My Life on Mondays

*I have writer’s block.* So I’m going to cheat and write about what is on my desk in front of me, but I have to warn you, if I start describing how my chewed pencil is really a metaphor for life, please stop reading this and send me an email telling me to cut it out.

*My Portfolio* – It’s actually the _only_ thing on my desk right now. I had it there for an interview I’ve been preparing for. My portfolio is bright yellow. Inside is everything I’ve done in college that reflects my experience in my chosen field. I have clips from the best newspaper articles I’ve written, a couple of un-published magazine articles I wrote for a class, a well-written grant proposal _(even though I didn’t get the grant)_, a few good letters of recommendation, a certificate of achievement or two, a spreadsheet categorizing the 105 informational articles I wrote for my internship at an Internet company, _(seriously, google my name and you’ll get stuff like “Expert Real Estate Advice If You’re Moving to Ocean City”)_, a couple of screen images from websites I created, and last, but not least, _(actually, right in front)_ the six pages of magazine I designed for my final project.

*If you don’t have a portfolio of your work, I strongly suggest you create one*, even if you’re years away from your job-hunt. A well-designed and professionally done portfolio, _(along with your resume)_ is the best way to show people what you have achieved and how hard you have worked. And believe it or not, the best person to show it to…is yourself.

*Flipping through my portfolio reminds me of the experience I have*. Besides building my confidence, my portfolio serves another purpose: research station. In the front pocket I keep other items that help me while I’m preparing to interview for a grant, internship, job, whatever. I have a list of professional contacts, along with company addresses, phone numbers and emails. I also have lots of newspaper clippings _(that my mother has so nicely clipped out for me)_ from the Career section of the newspaper on nailing an interview, writing an interesting and effective coverletter and breathing new life into your resume. I also keep the postings for any jobs I’m interested in, as well as scratch paper for note-taking.

*This is how I prepare for an interview.* First, I write down my strongest qualifications, the key points I want to make sure I get across, _no matter what_. For this particular interview there are 4 of them. Next, I make a list of a few routine questions and jot down my responses to them. _”What is your biggest weakness?” Why should we hire you?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?”_ And finally, I make a list of the questions I have for them…they always ask you if you have questions for them.

*I’d like to know what your portfolios look like. Has anyone ever created a portfolio on a CD or a website portfolio? Send me your portfolio secrets at* *stacy

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