Question: How to show the world what you can do if your work is proprietary or not public?
Answer: A portfolio.
It’s easier to pass an interview with a portfolio in hands than passing it with only your resume to speak for you. In the former, when asked about what you can do, you can say: I worked in a project called X, where I worked on A, B and C as you can see in my portfolio. When not having one, you’ll say I worked on A, B and C but there is nothing I can show you, so you need to trust me.
The world is moving from show me your education history to show me what you can do. The recruiter is interested in knowing how you’ll be adding value to the team or the company in general.
Companies and systems still stuck in the “show me your education history” era are the same ones expecting you to have X years of experience to be called senior or to be a manager. Those will never take benefit of talents and high performers not following the “normal” path. People who are passionate about what they are doing, can learn quickly, and perform better than average. And you probably shouldn’t work for them in the first place. They’ll not give you much freedom and much opportunities to advance your career.
What’s good about remote working, is companies aren’t interested in your education history or your diploma. They want to see what you can do, your creativity, and if you can ship things with minimal to no guidance. i.e. on your own. And that’s applicable to everyone in the company, not only you. So you’ll be in a good environment to learn and develop even quicker.
Let’s go back to the portfolio. A portfolio depends on the job you’re doing. Every job has a type of portfolio. If you code, maybe some open source code or some online projects. If you design, maybe some web designs, mockup designs or others. Those are easy, but what about other jobs. When it’s not easy to show what you can do to others. Let’s say marketing, or public relations, customer support, etc. Given I can’t talk about all possible jobs here, I want to give you some ideas that are applicable for all jobs.
Blog is the most underrated portfolio ever. Everyone should have a blog talking about his experiences and his points of view.
When applying for jobs, I made sure to include my blog in my resume or cover letter. In the interviews, I heard more “your blog is good” than “your resume is good“. And I had more contacts due to my blog than due to my social media presence.
You can see that blogging is independent from what I do. I’m a software developer. Nevertheless, blogging helped me gain exposure and show myself to the world.
You’ll tell me, but I don’t know how to write and I don’t know what to talk about! Yeah nor do I. I’m not an expert in writing and I didn’t follow a training. I just decided one day that I’ll be writing and publishing every week. Kept doing it for more than 4 months. Then everything followed from there.
There are lot of charities out there needing our help in what they do. So let’s help them and help us build our portfolio:
If you work in marketing, help them market their idea and their vision. Help them be known to the public and people who are able to help.
If you work in public relations, help them write a kit they can send to journalists and the media. Use your knowledge to help them seek help from others.
If you work in customer support, find charities helping people and be their ambassador. Use the empathy you develop in your work and help them.
If you’re a community manager, help them have a social presence and manage their social pages.
If you work in software or design, help them with their website.
What better? The majority of Remote companies have this amazing social awareness. If you are in a remote company, and decide to help a charity you believe in, the company will donate some hours from their time so you can help in your working time instead of you free time. Isn’t that amazing?
Those are the two things applicable to every job out there. I recommend you start blogging today. It’ll help you build a portfolio, but also in learning one of the skills you need for any remote job.
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