Tag Archives: job interview

Building a portfolio

Another great tip I received from my communication professors was to build a portfolio for job interviews.  Certain types of jobs require you to provide an example of your skills, so it is a good idea to have one prepared for job interviews.  For example, if you want to go into journalism, then you want to include examples of news stories or other articles you have written to showcase your ability.   If you are going into publishing, then you may want to bring examples to showcase your editing or design ability.

Since I wanted to prepare for jobs in advertising and public relations, my portfolio consisted of the projects I had completed in my InDesign and advertising classes, writing samples such as articles and memorandums, and documents I had designed such as a brochure for the usher program at the Mitchell Center.  I only bring my portfolio with me to job interviews where I think showcasing my work could be beneficial to gaining the position (for example, I have brought it for jobs related to graphic design or public relations, but not jobs that are focused more on customer service).  When I bring it out, I go through the portfolio with the person interviewing me and briefly explain the projects and why I wrote the documents.

As you continue to gain job experience, make sure you also continue to grow your portfolio.  When I worked at St. Paul’s, I always kept track of the projects I completed for the school and added them to my portfolio – everything you work on throughout your career can be useful in getting you a new job or a better position within your company.  You can also create an online portfolio that you can send in with your resume when applying for positions.  I am going to link mine as an example in case you want an idea of the sort of things to include in your portfolio.

I cannot recommend enough that you put one together, for bringing a portfolio to an interview really does boost your chances at landing that job.  It allows the interviewer to gauge your skills directly and gain an idea of what you can do, and can give you a leg up over the competition, especially if the interviewer is not sure of their abilities.

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The Real World: Part II

Tip #4: Build Your Portfolio

The reason why I actually got my internship (which has led to my full time job) is at my job interview I brought my portfolio to show my boss.  My portfolio contained examples of projects in my InDesign and advertising classes, pieces I had written for the communication department’s newsletter, and memos I had written for classes among other things.  You could include papers to give an example of your writing and editing skill or you could bring in a literary magazine/school newspaper with the article or piece you wrote for it.  If you want a job more related to art or design you could bring in examples of your work.  If you’re a business minor and you had a big end of the year project you can bring in the portfolio for that.  Any time you bring an example of the skills or work you have done it gives your possible future employer an example of the type of work you can do and it may give you that extra edge to get the job.

Tip #5: Prep for Interviews

The more experience you have doing interviews, the more comfortable and prepared you will be for them.  You can practice interviewing by having your friend practice with you, talking in front of a mirror, or going to job fairs.  Job fairs are also a great place to get resume tips and to network with possible future employers.

In fact, one reason why you should join different organizations is they sometimes have events where you can network with people.  For instance, I went to some PR conferences while in college and am involved in Sigma Tau Delta (the English International Honor Society) which has a yearly conference.  Conferences are great places to network, have people critique your resume, and practice talking to people/interviewing.  The more you throw yourself out there and gain contacts, the more likely chance you have to land yourself a job.

Here are some interview tips from the PowerPoint:

  1. Dress in a suit or conservative dress attire. No visible piercings or gaudy jewelry. Minimal is more
  2. Bring a pen and writing pad – if possible, get a professional portfolio for them.
  3. Practice potential interview questions before the big moment, on a friend or in front of the mirror.
  4. Have questions of your own to ask your interviewers, either about the company or your position. This shows engagement and interest.  This means researching the company you are interviewing for.

Tip #6: Never Give Up!

If your job interview didn’t go well or you didn’t get the job then don’t let it get you down.  By simply going to the interview you have gained valuable job interview experience.  The more job interviews you go to, the more you get exposed to different types of questions and interview styles so in the future you can prepare for them better.  After an interview you should assess what you did well and maybe some questions you could have answered a little better.  If you didn’t have enough job experience, go out there and build up your resume more.  Use the interview as a learning tool so the next time you go in for an interview you do it better and increase your chances of beating out the competition.

If you missed the first part of this post, you can find it here.

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Filed under 10 Things I Wish I Had Known as an English Major, After Graduation, Upperclassman