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How Should I Organize My Work Portfolio?

iStockphoto.com |  fotostok_pdv

iStockphoto.com | fotostok_pdv

 

A portfolio of work can be an essential job interview tool for graphic designers and other creatives. But even if you're not a creative professional, a well-designed portfolio can be a fantastic way to highlight your skills and achievements.

In case you're not familiar with the concept of a portfolio, it's usually a case, binder, or notebook containing pieces of your work. Think of it as a browse-able brochure of what you have to offer to an employer.

Perhaps you're a marketing professional and you've had an article written about you in the local paper. Or you're an engineer with several high-profile patent applications. Maybe you've written documents that show off your writing skills. Include these!

Your portfolio needs to be polished and professional. Here are some guidelines for you to consider when assembling one.

  • Make it clean - Your portfolio should consist of your best designed work, arranged neatly and well formatted. Mount the items on the page.
     
  • Make your work stand out - Select pieces that best show off your creativity and intellect.
     
  • Make it tell a story - Organize your work in such a way that it says something about the progression of what the reader is looking at.  Group like with like; if your work has improved as time has progressed, organize your work in such as way that it shows how you've grown.
     
  • Make it shine - Pick your best pieces. Get an outside opinion on what is your best work - not everybody may agree with your personal opinions, and it's easy to become attached to your favorites. And if you've worked on recognizable brands, the inclusion of these projects will usually rise to the top.
     
  • Make it available online - A digital portfolio is great because you can always pull it up when you're sitting in a hiring manager's office. An online training module you designed can come alive when presented in multimedia.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

7 Job Search Strategies for Military Veterans Transitioning to the Civilian Sector

iStockphoto (videodet)

iStockphoto (videodet)

 

The transition for members of the armed forces ending their service can be challenging, and the job search has its own unique challenges. Here are seven job search strategies for military veterans making a move to the civilian sector after their enlistment.

  1. Minimize the military speak. Members of the armed services have their own lingo when describing their work. In the United States, approximately 7.3% of all living Americans served in the military; conversely, 92.7% of all living Americans spent zero time in the service. So when writing your resume or in an interview, try to remember that unless you're applying for a job at an organization whose primary customer is the military, it's unlikely the recruiter or hiring manager is going to understand the military terminology.
     
  2. Translate your work into readily understandable tasks and responsibilities. When building your resume, think about the elements of your work which can be readily understood by an employer. When describing the work you did on preparing a unit for deployment overseas, for example, it can be beneficial to break down your leadership on specific tasks you performed in the areas of logistics, project management, human resources, and so forth. Or maybe you worked on preparing the technology for that same deployment – detail the types of networks you built, listing specific technologies. These will enhance the readability of the resume and better highlight your skills, and the additional keywords will improve your chances of making it through the employer's applicant tracking system.
     
  3. Focus on your leadership skills. There's a significant difference between giving orders and leading. Companies are getting flatter, meaning fewer levels of management and less clear lines of reporting. Employers generally want to hire individuals who have a demonstrated ability to inspire and influence, as well as manage day-to-day tasks. What you've managed is less important than how you've managed, and examples of how you built consensus and worked across organizational lines to achieve results will showcase your ability to thrive in complex environments.
     
  4. Readjust your mindset. I'm going to let my friend A.J. Yolofsky, an attorney who made the adjustment from life in the Marine Corps, explain his transition experience. "The transition from military to civilian can be challenging because we military members are used to a different organizational structure and culture than necessarily exists in the civilian world. The military’s hierarchical structure provides a fallback method of getting things done – someone more senior can always “order” a junior to do X. On the civilian side, rank or seniority are sometimes held by people with no formal title or who are technically “junior” in the organization (e.g. executive assistants or other support personnel.) Learning civilian organizational behavior theory can be a way to differentiate yourself from other former military candidates. Some books that are helpful for this are "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," by Stephen Covey; "How to Win Friends and Influence People," by Dale Carnegie; and "The Trusted Advisor," by David Maister. All are on my shelf and have helped me make the transition from Marine to civilian."
     
  5. Get to know the job boards. In addition to mainstream job boards such as Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and others, there are boards directed  at military veterans such as VetJobs and RecruitMilitary. Many employers specifically want vets due to their connection to the defense industry, or for their work ethic – you'll find them here.
     
  6. Remind employers that it can be cost effective to hire you. First, there's a final move benefit which the U.S. military retirees can use to relocate for free anywhere within the United States upon retirement, which can mitigate an employer's concerns about incurring substantial cost to move you (corporate moves can be very expensive). Likewise, employers may be eligible for tax credits for hiring veterans under certain circumstances.
     
  7. Know your rights. In the United States, U.S. military veterans enjoy several protections against employment discrimination, including under the the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). A good employment attorney can help you understand your rights under these laws and others.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn

iStockphoto.com ( Jirsak )

iStockphoto.com (Jirsak)

 

Did you know LinkedIn is a major recruiting tool?

There are more than 467 million user accounts in LinkedIn, all of which are professionally oriented; in other words, one in every 17 people on planet earth has a LinkedIn account, making the system fertile ground for recruiters to find potential candidates for open jobs.

If you'd like to get noticed on LinkedIn, it's important to know how these same recruiters use the system to search for talent.

Here are 3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn!

  1. THEY SEARCH THROUGH EVERY PROFILE TO FIND PEOPLE TO FILL THEIR OPEN JOBS. While nonpaying (i.e., free account) LinkedIn users have limited ability to see and contact individuals outside their first-level connections, companies pay dearly (around $9,000 annually, per user) to obtain universal access to almost the full population of members. Also, some companies use LinkedIn as their only recruitment platform; if you don't have a profile, you'll miss out on potential job opportunities.
     
  2. THEY BUILD PROFILE SEARCHES BASED UPON A VARIETY OF KEYWORDS. Have you ever wondered why LinkedIn encourages you to fill in all the fields on your profile? It's because recruiters fill out a combination of fields and Boolean searches with their criteria to identify qualified candidates. Keywords in your headline, summary, job description, education, skills, and other fields can all be searched and found. If you're serious about being considered for career opportunities, you should also be serious about building a profile sprinkled liberally with keywords and job skills.
     
  3. THEY DECIDE WHETHER TO LOOK AT YOUR PROFILE BASED UPON YOUR HEADLINE AND PICTURE. After running a profile search in LinkedIn, recruiters will be presented with a list of candidates; featured most prominently for each individual are their headline and picture. A snappy, descriptive headline and a professional, three-quarters profile photo will make a great impression and invite a deeper look. Fail to impress, and you may get passed over.

Rodney Apple, Managing Partner at SCM Talent Group, and Katie Kurz, Marketing & Recruiting Ambassador at SCM Talent Group, contributed to this article. If you're interested in learning more about how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for your career search, you can view our webinar on this topic here: https://youtu.be/zpfTYpupqUE

NOTE: In case you were wondering, I am in no way affiliated with LinkedIn other than as a paying user, and for my subscription I pay rack rate. But I've been using the system since its early days and while there are things about it I don't love, I firmly believe in its power as both a job search and recruitment tool.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.