When I am hosting a job interview the first thing I look for is a brief case. There is nothing more intolerant than a management candidate who comes in and sits down, then tries outdated techniques like mirroring my every move, and smiling like their face is frozen. I often make the decision to dismiss an application before the person sits down.
Those that do walk in with a portfolio immediately catch my attention. The next thing I will do is look at the resume and see if it looks like a biography, or is inviting me to ask questions. This can be an exciting moment in a monotonous day of job interviews.
Of course, it can also be a complete disappointment. Having a portfolio is a good idea. But, what is in your resume can make, or break, your chance of landing a job, especially in management.
The following tips are from the Hospitality Industry. Geckohospitality recruitment firm has 17 years of experience helping Candidates land jobs. Here are some of the tips they have learned.
The most important thing is to keep your work. If you took part in a project, redesign, or restructuring then keep your work. Sanitize it to remove any intellectual property of your last employer, so of course you won't include financials and budgeting. But what you may include is your project management work.
There is usually some aspect of a job that you were in charge of which can be organized into a presentation. Maybe you picked out the colors and furniture for the project. Maybe you were in charge of an advertising project. Maybe you created the ads. Keep your work.
I would love to see an original and business specific employee handbook in every management candidate's portfolio. This will reveal more about their leadership skills than anything. I'm looking for generic statements like zero tolerance for toxic communication. How much of the book looks like a template? How much was created for the audience.
Of course, if the above statement was directed towards the management team it may be appropriate. But, if it was written for the people on the floor then it shows me that the management candidate is out of touch with their team.
Teach and Coach
If you taught, or coached, then you will have created course material. I would like to see someone who wrote course, seminar, or program material. Yes, you may have taught a great employee motivation and education program, but if you have no notes, or added your own lessons, then it is difficult to believe that you are an effective teacher. No course is designed for every market, every learning type, or every target demographic.
Even if your company never let you teach, take the time to write your own version of courses you've taken. It shows initiative. It shows that you understand the material. It shows that you are taking initiative to improve your career.
Don't tell me that you are good at customer service, selling, or communication. Show me your marketing material. I really don't care where it comes from. Create posters for a local charity. I want to see if you can communicate through words, images, and understand how colors sell.
I find it difficult to believe a candidate is qualified if they have no understanding of advertising and graphic arts.
Most important, I will be judging the presentation of the material. Quality of paper and covers, book binding, and balance of text to graphic all reveal whether the Candidate understands the job, or still needs more experience at a mid-level job.