While not all jobs require work samples, having a portfolio of work is standard for certain professions. Most such jobs are those that involve a tangible finished project, such as a brochure, a movie, a house or a magazine article. If an interviewer does not request a portfolio, you can show initiative and creativity by finding a way to show your work via one of the traditional methods or by coming up with something unique.
Graphic designers are nearly always expected to show a portfolio of work in an interview because employers want proof of their abilities. Many designers print copies to give to prospective employers. Others create portfolio websites and include a link or QR code on their resumes so interviewers can visit the site in advance. You can use a graphic design portfolio to show off a range of features in your work, including creativity, technical proficiency, ability to create functional pieces and flexibility.
Writers have a vast number of job options and most of them require you to submit work samples at some point in the interview process. Publicity and media relations jobs require proof that you can write a press release. Other jobs will want to see samples of news reporting, advertising copy, technical writing, journalistic articles or web copy. In some cases, the employer will want to see industry-specific work samples. Many writers keep a portfolio file of print and/or electronic samples while others build websites featuring completed projects and links to published work.
Some types of work involve a finished product that cannot be brought into an interview, but many of these can be photographed for a digital or print portfolio. Several different types of professionals use photographs to showcase their work. The list includes landscapers, engineers, construction managers, architects, event planners, chefs and interior designers or decorators as well as actual photographers. Not all such professionals maintain a portfolio and not all employers will ask for work samples for these types of jobs, but a professional portfolio can give you an advantage over the competition.
Demo reels are most often used by -- and required -- of people working in film, video and computer animation. This includes behind-the-camera jobs such as videographers and editors, but also on-camera personalities and newscasters.
You can also benefit from a demo reel if you're a trainer or publicity professional, or if your job requires you to speak publicly or to present proposals, reports or other data. Demo reels may be contained on a website or burned onto a medium such as DVD.
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