Recently on “Hired,” a new MTV documentary series that follows college graduates in their pursuit to find their dream jobs in a difficult job market, one prospective candidate designed a shoe for her interview for a design assistant job at Steve Madden. She didn’t get the job, but the shoe design for Steve Madden did get her a second interview.
It seems pretty brilliant when you stop and think about it. Why wouldn’t you bring an example of your work or create something specific to the company that ties in the requirements of the job you’re applying for? In addition to a great résumé highlighting your skills and accomplishments, visually showing the interviewer the value you can bring with a tangible example of the work you could do for the company can put you at the top of the list for the position.
If you’re in the communications field and interviewing for a job that requires public relations work, create a scenario for the company and present a press packet on how you would address the objective. If you’re applying for a journalist position, provide writing samples like news stories, feature stories that publications could feature, in addition to samples from other publications you have written for. For those in graphic design, create a design for a product that the company you’re applying for could sell. You will find that in creative fields like these, you can create something that will show your value and what you can bring to the organization.
For fields like finance and accounting, job seekers will want to bring documentation on how they saved their past employer money. It’s a little more difficult to research a company’s financial status and present a solution for accounting practices than it is to create a design portfolio due to finance confidentiality, but you should still be able to present knowledge about the company’s specific accounting needs. For positions in clerical, administrative, and industrial work, you can highlight your skills by bringing an example of your work. Just think of a project or task you completed at your old job. Apply the concept and relate it to the new position you’re applying for.
Even with the job market showing signs of improvement, there are still many people competing for every open job. So, before your next interview, take the initiative to create something that will impress a potential employer. Learn more about their needs and be ready to sell how you can help them. This will not only showcase your talent but will also show that you researched the company, demonstrating your initiative, your work ethic, and desire to work for them.
Great topic! Candidates have to go the extra mile to land a job in this market. A brag book is a great way to organize information like this. It can include reward letters, performance stats, examples of your work, and more. I’ve seen candidates come in with a thick brag book and then highlight just a few of the most impressive things–it made a huge impact.
Another step: bring in a 30/60/90-day plan, which is an outline of what you’ll be able to do for the company in your first 3 months of employment. You’ll have to research the company pretty extensively to do it, but it’s amazingly effective.