Creating a folio for a job interview

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So you've got the interview and they've asked you to bring in your folio. What now?

There are plenty of reasons you might be asked to bring in a folio to an interview. Whether you're an artist, a designer or a writer, whatever your field there are a few things you should think about when putting your folio together.

Show your best work - not ALL your work

You need to prove that you have what it takes to do the job, so choose work that demonstrates your range of abilities. If you're an artist, you could show one freehand sketch and one design that you did on computer.

You don't need to show everything you've ever done. If you include too many pieces in your folio your interviewers will not only get bored flicking through it, they might not have time to see your best work.

Be selective. Make it easy for them to see how good you are.

Show them what they want to see

If you've got a written job description or - better still - a list of the type of work the interviewers want you to bring in then stick to what they've asked for! There's no point bringing in your abstract photography if you're applying for a job as a sign-painter.

If you have 3D work that demonstrates your skills, like a painting on canvas or a piece of clothing that you've designed, check if they want you to bring the real thing to the interview. Sometimes a photo of your work will do.

Show them the beginning, the middle and the end

If you have a few pieces of work for the one project include them in sequence. This can help you to demonstrate that you can have an idea, flesh it out and make it happen. For example, if you're submitting a folio of your sculpture work, include your first rough drawing, a sketch to scale with colours and materials listed, and a photo of the finished sculpture.

Know what you show

Don't put something in your folio if you can't explain what it is or the creative process involved in putting it together.

You should be able to talk about anything you include and know where it sits inside your folio. Andrew Lam-Po-Tang of the Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) suggests that you make sure you have a "small story about each piece to make your passion and effort come alive" for the interviewers.

Practise showing your folio

Get to know your folio. Practise showing it to a friend or family member.

If you can, ask the advice of a teacher or someone you know who works in the industry.

Read through your folio by yourself. The better you know what's inside it, the more help it will be in your interview.

The advantages of a good folio

A folio can be an invaluable tool for arguing your case. It can prove to people why you should be the one who gets the job. Taking the time to make sure that your folio is right for the job, and that you know how to use it to demonstrate your abilities, can be the added advantage that makes you stand out from anyone else applying for that job.