I recently stumbled upon my old portfolio—the one I compiled filled with media clippings, press materials, and writing samples from my first job in PR following college. I prepared it to bring along on the interview I landed when contemplating a change from an agency setting to working in-house.
Two things stuck out at me: 1. I did a massive amount of diverse work in a couple years. 2. I was more qualified to take a step up with my next job than most people my age.
Looking back, I realize I went after a job that, at first blush, may have seemed beyond my qualifications if you just looked at my age or quickly read my latest job description. But I knew it wasn’t beyond me. I believed in myself and I was ready to explain why I knew I could do it well.
Don’t let someone else tell you what you can or can’t do. Or what you are or aren’t qualified for.
Back to that interview. My portfolio of work was impressive and showed from a third-party standpoint that I knew how to do what I said I could, but I know it was live conversation that most impressed the 10 leaders and stakeholders I interviewed with over that week.
So, get ready to take action for yourself.
- Speak up and become skilled at explaining what you do. Learn how to share your story and include detailed examples about what you have done. Do your research to explain how you could make a positive difference, what ideas you have, and craft thoughtful questions about what you need to learn.
- Point to results. Show your past accomplishments and include tangible examples or data, as appropriate. Whether it’s a portfolio of creative work, or media clippings, writing samples, case studies, or sample plans captured in some other form, figure out a way to display this.
- Ask for recommendations. Request introductions from trusted colleagues and partners. See if they’re willing to share what it’s like to work with you. Some jobs require formal letters, but nearly everyone looks at LinkedIn today, so give thought to securing a few thoughtful recommendations on this platform.
Prepare in these deliberate ways so you can go after the job you want with confidence. It’s your story to tell and it’s a key to proving you are qualified. You’ve got this—it’s already yours. Now share it!