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How to ace an interview using a portfolio

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Have you ever interviewed for a position you wanted, but didn't get? Chances are you didn't achieve the four critical steps needed to receive a job offer. In this session, bestselling author and professional recruiter shows how a portfolio is not just a collection of writing samples--it is a tool you can use to control an interview and achieve specific objectives that result in a job offer. The segment includes what to put in a portfolio, how to get things to put in your portfolio, and most importantly, how to use your portfolio to ace a job interview.

Published in: Career
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How to ace an interview using a portfolio

  1. 1. Portfolios and Interview Strategies @JackMolisani President, ProSpring Technical Staffing www.prospringstaffing.com
  2. 2. About the Speaker • President, ProSpring Technical Staffing • Executive Director, The LavaCon Conference on Content Strategy and Technical Communication Management • Author, Be The Captain of Your Career
  3. 3. Overview • What is a Portfolio? • Interview Strategies • What to Put in Your Portfolio • How to Get Things to Put in Your Portfolio • Questions and Answers
  4. 4. Ground Rules • I welcome audience suggestions, anecdotes and opinions. • Disclaimer: Anything I say is just my opinion—it’s not true unless you try it and see if it’s true for you. • I’ll present contrasting points of view on certain topics and let you decide.
  5. 5. What is a Portfolio? A portfolio is a tool I use to walk potential clients down a path of understanding that: • I am an expert in my field • I really have done what I claim • I can do the same for them... • ...and solve the problems they are having.
  6. 6. Interview Strategies • Understand the job requirements. • Use your portfolio to guide the interview exactly where you want it to go. • Move the cycle forward (second interview, job offer, etc.)
  7. 7. About Portfolios • People believe what they see, not what they’re told. • “Tell a story” is good, but showing an example is better. • However, keep in mind a portfolio is not just a series of examples—it is a tool you use to walk a potential client/employer down a path of understanding….
  8. 8. Mechanical Basics Buy a nice leather (or faux leather) artist’s portfolio.
  9. 9. Mechanical Basics • Use clear page protectors. • Add tabs for each section.
  10. 10. Mechanical Basics • Label the tabs? It depends on how you plan on using your portfolio. • I don’t let an employer “scan” my portfolio. Remember, I’m walking him/her down a path….
  11. 11. What to Put in Your Portfolio Your Resume
  12. 12. What to Put in Your Portfolio A Document Plan/ Project Plan
  13. 13. Project Plan • Overview Purpose/ Objective of the Plan Terms and Abbreviations Change History Changes Anticipated • Project Description Title Purpose of the Document Audience(s) Scope Prerequisites Cross references Estimated Length Distribution Media
  14. 14. Project Plan • Style and Standards Use existing style guide, or create new Use existing templates, or create new Color or B&W Authoring tools (printed and online) • SMEs and Technical Reviewers Sources of technical information Subject matter experts (SMEs) Who will review/ approve the plan? Who will review/ approve the document?
  15. 15. Project Plan • Risks and Issues A “risk” is anything that could impact the project cost or schedule. An “issue” is something that just needs to be decided. Risk management (“shark mitigation”) • Content and Schedule Detailed content outline Proposed schedule Remember to adjust the schedule for holidays, vacations, etc. Triage (Determine what can be done in the time/money available.)
  16. 16. What to Put in Your Portfolio The Result of the Project Plan
  17. 17. Samples Other Samples
  18. 18. Samples • Other Items Advertisements Data Sheets Product Reviews Anything you can point to and say, “I was a member of the product development team that generated over X million dollars in revenue!”
  19. 19. How to Get Things to Put in Your Portfolio • Samples of Previous Work – Be proactive: get permission before you need it. – Get it in writing. – Frequent backups make a happy life! • If Needed, Create Samples – Create a project plan after the fact. – Create as many samples as you can with as many authoring tools as you can. – Rewrite something that’s really bad.
  20. 20. Awards and Recognitions • Remember, you are positioning yourself as an expert in your field. • Include awards, quotes, positive customer feedback, product reviews, etc. • Volunteer in professional organizations and then include the recognition. • Don’t be afraid to ask someone to put a compliment/success story in writing— it’s your marketing lifeblood!
  21. 21. Statistics • Many companies look at user documentation (and hence technical writers) as a necessary evil, and only fund the minimum amount possible to get the job done. • Why? Because they think documentation costs detract from the bottom line (profit).
  22. 22. Statistics • Want companies to give you money? Show how you can help the company save money or (better yet) make money. • Put statistics in your portfolio. Remember, people believe what they see, not what they are told. Show how you made a difference…!
  23. 23. Before-and-After Sample • Show a really bad “before” sample— the messier the better. • Chances are the person will have a hearty soul-cleansing laugh and will say, “That’s how our stuff looks!” • Then show a really good “after” sample. This shows you can make perfect clarity out of total chaos.
  24. 24. Stop Talking! At this point, the person knows you can help with their problem. It’s time to stop talking and wait for a let’s-move-forward statement.
  25. 25. Success! You walked the person down a path of understanding that you are the person to hire: • You understand the job requirements. • You made a great first impression with a professional looking portfolio. • By the end of your project plan, the person knows you know what you’re talking about. • You showed you can do what you said you could with examples you’ve created. • You showed you can help fix the client’s problem because you already have for someone else. What more could they want? 
  26. 26. Questions and Answers
  27. 27. jack@ProspringStaffing.com www.ProspringStaffing.com http://lavacon.org

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