
>
> And she went to an interview. Never heard from her again.
>
>
> >You think that's insulting? When we had a req open for another tech
> >writer in January, we had people from our shipping department and the
> >warehouse coming to us and asking us if they could apply for the job. As
> >if Tech Writing was so easy, someone with shipping or warehouse
> >experience could do it.
> >
> >
> >Thank you,
> >
> > -Gillian
>
> --
> Keith L. Smyth
> President
> Smyth Consulting
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Religion was in charge during the dark ages.
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Technical Documentation Consultant
>
> _______________________________________________
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>
> Rene L. Stephenson
> eNovative Solutions, Inc.
> Business Phone: 678-513-0051
> Email: rinnie1 at yahoo.com
>
>
>
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