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Work Samples

Source: Stock photo

Work samples are a valuable way to show your skills.

Work samples highlight your skills, projects, career, training, and education to potential employers. Start by creating an outline of your work and school experiences. Make a list of your skills, knowledge, and projects. This will help you categorize your work samples.

Be Selective

If you include too many samples, employers may experience information overload. They may also question your ability to identify the work that best illustrates your skills. If you include too few, employers may think you are inexperienced. Showcase only your best.

You can choose to include partial samples of your work and offer full versions if the interviewer requests them. If possible, use color copies or color paper to add visual appeal.

What to Include

The type of work samples you include will depend on your career as well as your industry. Here are some examples:

If you are a/an: You could include:
Artist Photographs of your paintings, illustrations, sculptures, etc.
Chef or baker Photographs of your culinary creations
Dancer, actor, musician Video and/or audio recordings of your work
Designer Photographs of your graphic, interior, or web design work
Facilitator or trainer Copies of presentation or training materials, participant evaluations, and video recordings of your presentations
Mechanic Pictures of auto restorations
Multimedia specialist Copies of interactive programs you have created
Photographer Prints of your photographs
Public relations specialist Copies of press work and marketing plans as well as results event promotion
Office support staff Brochures, reports, newsletters, spreadsheets, and other examples of work that you have completed
Researcher Copies of research reports, peer reviews, technical documents, and articles in newspapers and professional journals
Sales person Graphs showing sales results
Tailor or seamstress Pictures of the clothing that you have produced (and wear your own creations on the job interview)
Teacher Copies of lesson plans, class projects, and assignments
Writer Copies of blogs, newspapers, and journal articles as well as grant proposals, reports, marketing plans, etc.

You also want to include any awards or recognitions you received for your work.

Other sources of work samples include volunteer work, hobbies, sports, hunting, fishing, crafts, and other interests. You could even include leadership, teamwork, or "before and after" examples.

Make sure your samples are related to your career or show your leadership skills. Update your samples regularly.

Source: Adapted from Creative Job Search, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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