by Brad McNally, Head Editor, INALJ Ohio
Being Prepared: Building a Better Application Portfolio
“Be Prepared” – it is the motto of the scouts and no doubt you have heard it countless times throughout your life. For any job related situation, from application submission to interview and job offer, it is better to have more information with you than necessary instead of scrambling for an answer or offering to submit more information post-interview. Having a great portfolio at your disposal will help throughout the entire job search. Knowing what all to put in the portfolio is just as important as having it, so here is a list of things you may want to include.
- Several copies of your resume – For most instances, this should be tailored to the position, although it isn’t a bad idea to have a base resume that includes major highlights of education and work. If you are at the interview stage, use the same one that you already submitted.
- Reference letters – If you have full reference letters, bring a copy. If the letter is for the specific position that is wonderful, but often references will write a general letter that highlights their work/experience with you and understand that it will be used for multiple jobs. At the interview stage, bring a copy for the potential employer and be ready to point out how the reference shows you would be the best candidate.
- Recommendation sheet – If you use LinkedIn and have gathered recommendations from coworkers and supervisors, collect each one and put it into a sheet or two. You can use these to show an employer a quick glimpse at other referrals of your work in addition to reference letters. At the interview stage, these can help create a more complete picture of you as an employee.
- Tangible artifacts – these change depending on the position you are seeking and your employment history. The simplest way to explain it is to use my own experience here. I include information about my previous programs working in Youth Services. I also include any newspaper articles about my programs. This is a good way to show your creativity and efforts in your previous position.
- Statistics – You might be able to claim on a resume that you have improved program attendance or student credit attainment, but if you can bring along statistics (possibly in a nice infographic format) to show these changes it can help show that you are the best possible candidate. At the interview stage, these give you pages to use as references when you answer questions about your current or previous achievements.
There may be more bits of information that you would want to add, but these five things will give you a nice solid start and help you create something to show employers just how wonderful you are.