Optimizing Content-Development Portfolios (6/2011)

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Silicon Valley hiring for content developers (Tech Writers, Course Developers, Marketing Communicators, etc) is picking up. But it's mostly the tried-and-true who are getting hired. To join their …

Silicon Valley hiring for content developers (Tech Writers, Course Developers, Marketing Communicators, etc) is picking up. But it's mostly the tried-and-true who are getting hired. To join their ranks, you need to prove your resume's claims. Here's how.

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  • 1. Optimizing your Content-Development Portfolio
    © 2011. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 2. Overview
    Context
    Goals
    What should be in your portfolio
    How to present your portfolio
    What to do if it’s proprietary
    Q & A
  • 3. Context
    My experience
    2 yrs’ journalism and marcom, 8 yrs’ tech pubs (as staff TW, Pubs Mgr, contract TW), 16+ yrs’ tech comms recruiting
    My role
    Matchmaker, advisor, candidate champion
    My sources
    (1) industry hiring managers, (2) personal observation, (3) job descriptions, (4) candidates’ input
  • 4. Goals
    • Keep you sane
    • 5. Let you secure work reliably and efficiently
    • 6. Give you ideas and hope
    • 7. Anticipate and address issues
  • Portfolios Overview
    Role of a Technical Communicator’s portfolio
    What to include
    How to present it
    What to do if it’s proprietary
    How to build a dev-doc portfolio
    What if you’re new to tech writing?
  • 8. Your Portfolio’s Job
    • Prove your resume’s claims
    • 9. Prove you understand your audience
    • 10. Prove you know the tools
    • 11. Prove you can organize, write, and deliver
  • What to include
    • Three kinds of software doc content
    Procedural
    Conceptual
    Reference
    • Three contexts for delivering that info
    Linear prose
    Task-based help
    Instructional/Tutorial
  • 12. What to include, pt 2
    Prove you can organize, write, & publish
    doc plan
    TOC
    conceptual content
    procedural material
    reference material
    glossary
    index
  • 13. What to include, pt 3
    What sells best?
    Clear, crisp, friendly prose (for end users)
    Screenshots, illustrations (for all)
    Code examples (for developers)
    Detailed, complete instructions (devs, admins)
    Scenario-based tutorials (for all)
  • 14. How to present it
    Keys to effective portfolio presentation
    Accessibility
    Relevance
    Context
  • 15. Accessibility
    Put it online
    LinkedIn profile (box.net, Creative Portfolio Display app)
    Website you control (private directory, private user/pw)
    Email (YouSendIt.com for large attachments)
    Guided tour (join.me, gotomeeting.com)
  • 16. Relevance
    Based on HM’s requirements
    Explain how you approached similar challenges
    Explain what you delivered and why
    Discuss what you learned
    Identify how you succeeded
  • 17. Context
    Identify your role in content development
    Explain circumstances
    Accessible SMEs, stable product, well-defined features, understanding of audience, authoring tools, schedule, protection?
    Pinpoint its strengths, weaknesses
    What would you do differently next time?
  • 18. But it’s proprietary!
    Bring solutions to achieve mutual goals
    Have prospect sign an NDA too
    Neuter proprietary content (ex. Disney character names)
    Redact
    Ask ex-boss for permission
    Ask IP owner’s Legal Dept for permission
    Take names, addresses, SSNs
  • 19. Build a Dev-Doc Portfolio
    Create your own rewrites of public domain doc
    See synergistech.com/dev-doc-portfolio.shtmlfor eg’s
    Demonstrate
    familiarity with technical subject material
    understanding of audience's needs
    working knowledge of authoring tools, and
    motivation, initiative
    Createshort before-and-after samples
  • 20. But don’t…
    say “I can learn anything; just teach me.”
    say “I can’t show you my samples.”
    make your inexperience (with their product, technology, tools, culture, dev environment) their problem.
    lead with your limitations
     Reduce their risk! And don’t make them think
  • 21. If you’re new to the business
    Read the Catch-22article
    www.synergistech.com/catch22.shtml
    Find ways to show
    Initiative
    Motivation
    Capacity to learn fast
    Value (“I’m a good investment, not a liability”)
  • 22. Interested? Intrigued? Let’s talk.
    Andrew Davis, recruiter
    C: 650-271-0148
    andrewd@contentrules.com
    www.contentrules.com/jobs