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Include Samples

Think about it. When was the last time you said NO to a free sample of ANYTHING, especially if its actually something you needed? At the supermarket, even when you've already bought your bag of Potato Crisps, would you still say "no, thanks" to the store clerk that offered you a free sample of their new Cheese Sticks Deluxe?

The same goes for the recruiter. Sure, they won't even bother with a 4-page long resume, but walk up with a short portfolio of your graphics work for that Graphic Designer opening and you'll definitely see interested eyes. And you should all know by now that your resume isn't worth squat if it doesn't get read by the recruiter. With the multitude of other people applying for that one job you know you really like, how are you ever sure that it will?

But when you stick a sample of your recent work to that resume, you're adding a certain value to it in the eyes of the recruiter: you're telling them that the package you sent them tells more about you professionally than the hundreds of other applicants who sent their resume sans freebie. And by adding a good sample of your work, you'll be the first to truly show the recruiter that you're truly right for the job-even before the interview.

If you'd like to add that work sample to your resume, keep in mind a few reminders to properly add the value you want to your resume:

  • There are other ways of "sending" a sample.

    This is especially true whenever you apply for a job through the internet. Keep in mind that sending your resume as an email attachment can peeve some recruiters off (slow loading, threat of viruses,etc); imagine how it will make them feel when you attach bigger-sized files. In this case, when you're applying for a job online, you can instead post your work on a website and include the URL in your resume. Be sure, however, that when you do so, put the conspicuous reminder "Samples of my work are available at http://etc.etc" near the top of your resume, so recruiters can see it at once.

  • Make sure your sample matches the company's needs.

    If you're applying for a copy-writing job at an IT firm, send a sample of work done for a techie company. That way your sample becomes more meaningful to them, which translates to them looking at your resume more favorably as well. Each time you better demonstrate to a recruiter that you can do the job FOR THEM specifically, why wouldn't they want to shortlist you for an interview?

  • Don't send your entire collection.

    One or two good samples is enough for your first submission. You may want to send the recruiter two newsletters or press releases you've done for another company in the past, or maybe just post three graphic samples on your website for them to see. Also, make sure that whatever you show them, be sure you'll have better samples of your work when the interview comes. Your "freebie" should always say "the best is yet to come". Be sure to make good on that promise when you meet face-to-face.

  • Share the credit were it's due.

    Whenever there's something in your sample that someone else helped you with, point it out. Or at least, localize and specify as to what in the sample is purely your work. Maybe someone else edited your sample press release, or perhaps an old colleague helped with the Javascripts on your website. This is just plain ol' good manners, of course, but in addition, you show the recruiter that you do have what it takes to be a professional, as well as a knack for teamwork.

  • Include a short note on each sample you provide.

    A freebie is another way of marketing your skills. Try to slip in a short note on what your sample is highlighting; maybe it's a skill with choosing colors and motifs for graphics, or incorporating good page designs with fast loading times on a website page. Whatever the case is, make your work sample a do its job - to take the "skills" section of your resume one step further.

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