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PICList Thread
'OT: Jobs and PICs'
1998\05\11@175443 by Mark G. Forbes

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You're quite right that not everyone speaks English.
I don't speak German or Spanish well enough to try
writing in them, especially on technical topics. On
the PIC mailing list, I consider the source when
constructing my mental picture of the person on the
other end of the email.

That said, I stand by my original statment: In the
absence of other information, the written communication
you provide is the *only* way a person can judge you
or your skills. If presented with only limited
information, and forced to make a choice, I'll select
the person who seems most polished, professional and
capable for the job. Part of that impression is the
way they spell, punctuate and construct sentences.

This doesn't mean that anyone who can't write in perfect
English is somehow 'not good enough' or 'stupid'. Quite
the contrary! If I was trying to write this in Russian,
for example, I'd appear illiterate. My Swahili is
non-existent. My written English has mistakes too, but
I proofread and review to minimize them.

Sam's original question had to do with finding a job
with PIC programming skills as his 'claim to fame'.
I would agree with other list members that it's not
enough, and that the demonstrated ability to solve
problems is what employers are really looking for. As
a part of the problem-solving process, it's necessary
to communicate *in the local common language*, and if
you want an edge over the competitors for a job, it's
essential to communicate well in that language. Whether
it's Urdu, Finnish, Cantonese or Klingon, it's certain
that spelling, grammar, structure and punctuation
will still matter.

My point was not specifically about the PIC mailing
list; this is an open forum for people all over the
world, and not some sort of spelling competition. It
doesn't hurt to check your work, though....people
throughout the world will judge you on your ability
to communicate in writing, and you'd like to make
a good impression. If you're applying for a job, then
you'd better make sure it's perfect. The competition
for that job will be trying to beat you, and you need
every advantage.

You can be the world's best programmer, but you won't
get the job if you can't convince the employer that it's
true.

Mark G. Forbes, R & D Engineer  |  Acres Gaming, Inc.    (541) 766-2515
KC7LZD                          |  815 NW 9th Street     (541) 753-7524 fax
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http://www.peak.org/~forbesm
.....mforbesKILLspamspam@spam@acresgaming.com

"There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing
about."
---Anomalous

1998\05\11@192614 by Steve Baldwin

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> Part of that impression is the
> way they spell, punctuate and construct sentences.

Perhaps we could add brevity to that list and get on with it.
This topic gets done to death on every mailing list and is about as
productive as 150 emails about how bad spam is.

Steve.

======================================================
Steve Baldwin                Electronic Product Design
TLA Microsystems Ltd         Microcontroller Specialists
PO Box 15-680, New Lynn      http://www.tla.co.nz
Auckland, New Zealand        ph  +64 9 820-2221
email: stevebspamKILLspamtla.co.nz      fax +64 9 820-1929
======================================================

1998\05\12@030450 by William Chops Westfield

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Spelling is interesting.  Misspellings bother some people more than others.
I can read a mispelled word without skipping a beat, but get stopped short
on a "wrong word choice" (there/their/they're being the most common I see in
email and network newsgroups.)  Others are different.


   That said, I stand by my original statment: In the
   absence of other information, the written communication
   you provide is the *only* way a person can judge you
   or your skills. If presented with only limited
   information, and forced to make a choice, I'll select
   the person who seems most polished, professional and
   capable for the job. Part of that impression is the
   way they spell, punctuate and construct sentences.

Um, in the absense of other information, I won't be hiring anyone, thank you
very much.  It generally takes two rounds of interviews to get hired here,
and that's AFTER your resume gets screened and probably a short phone
interview. The on-site interviews usually involve half-a-dozen interviewers
whose style will vary from "an interview should be worse than a thesis
defense" to "we want this person to work here, and should convince him how
much fun it is."  Of course "technical communication" can be different than
"mailing list multlog", and there are plenty of people who can explain a
technical issue but not write a coherent "essay", and WAY too many people
who can spell fine but can't implement or explain technical issues.

THAT said, there are certain documents that you should NOT contain
significant spelling or grammer errors, regardless of your nationality,
native language, or how many times it takes you to get it right.  One of
those documents is your resume.  I wouldn't necessarilly diss a resume that
had the right skills on it but had gratuituous spelling errors, but the
people who feel that way are NOT the people who do the initial screening of
resumes in any company of reasonable size.

BillW

1998\05\13@021830 by White Horse Design

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I once worked in an English company with two people, one aged about 45
years and one 19 years old.

Both were secretaries.

The older one had never used a computer word processor before. She would
make lots of speeling mistookes. I set up a British dictionary for her. Her
spelling improved a little. We eventually ended up giving her work printed
on our own dot matrix printers - it usually cam back with more spelling
mistakes than it originally contained.

The 19 year old who was very computer conversant, produced shoddy work of a
similar standard.

I was sometimes asked why I spent valuable time helping out the older one
(Maureen).

The answer was that the 19 year old knew how to do everything that was
required of her but didn't give a damn, and the older one, who really
wasn't terribly good with a computer was expending tremendous effort, she
didn't succeed largely, but at least she was really really trying, and
putting in a great effort.

In business (in area's where it matters) effort doesn't count for much -
you must succeed (or go bust), however, the older lady was really trying to
succeed. Who say's you can't teach a dog new tricks?

Needless to say I had much more time to give to help Maureen than the other
one.

To her credit Maureen outlasted the prettier 19 year old but was eventually
"let go". But I still respected her efforts, she was at least prepared to
master the "infernal machine".

Regards

Adrian

WWW    WWW   Adrian Gothard
WWW WW WWW   White Horse Design
WWWWWWWWWW   +44-385-970009 (Mobile/SMS), +44-118-962-8913/4 (voice/fax)
WWWW  WWWW   .....whdKILLspamspam.....zetnet.co.uk, http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/whd
---
Developers of GPS satellite-based tracking systems

1998\05\13@021844 by White Horse Design

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At 23:58 11/05/98 PDT, you wrote:
>Spelling is interesting.

[SNIP]

>THAT said, there are certain documents that you should NOT contain
>significant spelling or grammer errors, regardless of your nationality,
>native language, or how many times it takes you to get it right.  One of
>those documents is your resume.  I wouldn't necessarilly diss a resume that
>had the right skills on it but had gratuituous spelling errors, but the
>people who feel that way are NOT the people who do the initial screening of
>resumes in any company of reasonable size.

Quite right.

I knew a Personnel Officer who bragged that he could (and did) process CV's
(that's what we call them) in 30 seconds from the first page alone.

Personally, any that come across my desk are read from cover to cover,
except those in garish ink or with pretty backgrounds (they are relevant
though for people applying for jobs as graphic artists etc). I don't much
care about the spelling, presentation is important (to me) but not the "be
all and end all".

For a permanent employee there are three basic questions:

1) Can they do the job?
2) Will they agree to do the job? (due to pay for example)
3) Will they fit in? (Company culture)

For a contract employee there are three basic questions:

1) Can they do the job?
2) How much do they cost? (Can we afford them)
3) When are they available? (We need them!)

In a nutshell, that is *IT* !

The first 30 seconds of the interview also count for a lot. Notwithstanding
the above questions in each case I have personally employed contractors
whom I detest, who have perhaps, questionable, hygienic standards, but who
nevertheless can provide the service required by the company at an
acceptable cost, and at an acceptable timescale. You don't need to *like*
people necessarily. It helps, and you would probably choose the more
likeable candidates from others.

I once worked for a company where the MD (CEO) detested the Technical
Director (and it was mutual) however they could agree (without saying so)
to work together. That is to say until the TD caused sufficient ructions
that I was called in to solve the customer's problem. I went on holiday for
a week (and due to my known aversion to unknown events was informed by the
MD to "expect changes" upon my return! They bundled him into a taxi and
kicked him out!)

(Still I got some work (still ongoing) with his new company that he set up
in competition!)

Regards

Adrian

WWW    WWW   Adrian Gothard
WWW WW WWW   White Horse Design
WWWWWWWWWW   +44-385-970009 (Mobile/SMS), +44-118-962-8913/4 (voice/fax)
WWWW  WWWW   EraseMEwhdspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTzetnet.co.uk, http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/whd
---
Developers of GPS satellite-based tracking systems

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