Your Resume: Stage Fright Much?

NotGoingToStopStage Fright Part 1: Your Resume: My Steyer Associates blog post this month is about ensuring that a technical communicator’s resume serves as a writing sample.

The typical barrier to resume writing? Most people tend to get introspective, worrying about how to present everything they know. So here’s free advice for anyone who needs to maintain a professional resume:

Update your resume when you are not looking for a job.

You’ll have much better insight about your skills and your presentation of self when you aren’t under pressure.

When you’re writing your resume, try not to make it an existential crisis. It’s merely a recipe. If you’re too nervous, ask a writing professional to look at it — not for grammar and spelling, but as communication that describes the essentials of your professional self. Here’s the resume recipe: Continue reading

All the Kool Kidz Are Doing It

I’m preserving, and commenting on, my FB top 10 most influential books.

Also, that Mother Jones article ticked me off, for its inability to read and interpret data, and because of it’s another foray into the analysis-free attack on “adults who read YA.” Have any of these armchair social critics considered that people read YA because that’s where a lot of the best stories are right now?
OK, rant off, here are my top ten:

Johnny Tremain1. Johnny Tremain
In the 5th grade, I discovered bildungsroman. Someday, I will do a deep analysis on this book, bow down before the greatness of its author, and endeavor to learn even more from her as a writer.
Disney movie version: C
(The Kindle price is appropriate  for grade-school kid content.)

HaveSpacesuit2. Have Spacesuit Will Travel
In the 7th grade, our union school district combined 5 tiny grade schools, and put all 6-8 grades in the same building.
And created a library bigger than the 2 shelves each classroom had.
I found Robert Heinlein, and from there, YA science fiction.
So anything you like about him as a person, but these books opened the world to me in the 7th grade.
Movie Version: How is this not long ago a movie, but instead still languishing “in development”?
(The Kindle price is marginal [$6.99] and the used books are all collectors editions, so the pricing of this is a crime against junior-high aged kids, all around.) Continue reading

10-point Scale for Judgment Calls

In a recent discussion launched by Leta Blake, several of us discussed writers who complain in a simplistic way about “too much sex,” especially in Romance. Others on the thread asked for sensitivity about a reader’s (or writer’s) desire not to be judged for their preferences and desires to avoid stories that prove to be triggering or personally distasteful.

I’ve longed for a broader set of measures for books than 5 unranked stars. I have to read a lot of both positive and negative reviews — and the online sample — to guess the quality and author direction for the story. I most want that level of information when choosing a Mystery, because the AlsoBot and ‘Other Titles Like This One’ don’t meet my needs on most retail or review sites.

But today we were talking about sexual situation in Romance. So here’s the evaluation scale I wish I could find when choosing  a story, and that I apply as a writer while deciding what belongs in a particular story. (And I bet this won’t display well on a mobile device). Continue reading

ch-ch-ch-changes – dubstep version

My July post for Steyer Associates plays on the David Bowie song — so if I’m going to risk an DMCA takedown, I might as well double-up and use the same headlines.

“every time i thought i’d got it made”

My Managing Up tips for TechComms professionals this month tackles the challenges of organizational and technology changes:

For those of us who’ve been around for a while, we turn over every rock labeled “new,” wondering: “Have I seen one like this before?”

Check the post for my best ideas on how to cope when management shakes the dice at your workplace.

“you’ve left us up to our necks in it”

Nine Volt Heart - A Rain City Comedy of MannersTwo “Rain City Comedy of Manners” books:

Artemis in the Desert

Nine Volt Heart

The Grrrl of Limberlost .

 

Continue reading

Docs Ready for Tech Review?

Show MarkupPenny Orwick and I completed a series of posts for Steyer Associates on peer reviews for technical documentation.

A point we both made in our example peer reviews was that the original draft content wasn’t ready for review, much less for publication. To wrap up our series, Penny suggested a checklist.

Today’s Ready for Review? A Checklist provides the basics, plus some cautionary notes about what you risk losing if you send poor docs for tech review:

  • Discrediting yourself with your technical experts
  • Discrediting yourself with your peers

Typically I link to my tech-communications blog topic with a parallel for fiction writers. But it seems like there are a lot of models out there. So this time I’ll just link again to my Checklist for Writer/Editor Collaborations.

Other topics in our “peer review tips” collection:

 

“What If They Fire My Boss?”

AbideThis article is for my peers and comrades who are technical-communications professionals that work in vendor contracting agencies, rather than working as full-time employees of a technology company.

Here in Seattle right now, you can’t innocently browse the Web, glance at your Facebook feed, or check scores in the local newspaper without a fearsome speculation jumping out to grab you:

“Layoffs of up to 5,642 Reportedly Expected”
“With Merger, Local Layoffs Are Expected”
“Will Wall Street Still Love this Company When It Lays Off 20% of  Workforce?”

Then your mother or sister or best friend from college calls and asks, innocently, “Will you lose your job with all these layoffs?”

… that haven’t actually happened …

Those of us who choose to work as contract employees are always steeped in uncertainty:

What happens if this contract is cancelled?

Will this contract be renewed when it ends?

Have all contracting jobs dried up?

Let me share some manager’s experience about the issues that can affect contract works when the “permanent” supervisor’s position seems to be in jeopardy. Continue reading

That Was the Week We Wish Wasn’t: Random Edition

When the pitchfork waving crowd corners the fu This past week has been entirely too eventful.

  • A  close friend in ICU, recovering too slowly.
  • Rewriting the same 10K-word chapter 8 days in a row.
  • A robber chased by an angry crowd crashes through the fence 16 feet above my backyard. He’s trapped in my courtyard, so we flee. Which means a whole police crew came to clear my house of a possible invader … just like on TV!

Oh, let’s relax with a peek at my text and phone message feed for the week. Continue reading

You Get What You Measure: Technical Communications Edition

You Get What You MeasureMy Managing Up post for Steyer Associates this month — You Get What You Measure — touches on the difficulty with most metrics for productivity and quality in technical writing. I offer ideas for how to create personal measures to increase your satisfaction as a writer, editor, or other working in the content publishing chain.

Making progress on quality goals, working toward expertise—I believe these are fundamentals for personal ambition.
Sure feels like metrics for corporate tech-comms consistently undermines those personal metrics these days, doesn’t it?

What can we do, oh noble content providers, but go forth and meet our daily word count?
My related post on metrics and productivity in fiction writing is here.