Do you want to knock their socks off when interviewing for your dream job? If so, stand out from the crowd by creating a portfolio of your work.
Regardless of what you do for a living, you can show your future boss or clients that you are perfect for the position. A portfolio with real examples of your work communicates more than just the quality of your work. It demonstrates your passion and commitment to your profession. So let us take a closer look at what a work portfolio is and how to create one. Remember, seeing is believing.
A portfolio is a collection of the best examples of your work. No matter what kind of work you do, it showcases what you excel at. For example ...
The benefits of having a portfolio make investing the time to create it worth it. Actions do speak louder than words.
Many times, interviewers hear every person say the same thing - they are the best person to hire and they want the job. Often, there is little separating most of the applicants - so what they look for are the stars, the dream candidates who make it obvious they are a perfect fit for the job.
One way interviewers used to spot a great applicant was to see who invested the time to learn about the company and craft a custom resume. But a lot of people have caught on to this, and the Internet and word processors now makes it easy to do some quick research and create a tailored version of your master resume before an interview.
So now, interviewers are looking beyond your basic company knowledge and work history to focus on what you can realistically do for them in the future. And the best indicator of future performance is the past work you have done.
Showing them what you can do with a portfolio lets them see how good you really are, and eliminates any question about you exaggerating. The confidence it takes to let your work speak for itself, as well as being honest about your skill level, is impressive and makes you stand out. And the care and effort you put into selecting and arranging the best examples of your work is something a good hiring manager can quickly see during an interview.
So if you are walking into a job interview empty handed, you are missing a great opportunity to prove you are the right candidate for the job.
Even if you never show your portfolio in an interview, it is still a good idea to create one. Spending the time to create a portfolio means you are very prepared to answer any interview question about your experience, skills or past work. Also, when you see your body of work, your confidence goes up and that shows in the interview. And it is a great tool for refreshing your memory while you are in the waiting room and keeping your spirits and confidence up while job hunting.
One of the best benefits is giving you some time in an interview to gather your thoughts. Somewhere in just about every interview, a question is tossed at you to see how well you deal with uncertainty. Often it is about some skill or experience that was not mentioned in the job ad.
The minute it takes you to find the example in your portfolio that speaks to that issue gives you a chance to think through what is behind the question and organize what you want to say. And having just the right example to answer the question tosses the question back to the interviewer, who usually expects the person interviewing to be stumped or unsure of what to reply.
In interviews, words are cheap and people often either over or under represent what they can do. Examples of your work turn your interview into an opportunity to show potential clients or hiring managers where you excel and exactly what they can expect if they hire you. And that often means the interviewer can reach a level of comfort about bringing you on board that few candidates can match. And that could just give you the edge in an interview and mean you get the first offer.
Your portfolio should be built around four items...
Once you have all this assembled into a three-ring binder or portfolio case, you need to know how to decide when and how to use it in an interview.
Definitely take your portfolio along on every interview, but do not open and show it if it does not feel right. In instances where the job is clearly not a fit, or you feel the interviewer will be put off or overwhelmed, you will want to keep it discreetly tucked out of sight. If you are feeling very confident, have your portfolio clearly in hand when you meet the interviewer. Perceptive ones will ask what it is if you lay it on the edge of the desk at the beginning of the interview. You can even mention you brought it along in case they wanted to see samples of your past work. Then it is up to the interviewer to decide when and if they want to see it. If you are not sure, you can pull it out only if you need to illustrate a particular point. For example, you get a question about your experience and you have an example which clearly illustrates it. In that case you can open your portfolio and give the interviewer something to look at as you talk. However, once you bring out your portfolio, you need to be prepared for the interviewer to flip through the entire portfolio. This can create a great opportunity to talk about all your experience and skills. Then again, the hiring manager can become so curious about your portfolio and what you can offer that time flies and you miss out on hearing a detailed description of the job or being able to ask questions to see if you are seriously interested in it. The bottom line is to use the portfolio judiciously.
An awesome work portfolio is a rare win-win interview tool. It gives you an unexpected edge in interviews and lets the interviewer get a much clearer idea of what you can bring to the company. And it might even mean that you end up interviewing for more than one position or get called back to interview with other departments or divisions in the company.