Writers with Technical Background Needed or Not

by Tom Adelstein

One year ago, I stuck my resume up on Dice and Monster expecting to find a nice job as a system administrator. I wrote a decent resume, outlined my abilities and accomplishments and waited to see my cell phone light up with calls. Nothing happened. I went to both job boards and saw that I had a few hits. I seem to remember about four hits on each board for a total of eight hits. I felt a tiny sense of discouragement.

I did get one call from a recruiter looking for a help desk specialist for Raytheon. The hours were simply horrible, I didn't know the product and I could make about the same amount of money flipping hamburgers at Jakes. Fortunately the recruiter, George, and I got to chatting. He told me that he wanted to retire after 40 years in the business, but his old client Raytheon kept calling him. He also conveyed something I didn't know.

When a job order from a large company like IBM went up on their web site, the young recruiters of today simply used software that went looking for candidates on the job boards and at the same time blasted out a "Hello" e-mail. George also told me that at the bottom of each e-mail the software placed a message saying: If you know someone with these qualifications, we pay referral fees.

George didn't like the state of his profession. He said that most candidates never met their recruiter. Then he asked, "What happened to the day when a company trusted you because you were a 'partner' and brought them people you knew and trusted?"

Finally, I got some advice from the elder statesman of the recruiting world. "Put two resumes on each site. Make one of them your Linux resume and the other a technical writer. Then switch them every morning."

I followed his advice and recruiters would call me. I heard this interesting repetitious statement a number of times: "I just found your resume and it fits a position that just opened up".

Sometimes, it's amazing when an industry professional shares knowledge outsiders don't have. So, what will it be? Admin or writer? How about first come first serve?