Creative Job Search
On-line Job Search Guide

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Work Samples

"A picture is worth a thousand words." If this adage is true, consider the possibilities for showcasing your qualifications. Presenting a "picture" of your accomplishments using work samples produces immediate impact and understanding of your skills.

Work samples can be presented in a variety of forms. Traditionally, artists and photographers prepare a portfolio of their best work. Video and audio tapes are used by those seeking work in the performing arts. Published works are the portfolios of journalists, reporters, copy writers, and the like.

Almost every occupation lends itself to the use of work samples. A chef or baker could show photographs of culinary creations. A tailor or seamstress could wear examples of the clothing they produced. Office support staff might present brochures, reports, or newsletters as samples of their work. Pictures of auto restorations could be presented by a mechanic. Facilitators or trainers could use participant evaluations and videos of presentations. Other sources of work samples include hobbies, volunteer work, and other interests.

Gene, a truck driver, built a home for his family during his free time. He did most of the work himself. When an injury forced him to find another occupation, Gene applied for a position at the "help desk" in a building supply center. Using a set of photographs his wife had taken during the construction of their house, Gene convinced the hiring manager he had the necessary knowledge of and experience with building materials and tools.

Work sample advantages:

Be proactive with your work samples. While a work sample may be used any time during your job search, you would usually present them at an interview. Promote the fact that you have them and want to use them to illustrate your skills, abilities, and accomplishments. After all, you are proud of what you have done. Show it!

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This page was last updated on April 17, 1997
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