Professional Résumé, Interview, and Portfolio Design for Success

Résumé Building

A résumé is a professional document designed to present information on one’s education, history of employment, volunteering, honors, and other valuable experiences to showcase to employers. The purpose of a résumé is to submit with a job application if possible or to distribute physical copies at the beginning of an interview.   A more significant purpose of a résumé is to give yourself a competitive edge in the job market.  The goal is to concisely and accurately document valuable information to distinguish oneself from other qualified applicants.  

The overall design of a résumé includes a focused, organized structure, brief descriptions, and an outline of experiences with dates starting from most recent to past.  There are various templates that can be used to create a résumé, but I like to keep it simple.  

A résumé is a summary of one’s performance and a script to reference during an interview. It is an account detailing key experiences to assist one to obtain employment.  A résumé is known as a working document, meaning that it changes and must regularly be updated overtime.  Typically a student begins a résumé in his or her junior or senior year of high school with one page of information.  A misconception is that résumés must be limited to one page, but that is not necessarily the case.  After gaining additional valuable experiences, the résumé can grow to reflect these changes.  The importance of updating a résumé is to add more current opportunities, to discard obsolete records that may not be useful, and to present information according to what the job and the market call for.

Interview Conduct

An interview is typically a face-to-face appointment between an employer and possible candidates for the job opportunity.  Also, interviews can be a one-time meeting or a series of appointments with different committees, depending on the job. The most important aspects of an interview are self-confidence and preparation before the meeting.  As a possible applicant, this is the opportunity to make the best impression using one’s résumé and portfolio as a guide.  It is important to use effective communication and appropriate attire for the occasion.  Expanding on the points on a résumé and portfolio during an interview can be an effective, but may also be difficult to achieve.  In most cases one can find general or specific interview questions on the internet to help practice for a real interview.  After an interview it is polite to follow up with a thank you note, either hand written or more conveniently through email, thanking them for their time.   

Portfolio Design

A portfolio is an extension of one’s résumé, demonstrating artifacts of past employment, volunteer work, special achievements, and other important records to display.  The use and creation of a portfolio is optional.  A portfolio is an organizational tool that can be used to line up and detail documents, which are artifacts showing various experiences on particular subjects.  There are two main ways to present a portfolio: as a hard copy in a binder or in an eletronitic copy.  My portfolio is an electronic version created through PowerPoint with hyperlinks to my various documents.  I have a total of three slides including my cover page.  The slides are public speaking, academics and written communication, and lastly professional information.  They contain hyperlinks to PDF documents of my achievements and diverse professional records.  

Sample portfolio

Conclusion: Putting it all Together as the Final Product

I feel that knowing how to create these documents and how to interact during an interview will better prepare anyone for the professional world, especially individuals with a disability.  A résumé is a solid foundation to entering adulthood and it leads to having potential opportunities.  For me, I think it will be important not only to have practice mock interviews, but also to take advantage of the opportunities to put myself out there for live interviews.  This will be useful for the practice, as well as for the experience.  Like anything, the more practice and experience the better prepared one will be.

Collage of professional resume

Total Life Learning by Wendy Bridgeo,‎ Beth Caruso,‎ & Mary Zatta

Cover of Total Life Learning

The Total Life Learning curriculum was developed for students ages 3 to 22 who are blind, visually impaired including those students who have additional disabilities or are deafblind. The focus is on the development of life and career goals that enable student to maximize independence, self-determination, employability, and participation in the community.