Make Them Remember You: Demonstrate Your Skills
By Kristine Penning, Creative Marketing Specialist, AgCareers.com
Your resume only tells your potential employer what skills you have. Showing your skills takes you a step above your resume. Highlighting and showcasing past experiences and projects from internships, competitions, coursework and more is a great way to do this and can be done in a variety of ways.
Portfolios & Websites
Traditionally, job seekers might bring in a portfolio detailing their work. Depending on your area of expertise and what the position calls for, this can include sales pitches, graphic design or writing samples, reports or studies you’ve conducted, and more. Physical portfolios are handy to have along at any job interview so you come prepared with backup if your interviewer wants to know more about a project or an experience you’ve had.
Digital portfolios are also becoming increasingly common in the form of personal websites. Consider creating one of your own. Sites like Weebly.com, Wix.com, and Wordpress.com offer web portfolio services free of charge. Most job seekers include similar materials that they would in their physical portfolio but in downloadable formats. Include the link to your online portfolio along with the physical resume and cover letter you submit to your prospective employer.
A leave-behind is literally something you leave behind for your employer to help remember you by. Essentially, it’s a miniature portfolio but creatively and concisely assembled. Leaving a leave-behind can be done before or after an interview: you can deliver your leave-behind to your employer to quietly reinforce your resume and help you secure that interview, or you can leave it in their possession following your interview to leave a lasting impression.
Some ideas? Make a video of yourself doing a sales pitch or explaining why you are perfect for the job and leave it on a flash drive for your interviewer. Showcase IT or software work you’ve done by leaving a disk behind. Create a “pamphlet” detailing your agronomic or crop knowledge. If you have a background in marketing, make a brochure or magazine detailing your experience and your desire to work for the organization you interview with. Take some time to think about your skills and experience and what your employer would be impressed by. Then highlight it with a leave-behind.
If the kind of work you do isn’t exactly portable and it’s not as easily shown in a leave-behind or portfolio, you might consider showcasing your skills during the interview. Demonstrate how you might explain a product to a customer. If the position you’re interviewing for requests that you speak another language and they ask you about it, answer in that language. While a demonstration or speech might impress your employer, be respectful of their time and space as well. It might be best to ask beforehand.