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January 2003 > Chapter News
Volume 42, Issue 5
2003 Competition Awards Banquet
February 7, 2003
Join us for a chance to network with your friends and colleagues and exchange
technical communication ideas at the 2003 STC Houston Awards Banquet, as well
as see the winning entries from the competitions.
Learning from the experiences of your colleagues will help you Master Knowledge
for Success in 2003.
The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with a viewing of the winning entries,
followed by the banquet and awards at 7:30 p.m., and after-banquet viewing at
9 p.m. It all takes place at the Hilton Houston Westchase & Towers at 9999
Westheimer Road (at Briarpark between S. Gessner and Beltway 8) on Friday, February
Look for your invitation in the mail. Or if you want to ensure that you have
the latest information, go to the STC Houston web page at www.stc-houston.org/competitions.html.
Photos from the Employment STK Session
January 11, 2003
January Program Meeting Highlights
Career Growth and Development Progression
Our progression gave people the opportunity to listen to three different topics
during the meeting. Each speaker was seated at a different table in the room,
and when one session ended, people moved to the next one.
Bring a Friend!
Because we wanted to reach out to the technical communication community, the
January meeting was free to members who brought a guest who was not a member.
Non-member guests also received free admission when they left their name, street
address, e-mail address, telephone number, and employer name. For members who
did not bring a guest, normal fees applied.
The following topics were presented:
How to Write a Dynamite Resume by Joan Bolmer
Writing your own resume is one of the toughest writing jobs you will ever
have! In today's talent-flooded market, a resume gets between 10 and 20 seconds
of review before it is read or discarded. Many resumes are sorted and selected
by computer on the basis of key words before reaching human eyes. Therefore,
it is critical that the first few sentences on your resume grab and hold the
readers attention and that the key words used throughout the resume are specifically
Joan Bolmer, business and career coach has, for the last two years, been a
part-time consultant for Thompson-DBM, one of the three largest international
outplacement firms in the world. Joan is an expert on the latest techniques
in resume writing, job search, and interviewing. She led an interactive session,
sharing with participants the structure and dynamics of resumes that are read
and acted upon.
Independent Contracting: Another Option for Career Growth by Ryan Bernard
and Melanie G. Flanders
Many people dream about being their own boss, but few have tried to turn that
dream into reality. This is your opportunity to hear from two people who have.
Ryan Bernard and Melanie G. Flanders taught the ins, outs, ups, and downs of
independent contracting. People learned how to get started, how to weather the
hard times, and what makes independent contractors tick.
Ryan Bernard is president of Wordmark Associates Inc. with over 25 years experience
as an independent contractor, book author, and consultant to some of the top
names in the Fortune 500.
Melanie G. Flanders is chief information architect with KnowledgeMasters,
Inc., a firm that provides information design, development, consulting, and
training services. Ms. Flanders has more than 25 years of experience in technical
communication, seven as an independent contractor and consultant.
Marketing Yourself by Having an Expert Reputation by Cathy Stucker
Everyone wants to work with the expert, and you can be that expert. You have
a unique set of skills and experience that give you expertise no one else has.
Cathy Stucker will show you how you can gain the respect of others in your industry
by generating publicity, writing articles, speaking, teaching, and taking other
reputation-building actions. Then you will learn how to use the prestige of
your expert status to get the job you've always wanted, start and grow your
own business, and discover new opportunities.
Cathy Stucker, www.IdeaLady.com, helps
entrepreneurs, authors, and professionals attract customers and become famous.
She is a published author, speaker, and seminar leader. Her articles appear
on major web sites and in national publications. Ms. Stucker has appeared on
Houston television programs and on radio shows from coast to coast. She has
been featured in the Houston Chronicle, Houston Business Journal,
Black Enterprise, and Woman's Day.
Nonmanagement Career Path for Technical Communicators by Deborah Silvi, Susan
Stotzer, and Jamie West
Writing groups are challenged to find ways to attract and retain high-quality
writers. After several years writing for a particular company, the job can become
boring and stale. If writers are not interested in management, they may feel
as if they are trapped in a dead-end job. To further their careers and keep
the job interesting, they might move into development, usability, or QA. Or
they might move on to another company. Either way, the result is the same--the
writing group loses a talented writer. This presentation discusses a solution—a
technical career path. This presentation outlined the benefits of a technical
career path and provided suggestions for proposing the idea to management and
implementing this program.
Deborah Silvi is an information development manager at BMC Software, where
she established a documentation consistency group for a number of related products.
Deborah has been a technical communicator for over 20 years and has served in
a number of roles, including managing programmers and writers, coordinating
product releases, writing manuals and training materials, and developing online
help. She is a past president of STC Houston and an Associate Fellow.
Susan Stotzer is an information development specialist at BMC Software, where
she specializes in HTML-based help development. Susan also develops training
information, procedural documentation, templates, and style sheets for other
BMC Software writers. She has worked as a technical writer for nine years and
is a senior member of STC. She has a degree in technical communication from
Texas Tech University, where she was the secretary of the STC student chapter.
Her honors include an STC regional technical publications competition award.
Jamie West is a lead information developer at BMC Software. Jamie has been
writing technical documentation for nine years with emphasis in online help
development. She has a master's degree in technical communication from Texas
Tech University, where she was president of the STC student chapter. She is
a senior member of STC. Her honors include regional and international technical
publications competition awards.
What Software Companies Look For by Paul Mueller
The NetIQ interview process involves multiple stages with various skills being
evaluated during each stage. During this session, we walked through the interview
process and discuss the skills examined during each phase. We also discussed
how the NetIQ environment affects the candidate requirements and how other software
development environments may have slightly different requirements. This session
provided valuable information for both job candidates and those responsible
for their company's interview process.
Paul is a senior information development manager for NetIQ Corporation, which
develops e-business management software for corporate networks and applications.
He received a B.S. in computer science and a B.S. in mathematics from Pennsylvania
State University and has been involved in technical communication for more than
15 years. His past notable projects include the initial help system prototype
for IBM OS/2, the RISC System/6000 online library, and embedded help solutions
for NetIQ's products.
Portfolio Development—Show Your Stuff by Connie Davis and Everett Puckett
Connie and Everett spoke about the do's and don'ts of presenting your best
work to prospective employers and clients. They presented a sample portfolio.
Connie and Everett work with Kitba Consulting Services, L.P.