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I'm applying for a tech support job. The application is done through an online form. It has several questions I'm having trouble answering, such as:

describe your related experiences developing computer reports and user process documentation; including scope of your user documentation responsibilities and years’ of experience

I'm not sure why but I find these types of questions very difficult. It's like I just draw a blank and don't know where to start.

Another is

Tell us about your insight into [department name] operations related to this role

I'm tempted to just copy and paste the mission statement as a response. This is for a city job so the info is public.

Also

Describe your education and training that could be related to this job

Should I just list my degree?

What exactly do they want when the say "tell us about" or "describe your experience"? I recently got my degree in computer science, and while I did some internships, haven't really had a permanent job related to the field.

How long of a response should I give? How much time should I spend preparing my answers considering I'm also giving them my resume and cover letter?

  • do you have any experience in that field? Have you worked a similar job? – Benjamin Jan 5 at 2:54
  • I do have experience in the field. I guess what troubles me is, each time I did the task it was different, so how can I give a blanket answer? For example say I made 100 "user process documentation". Obviously I wouldn't actually describe 100 different documents in my response to the application? Also normally a companies processes are proprietary so how can I answer without giving a bunch of back ground? – userskoup Jan 5 at 10:17
  • "Also normally a companies processes are proprietary..." Not really, especially not if their processes are commonsense. Don't believe the drivel some companies lawyers spout out. – Stephan Branczyk Jan 6 at 0:44
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Most of those questions are to tell interviewer about some soft skills.

describe your related experiences developing computer reports and user process documentation; including scope of your user documentation responsibilities and years’ of experience

Here you should explain how you deal with documentation, company processes. For example you can explain (in free text) you read, edit create such documentation. If applicable you can mention the projects and how you create, update, structure the documentation.

Tell us about your insight into [department name] operations related to this role

Here you should explain how you communicate, email, IM, calls, meetings, tasks, how is organized separation of responsibilities, etc.

Describe your education and training that could be related to this job

For this you can explain which disciplines from your education, courses, certificates you get (those related to the job).

If you have problem talking, explaining such things will be good to selftrain. You can use your family members and create small talks (not sure 100% if this is the expression) and talk freely about such things.

  • RE: describe your related experiences developing computer reports. So from you're answer you seem to suggest to focus on the tools used, not so much trying to summarize the actual documents you had made. Am I understanding right? – userskoup Jan 5 at 10:19
  • @userskoup, the tools, instruments, approach. Of course you can mention the actual documents. As I said this is more or less open subject. – Romeo Ninov Jan 5 at 13:23
  • @userskoup: Did you actually develop any computer reports? – gnasher729 Jan 5 at 22:54
  • @gnasher729 that's one thing I'm unclear of, what is meant by "computer reports"? I guess it means any report made on a computer, so anytime I made a spreadsheet in an app like Excel, wouldn't that be considered a report? Or does it mean report on the computer itself, like how much RAM, CPU type etc it has? – userskoup Jan 6 at 0:09
  • @userskoup, by report they mean something like spreadsheet with some data, graphics, related to application(s) you support. – Romeo Ninov Jan 6 at 5:43
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I didn't actually see these as very open ended questions. Take

describe your related experiences developing computer reports and user process documentation; including scope of your user documentation responsibilities and years’ of experience

For me, the answer is very simple: I don't develop computer reports, and I don't develop user process documentation. My boss and marketing create the documentation for users. I don't. (My manager might get loaded with that kind of tasks if he doesn't watch out :-) So that's what I would answer. If they want/need someone doing these things, it's not me. Find someone else. We will both be happier that way.

If you have done the things they are asking for, tell them. If you haven't, tell them. Some jobs are not meant for you. That's fine.

  • To me "computer reports" seems like a not very well defined term. I could see someone using any sort of ticketing system to be doing a "computer report". – userskoup Jan 6 at 0:12
  • As for user process documentation, I wrote a wiki how to connect a network printer to a workstation, I would guess this counted? Of course this is just one example – userskoup Jan 6 at 0:12
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    Well, there you go. So your answer starts with "I created user processs documentation for many tasks, for example by creating a Wiki how to connect a network printer to a workstation" and so on. – gnasher729 Jan 6 at 0:24
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You'll need to be honest.

If you can't "describe your related experiences" because you've never done anything remotely related to what they are asking, then you'll just have to say something like "I have never done anything like that".

If you don't have any "insight into [department name] operations related to this role" then perhaps you don't yet have the background that makes you well suited to the role.

And if you are unable to "describe how your education and training that could be related to this job", then either you don't understand the job well enough or you are a poor fit.

You may need to look for a different job opportunity.

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I would pass on a company which has essay questions for you to answer like this. They are really pointless, because you could have a friend write the answers for you. Look for a better company to apply for positions with. Do networking to find a job.

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    Those and similar questions are in the list of many HRs. And they are not pointless. Good HR will catch you if the answers are not yours. And also will build good profile of you. – Romeo Ninov Jan 5 at 16:14

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