RE: Showing Samples: WAS (Designing your Documentation/WritingDepartment)

Subject: RE: Showing Samples: WAS (Designing your Documentation/WritingDepartment)
From: "Poshedly, Ken" <PoshedlyK -at- polysius -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 15:43:52 -0400

(After having seen the other replies to this topic, I've decided to post
mine, too (originally a private reply to Marsha).

I learned early on while a newspaper reporter in the 1970's that one's
portfolio was almost like a key to a job -- if you couldn't show
previous work samples, you weren't going to be seriously considered for
a new job somewhere else.

That's because news editors seem to have this ability to pick out of
your writing samples not only your writing skills, but also the kind of
information you sought from your sources, their replies and how you
presented that information. (Except for the pay, I really do miss those

Same thing when I moved into public relations and later, business
editing for awhile. Good editors WANT to see what you've done.

But my experience with tech writing samples is that you bust your
proverbial ass to succeed, accumulate a respectable and noble supply of
work samples and then a potential supervisor is only interested in
almost anything else besides looking at WHAT you have accomplished.
Perhaps that's because the head of a tech pubs function at a company
that makes engraving equipment can't relate to manuals about forklift
trucks, factory hot melt adhesive equipment or computer peripherals
(which is only SOME of what I went through last summer).

But just keep taking them -- you never know. You might hit upon a tech
pubs supervisor who is a former newspaper editor who wants to see your
work samples so he or she can see "not only your writing skills, but
also the kind of information you sought from your sources, their replies
and how you presented that information."

-- Ken Poshedly

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+poshedlyk=polysius -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+poshedlyk=polysius -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of John Posada
Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2006 2:22 PM
To: Robotti, Anne (Carlin); Marsha -dot- Kamish -at- shell -dot- com;
al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Showing Samples: WAS (Designing your

> > portfolio. When I try to show an interviewer some of my work and why

> > it's good (blush) they aren't interested! It bums me out. And this
> > is from people who end up hiring me.

I get them to want to see the portfolio by creating a mystery and
anticipation around it.

First, my portfolio is a 5inch thick black leather, zippered presenation
binder...that puppy cost me 80 bucks about 10 years ago.
It is quite fact, I have a should strap on's almost
the size of my computer briefcase, which I hang on the other shoulder.

When I walk into the interview, I make sure that when I place it on the
table or desk, it makes a nice solid "whump" sound and just a little
desk vibration. I then leave it alone. If they ask what is that, I say
"My portfolio." but nothing more.

So, we talk the normal interview talk. However, I notice that every one
in a while, their eyes wander to the portfolio on the's become
the proverbial "elephant in the room". Sooner or later, they ask to see
what's inside, which is all plastic sheeted pages and tabs according to
6 different categories of writing; proposals, specifications, customer
documentation, internal technical documentation, etc.

I was in sales for about 18 years. I learned what every good sales
oerson learns...people don't buy the steak...they buy the sizzle.

John Posada
Senior Technical Writer

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Re: Showing Samples: WAS (Designing your Documentation/Writing Department): From: John Posada

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