Portfolio - Resume - Cover Letter - Interview

PORTFOLIO

When an artist is asked about her work, she can dig into an oversized folder and slap down photographs or sketches that she feels best represent her artistic prowess. When a teacher is seeking a job, he can trot out, in paper form, his evaluations from student teaching, his lesson plans, and his written philosophy about education. By comparison, how can an engineer, equipped with an armload of skills and bucketfuls of experience, effectively present this background to a potential employer, in a way that is personal, relevant, interesting, and cohesive? Answer: an online portfolio.

A portfolio is typically a website that you create, or a PowerPoint (converted into a .pdf) that provides examples of your work and projects. The best portfolio effortlessly highlights your skills, achievements and intellect.

PORTFOLIO GUIDELINES 

  • Gather/Organize your works together in one place.
  • Decide which works to include (7-12 is average).
  • Convert these to PDF files.
  • Create a simple cover page.
  • Combine PDFs into a single PDF file, cover page is first. 
  • Name the file “1stName_LastName_Portfolio”  E.g. “Mert_Inanli_Portfolio” 
  • Be sure to illustrate self-reflection and growth in your chosen pieces. 
  • Be positive.  Glass half-full, always.
  • Demonstrate intellect in combining classroom learning with professional experience.
  • Content “proves” your talent and skills to an employer/audience.
  • Combines all life-experiences into one collection.

 SAMPLE PORTFOLIOS



PORTFOLIO-BUILDING WEBSITES:

  • Wix - http://www.wix.com/
  • Krop - https://www.krop.com/online-portfolio-templates/
  • Weebly - http://www.weebly.com/
  • Portfoliopen - http://www.portfoliopen.com/
  • Cargo - http://cargocollective.com/
  • Wordpress - http://wordpress.org/
  • Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/
  • Indexhibit - http://www.indexhibit.org/
  • Vimeo - http://vimeo.com/
  • Deviantart - http://www.deviantart.com/
  • Behance - http://www.behance.net/
  • Carbonmade - http://carbonmade.com/
  • Big Black Bag - http://www.bigblackbag.com/
  • Blue Host - http://www.bluehost.com/
  • SmugMug - http://www.smugmug.com
 


RESUME

It is important to put the work into your resume or curriculum vitae (also known as a CV) when applying for a job as this is what will land you the interview – and get your foot in the door. The hiring company will not only want to know that you are a qualified candidate, but that you will excel in the role and be a good fit for the position.

RESUME GUIDELINES

  • Make sure your resume is visually appealing easy to review and free from errors.
  • Use resume styles appropriate for your field. Some fields expect to see a design element, while others expect simpler styles. Do not make your resume too busy that it takes away from its most important feature, your content. Research your industry to determine if a resume with a design element is appropriate.
  • View example resumes for your industry/ field online and consult with faculty for advice.  
  • When listing EMU courses you have completed, listing only the call letters and #’s of the course (E.g. “MENG303”, etc.) or only the course title ("Computer Aided Engineering Design", etc.) provides no real information to the employer.  Rather, list the course knowledge and concepts you have learned in a given course in practical, common sense terms.  For example, use terms such as… “Project Planning and Control”, "CAD Modeling”, "Engineering Drawing",  "Modeling and Simulation in MATLAB", "Teamwork", "QFD", "FMEA"…taking some elements or phrases from the course description or content itself and putting them into tangible terms (“industry terms”) an employer can understand.  The main point is to put this in terms that make sense to the employer, otherwise, what you have created has no positive impact and could negatively impact your chances of obtaining an interview.
  • Your resume serves as a writing example, an example of how you organize and interpret information and an example of how effectively you can communicate to an employer.  When an employer is reading your resume, you will not be there to explain all of the information included, therefore, it is very important that you view your resume as objectively as possible. This means that you should write your resume so that any employer who reads it, completely understands the information and points you are attempting to make with the information you have provided.  Look at your resume as if you were an employer who knows nothing about you.  Would you understand what was being conveyed on the resume?  That is why it is so important to have a professional resume completed to the best of your ability.


COVER LETTER

A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application (alongside your CV or Resume).  Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long. A good cover letter can spark the HR manager’s interest and get them to read your resume. 

 COVER LETTER GUIDELINES

  • Put your name and the position for which you are applying in the subject line of your email
  • Use "Dear Mr/Ms/Dr Ahmed" (Always double‐check the spelling of the contact person’s name) OR "To whom it may concern" OR "Dear Sir or Madam"
  • Illustrate how your particular abilities and experiences relate to the position
  • Dig deep. Be sure to research the employer before writing the letter so that you can include specific key words and phrases. Give evidence that you have researched the organization thoroughly and that you possess skills used within that organization.
  • Short and sweet. Keep your cover letter to one page. Don’t repeat. Your cover letter should motivate the employer to view your resume. Your cover letter should not say what your resume already does. This takes away from the purpose of the cover letter, which is to get the employer excited and impress them with your knowledge and skills.
  • Professionalism is key. Be sure to use professional, non-slang terms in your letter. Avoid joking, sarcasm or other means of humor which employers may find unprofessional and improper for a first impression.
  • Show how your education and work skills are transferable, and thus relevant, to the position. Be specific; use brief examples. Ensure you address any specific selection criteria mentioned in the advertisement
  • Call attention to additional elements of your background that seem relevant
  • Emphasize your achievements
  • Describe your general workplace skills such as communication, teamwork, problem‐solving etc
  • Reiterate your interest in the job
  • Thank the recruiter for their time
  • Ask for an interview
  • Draw attention to your CV
  • Indicate that your references are available on request
  • Paste your cover letter into the body of your email message (unless specified otherwise by the employer)
  • Include your contact information in your signature instead of at the top of the message
  • Save any attached files with your name, so they DO NOT get mixed up with other applicant's materials e.g. MOHAMMAD AHMED ‐ Resume, MOHAMMAD AHMED ‐ Academic Transcripts, MOHAMMAD AHMED ‐ Experience Certificates, MOHAMMAD AHMED ‐ Diploma
  • Include your resume as an attachment (unless specified otherwise by the employer)
  • Use a basic font. Choose a plain simple font such as Arial, Calibri in 10‐12 point. Avoid novelty fonts – they are not professional.
  • Double‐check spelling and grammar.  Have someone proofread your cover letter
  • Use plain white A4 paper

RESOURCES
  • https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/cover-letter-samples/engineer

INTERVIEW

Pre-Interview: Educate yourself on the company you are interviewing for. What goods/services/products do they provide/make? What is the company history? Where do they conduct business? What other industries are they linked to? Why is it important to know this? Speaking to an employer about their own company shows them:

  • You have a vested interest in the company; you want to make a commitment to be there.
  • You are resourceful and professional.
  • You are a self-starter and show good initiative
  • You have a grasp on the industry and the company’s role in it.
  • Are you connected? If you networked through a friend, family member, etc. to get this interview, be sure to touch-base with that person and discuss the interview and position. Be sure to mention your networked friend during the interview.
  • Resume, Cover Letter, References, Portfolio... Be sure to ask what you need to bring with you to the interview.
  • Practice. Be prepared to answer questions about your experience, skills, goals, etc.  Check out Big Interview for videos, tips and practice online interview sessions.

Interview

  • Dress professional. It’s always better to be overdressed for an interview, rather than underdressed. Business suits, ties, be well-groomed and shaven, etc..., be presentable and look sharp!
  • Don’t worry, be happy. Smile, relax and show enthusiasm, this shows the employer you are excited about this potential opportunity.
  • Resume, Cover Letter, References, Portfolio... Be sure to always bring an extra copy of your resume with you to the interview.
  • Honesty is the best policy. Have you been asking yourself over and over... "What if I give the wrong answer?"... well, don’t worry yourself. All you can do is be honest in your answers. Employers know if you’re trying too hard and you come across awkward during the interview if you do so. So don’t worry about giving the "right" or "wrong" answer, just give the answer you know naturally.
  • Stand tall. Have confidence in yourself! Go into the interview with the mind-set that you are a potential asset to the company and they would be fortunate to have you. Do so not in an arrogant manner, but rather a persona that shows the employer you have the pride and drive in yourself to perform well and be proud of your results.
  • Show interest, write it down.
  • What about... Be sure to have questions prepared to ask those interviewing you. What do you ask? Well, what would you like to know about? Benefits? The company’s future? Advancement opportunities? Time off?
  • Thank you. Be sure to thank all those involved with the interview for their time and consideration on your behalf.

Post-Interview

  • Be sure to take notes during the interview. Ask your interviewer (if they have not already given you this information) what the next steps are. Will they contact you? Are there any other steps you need to complete in the application process? Be sure you do not leave the interview with any unanswered questions.
  • Thank you. Be sure to send a follow-up letter (or make a follow-up phone call) thanking the company for their time and consideration on your behalf.
  • Homework? If the employer gave you any tasks to complete post-interview (completing forms, drug-testing, etc) that must be completed, be sure to complete these tasks ASAP. If you have questions, do not make assumptions, ask the employer.
  • What NOT to do
  • Dress unprofessionally. Be clean and conservative in your attire and appearance.
  • Arrive late to the interview.
  • Speak unprofessionally. Avoid speaking negatively about previous employers, etc... or anyone at all for that matter. This will reflect negatively on your character and would not increase your chances of being hired for the position.
  • "Pad" your qualifications. Honesty is the best policy, be sure you avoid overstating your actual qualifications. Should you do so, your employer will eventually discover your shortcomings upon employment.
  • Talk too much or leave a question unanswered. Be sure you pay attention and listen carefully to the questions being asked. Once you are asked the question, answer it completely and avoid changing subjects. This shows the employer that you can follow instructions and pay attention to necessary details.

Sample Questions

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why did you choose to interview with this company?
  • How has your experience prepared you for our organization?
  • In your own words describe the ideal job.
  • What type of supervisor have you found to be the best?
  • What do you plan to be doing in five years time?
  • What do you know about this organization?
  • What do you know about this position?
  • What contributions could you make in this organization that would help you stand out from other applicants?
  • What qualities would you look for in an applicant for this position?
  • What sort of criteria are you using to decide the organization you will work for?
  • How has your education prepared you for a career with this organization?
  • What made you choose your major?
  • Have your university and major met your expectations?
  • What made you choose this college?
  • Do your grades reflect your achievements at school?
  • What are your two or three greatest achievements since you’ve been at college and why?
  • Which subjects have you enjoyed studying the most and why?
  • Which subjects did you dislike and why?
  • Do you have plans to continue your education?
  • How would a professor who knows you very well and one who does not know you very well describe you?
  • Given the chance, how would you alter the course of your education?
  • What are your career goals?
  • How did your part-time employment experience prepare you for permanent employment?
  • Which part-time job did you enjoy the most and why?
  • What are your two or three most enjoyable past work experiences?
  • I see in your resume that you like to _____________ (Hobby, etc.). Tell me a little bit about this interest.
  • Describe yourself including your strengths and weaknesses.
  • What sort of serious problems have you experienced and how have you handled them?
  • Which employers have you interviewed with or will you be interviewing with in the future?
  • Do you or have you in the past experimented with illegal drugs?
  • Would you be willing to take a drug test?
  • Do you drink alcohol socially?
  • If you had your whole life to live over, what would you do differently and why?
  • Which is more important to you, your salary or your job?
  • What have you found to be the biggest sources of motivation in your life?
  • What sorts of things cause you stress and how do you cope with them?
  • What is your definition of success?
  • What qualities should a successful supervisor possess in regard to job requirements and those who report to him/her?
  • If traveling is necessary for this position, will that bother you?
  • How would the community we are located in meet your needs?
  • How would you develop team spirit among the people that you supervise?
  • Do you like to work independently or as a team?
  • What kind of work environment do you like best?
  • How would you resolve conflicts with employees, coworkers, and supervisors?
  • In what ways have you learned from your mistakes?
  • In what areas do you need to improve your skills?
  • Why did you leave your last employer?
  • When would you be available for employment?

Source: https://www.bgsu.edu/technology-architecture-and-applied-engineering/cooperative-education-program/students/interviews.html 



Cover-Letter