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Providing work samples


You applied for a position, responding with a cover letter and resume that indicate you have experience writing press releases and producing the inter-office e-newsletter. But are your standards of professionalism and production up to that of your potential new employer? How will your prospective new team know if you meet their standards? More often than not, the employer will ask for copies of your previous work.

Prepare first
Before sending samples, take some time to prepare. Re-read the job description and look to the specifics. Pull together a few examples of press releases, inter-office documents, handbooks or printed matter.

Bring samples to interviews
Bringing these pieces to your interview without prompting also demonstrates your preparedness and confidence in your own skills. If possible, arrange your work samples in a professional looking portfolio or binder. Each item could have a short paragraph introduction outlining the audience, intended reach, results and other relevant details. Consider using tabs or an index to help you find samples quickly.

Choose carefully
Remember, only present pieces that make you proud. Stick to error-free, quality pieces of information. Of course, only share public or approved information pieces from former employers. A new employer will drop you from their list of possible hires if you share proprietary information, which is inappropriate for outside eyes to see. If you comprised your former employer’s confidence to apply for this job, the new employer won’t trust you with their own information.

Leave something behind
During an interview, offer to leave your work samples for the interviewing team to review. Set a date to return and retrieve it. The bonus here is that, when you return to pick up the work portfolio, you’ll have another opportunity to return to the potential work place and make contact with the interviewer. If you are concerned about losing your work samples, consider scanning them and converting them to PDF. That way, you can email samples to the employer after the interview – and they can print them out, if needed. Like returning to the workplace, sending an email with samples gives you another opportunity to connect with the hiring manager.

Good luck putting your best work forward!

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