Hello New Year! Meet Hyper Writer, LLC

I’ve been thinking about freelancing part-time for a long time and after completing a class recently at The Decatur-Morgan County Entrepreneur Center last Fall, I decided to strike out on a new venture in 2016.

So with that, I created Hyper Writer, LLC where I will be completing freelance documentation projects. I want to convey that documentation can be exciting and interesting and not just something that gathers dust on a shelf! I also want to share my love of writing and all the energy that can be focused on helping users understand software applications either through web or mobile interaction.

Software is changing and we need someone to manage the information so everyone can enjoy learning.

As for the hyper writer herself, I have over 16 years of experience writing software documentation for individuals, recruiters and companies large and small. You can contact me at stef.whitlow@gmail.com or click my contact link on this site for more information.

I will be transitioning this site and creating http://www.hyperwriter.net with a lot more bells, whistles and the latest documentation, please stay tuned for updates coming and moving soon!

Hyper Writer is always moving:

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High Five – 5 Positive Things about the Job Market

Today’s positive quote relates to the title of the post: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible!” I thought I would try to find five positive things about the current job market. Let’s face it, the job market is pretty dismal – what jobs are available require an Einstein-level understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); student loans are out of control, pay is not keeping pace with inflation, etc. Yes, there are plenty of checks in the negative column on the balance sheet.


“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible!”

With all the negatives having been mentioned, I venture forward to find some positives and live up to Walt Disney’s quote about finding fun in doing the impossible.

  1. The unemployment rate has gone down. As of last week’s job numbers over 140,000 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate went from 6.2% to 6.1%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover report from June 2014, there are 4.7 million unfilled job openings in the U.S. right now.
  2. Retraining opportunities are available. The main reason for the unfilled jobs in America is the skills gap. By retraining or becoming certified in a technology or manufacturing field, you could get a new position and fill in the skills gap. Resources are available through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (check at your local career center for details). In the process of retraining, review some recession-proof careers.
  3. Reinventing yourself is possible. So there are no openings in your field but you see an opening in a job you’ve always wanted to try. Review your resume, see what skills transfer, write an exceptional career transition cover letter and apply. Other options are to start a new business, open a franchise or take your years of experience and begin a freelance career.
  4. Reconnecting with your network is acceptable. You may not have spoken to a contact in a few years, so now is the time to run through your LinkedIn connections and reconnect – call, send an email or make invitations for coffee. People, especially those in your network, want to help you find a position, even if they cannot offer you one directly.
  5. Information-age technology can work for you. Don’t just think of how the applicant tracking system rejects your resume, think of what possibilities technology offers. You can apply for a job in Australia and do the interview via Skype. You can work out of your house for a company in London. It is possible to check a company’s mission statement, at what price it is publicly traded, what the employees think of working there, and in what charities it participates, all from the comfort of your table at Starbuck’s!

So, yes, the current job market is not a happy place, but you can make it a better place for you – transfer your skills, apply for an international work-from-home job or train in a recession-proof career to fill one of the 4.7 million open positions. It is always possible to be negative but you feel a much greater sense of accomplishment when you have a positive outlook and do the impossible.

High Five – Help Someone!

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” This quote is attributed to Ronald Reagan and it resonated with me in two positive ways. One is that you could help someone by volunteering outside of the work environment. Another is that you could help someone by training within the work environment.


“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone!”

I attended a conference over the weekend and one of the panels was about running (something near and dear to my heart.) One of the suggestions that stuck with me was to volunteer for a marathon race. This had never occurred to me since I run 5Ks. But the presenter stated that seeing a sign of encouragement or hearing cheers at mile 21 of a 26 mile race and having some chocolate or gummy bears available at that mile marker would make all the difference in the world. I know I wouldn’t be able to help everyone – some may not stop or be concentrating too hard on the finish line to even hear the cheer – but I could help someone finish who may be considering giving up at that crucial point.

On the training front, I have written processes to help users find their bearings within a new application. I’ve produced hard copy, online help, video screen capture processes and release notes to help that someone either with a refresher or those just logging into the application for the first time. Documentation is more often met with a grimace than a smile but I know that my step-by-step instructions helped someone; not everyone, but someone.

Another instance of helping someone involves starting a local job networking group. Our mission for our Job Networking Group is to allow job seekers a place to meet with each other, area human resource representatives and career counselors to get employment advice and resume reviews. There are people that may not attend or may only attend one meeting; however, there may also be a member who attends, meets a recruiter, gets a job lead and starts to work in a few weeks. All of this because volunteers got together and started a group.

As your positive thought for the day, keep in mind that you may not be able to save the world all at once but by helping where you can; everyone can help at least one person.

It worked for Kris Kringle & Macy’s

You know that part in Miracle on 34th Street where the disheveled mother tells Santa (aka Kris Kringle) to discourage her son from wanting ice skates for Christmas because she can’t find them at Macy’s? And what does Mr. Kringle do? He tells the boy he can have the skates for Christmas and winks at the mom, telling her later that Gimbels (a rival to Macy’s) has the skates. She is so impressed that Macy’s is not being so commercial (at Christmas!) as to only market their own store but are thinking of the customer.  She adds that she will become one of Macy’s most loyal customers because of their generous policy.

Well, let’s flash forward 60+ years into the future.  What if, say, XYZ Company’s jobs openings page matched you to a job AT ANOTHER COMPANY if they didn’t have an opening you qualified for? Here Kris Dunn of iMomentous makes an argument for that very philosophy.

TalentBin as the next recruiting tool?

I ran across this post from David Zax on Fast Company detailing how TalentBin would be giving LinkedIn a run for its (8K a year compared to a 6K a year) recruiter fee. LinkedIn relies on the member to input their resume-like information whereas TalentBin searches the web for the finer points a LinkedIn member may have left out of their profile. TalentBin is banking on the fact that your social presence on the usual sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as well as on Wikipedia, Meetup, GitHub and Pinterest will show a hidden talent such as sharing code you’ve written, a publication on a particular subject, comments you made to solve a specific problem or an elaborate architectural drawing you’ve made. TalentBin’s search engine seeks candidates through skills, interests and actions in the social media world.

Check out the TalentBin site for details and be sure to view their demo video!

2013 May Be the Year

Of late I’ve been researching Human Resource trends (and teaching myself more about blogging!). I started working in an office in the 90’s (not dating myself, I swear) and at the time applying for a job was pretty simple. The process involved getting a Sunday newspaper, circling jobs you qualified for, typing out a resume (one type written page could be photocopied many times) and a separate cover letter on thick, expensive “resume” paper then putting it into an envelope (of the same paper quality as the resume) with a stamp and a mailing address as stated in the advertisement.  A day or two went by; you received a call from HR and were presented with a time for an interview. You dressed in a suit and showed up in person to answer the interview questions, and within a few more days you received the call telling you that you had the job.

Flash forward to the early 21st century: the Sunday paper now just exists for coupons. Jobs sites supply the well of jobs and you are now required to apply online – tailoring your resume to the job listed – and then enter specific details into an applicant tracking system (ATS). Your other job application options include creating a stellar LinkedIn profile where recruiters may search you before you can even apply to a job and networking with professionals in your field who may know of an “unadvertised” position. You are also encouraged to create a Twitter resume, post extensively to Google+, make your whereabouts known in FourSquare, post significant details about your life in Facebook, update wiki’s and make a video for YouTube – all of these actions increase your influence in the social media world and bump you up in the search engine ranks. Your interview may be conducted by a recruiter a world away via Skype while you sit before your webcam (or just hold up your smartphone!) dressed in business casual attire. That same recruiter may send a text with a 1AM time stamp telling you that you have the job!

As you can see, so much has changed and evidently, the social media revolution has reached a new point and is transforming the working world once again.

According to a post from HRMorning.com blogger Dan Wisniewski, those looking for a working environment outside the rigid 9-5-onsite-only standard may get their wish starting in 2013. For years workers – namely Generation X and the Millennials – have wanted more control over their schedules; or at least to have hours that allow for more work-life balance. Mr. Wisniewski states that this year may see a rise in companies agreeing to offer more flextime and telecommuting options. Human Resource Departments may use video to conduct online interviews, which saves the employer and the applicant time as well as money.  Lastly, the idea of using temporary or freelance workers will grow in popularity because hiring these people will allow companies to be more competitive (no benefits) and allow the workers to gain more experience and flexibility.

Wow, 2013 may be the year when everything we’ve known about applying for, obtaining, and retaining a job changes. With that, I can honestly say that I appreciate the opportunities and challenges of being social networking savvy.  I especially appreciate it since I am from the generation that saw these trends just as they were beginning to rise.

The Future is Social

Jeanne Meister’s blog post details how 2013 will be the year when recruiting takes a bigger step into the social media world. She states that more companies will incorporate games, or “gamification,” into their training to engage employees.  Additionally, Ms. Meister adds that resumes will be replaced by personal brands established in the social media world, for example, how you appear in online searches, your current tweets, your LinkedIn community and recommendations, and your ability to influence others (Klout score!). She also writes that recruiters are taking sourcing to a new level by scanning updates to online profiles (indicating those planning a job search) and the applicant’s extensive use of social media.

Read the full article here:

2013: The Year of Social HR