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[email protected] jimmy.fuego@orange.net is offline
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Default What jobs involve formatting of long word docs?

Hi Everyone,

For the last three years I have worked for a large IT company creating
and formatting long, complicated proposal documents. I usually work
with a bid/proposal manager and a team of technical writers. They
provide the content and I produce the actual documents - keeping on top
of the editing, formatting, version control, reviews etc through to
final print and despatch to customer.

I love this kind of work (even the late nights and tight deadlines),
but recently the amount of work has slowed and Im thinking about moving
on. But the question is what sort of jobs I should be looking for?

I cant seem to find many vacancies for Proposal Development/Publishers
so what other roles need advanced Word skills for long docs?

Maybe some of you MVP's could advise me please as I would like to
continue to utilise my skills in a job I enjoy.

Thanks :-)

James

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John McGhie [MVP - Word and Word Macintosh] John McGhie [MVP - Word and Word Macintosh] is offline
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Posts: 506
Default What jobs involve formatting of long word docs?

Hi Jimmy:

What you have been doing up to now is usually described as the "Production
Editor". People working in this space describe themselves as "Information
Engineer", "Technical Writer", Production Manager" or "Project Manager".

Most employment agents have a "list" of people on their books who specialise
in bids/proposals/tenders. As you know, the work is contract, very short
term (usually) and extremely highly pressured. However, I would discuss
"late nights" very carefully at your interviews: make sure that you do not
have to admit that it was YOUR misjudgement that caused the late night :-)

(Yes, a late night is ALWAYS an error. Late nights mean a substantially
elevated risk of error or failure and inevitably lower quality. If they
happen, they're bad. If they happen often, you're bad :-))

On a tender project (particularly if you are in charge of it) your
contingency-planning and disaster-recovery skills need to be absolutely
bullet-proof.

You need to be able to code VBA macros that work, with 90 minutes left to
your press deadline on a six million dollar tender. And be able to
guarantee your client that you will produce a compliant tender response 89
minutes from now...

You need expert-level skills in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You
also need to be very strong in Microsoft Project. An interviewer will
probably want to see examples of press-ready documents longer than 200
pages. When I am interviewing, I will open such a document on MY computer:
if the pagination falls to pieces, they don't get the job.

Spreadsheets with LOOKUP formulas (I will change a number in one of the
cells: then look for rounding errors in their formula -- if I find one, they
don't get the job...)

And at least some evidence of solid project management skills. Take an .MPP
with you: I will pick one of your assignments and ask you to explain the
considerations. If they DON'T bring an MPP with them, I will open MS
Project and ask them to start setting up a blank project :-)

You also need to be an absolute expert at people skills. Chances are you
will have maybe 40 subject-matter experts, all of whom are business people
who do not have the first clue about long document production and have never
worked to project deadlines before. Your first task is to persuade them to
deliver ON TIME. Expect some interview questions about conflict situations
you have been in, what you believe caused them, and how you resolved them.
I tend to be wary of people who say "I took the job off them and fixed it up
for them." I am trying to hire people who can help OTHER people do a good
job, not do it for them.

You need to know how to get the best out of each of the individuals on your
project, and also be as hard as nails. This is not a place for touchy-feely
"team dynamics". If you're the kind of person who agonises for several
hours before deciding to sack someone, major tender projects are not for you
:-)

But if you have all the above, the work is exciting, and extremely highly
paid :-)

Good luck to you!

On 8/8/06 4:10 AM, in article
,
" wrote:

Hi Everyone,

For the last three years I have worked for a large IT company creating
and formatting long, complicated proposal documents. I usually work
with a bid/proposal manager and a team of technical writers. They
provide the content and I produce the actual documents - keeping on top
of the editing, formatting, version control, reviews etc through to
final print and despatch to customer.

I love this kind of work (even the late nights and tight deadlines),
but recently the amount of work has slowed and Im thinking about moving
on. But the question is what sort of jobs I should be looking for?

I cant seem to find many vacancies for Proposal Development/Publishers
so what other roles need advanced Word skills for long docs?

Maybe some of you MVP's could advise me please as I would like to
continue to utilise my skills in a job I enjoy.

Thanks :-)

James


--

Please reply to the newsgroup to maintain the thread. Please do not email
me unless I ask you to.

John McGhie
Microsoft MVP, Word and Word for Macintosh. Consultant Technical Writer
Sydney, Australia +61 (0) 4 1209 1410

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