How to demonstrate your skills and portfolio in an interview

Posted on: 29 Aug 2018

Your CV landed you an interview, now it’s your chance to impress the recruiter face-to-face. That said, it can be hard to demonstrate your skills when you’re simply sitting having a conversation with someone.

This is why you should also consider bringing along a portfolio with you, in order to impress the potential employer. But how should you use this in an interview?

To help you out, CV-Library offers its top tips for highlighting your tech skills and using your portfolio effectively during an interview to land your next exciting IT role.

How to demonstrate your skills

You should always prepare before an interview! As part of this, you need to consider how you can clearly explain your skill set. Here are a few tips on how you can do this:

Choose the right skills
Before the interview, make sure you know what skills the role requires. That way, you can ensure that you focus on these in your meeting.

There’s no point turning up on the day and talking about a number of irrelevant skills. Take some time to go back over the job description, making note of the key skills required for the role.

Prepare examples using figures
You will likely have done this in your CV, but being able to give practical examples of your achievements during your interview can really help to give the recruiter a better understanding of what you’re capable of.

Again, prepare these examples before you go so you have the numbers firmly in your head. This might be mentioning that you worked closely with UX team to update the company website, increasing traffic by 50%. Or you may reveal that you effectively offered technical support to a team of 30 people on a daily basis.

Ask questions
During an interview, you’re there to ask questions, not just answer them. When talking through your CV, you could ask questions such as ‘would you like me to elaborate on these skills further?’ or ‘would you like me to go through the skills involved in this particular project?’

These can be the perfect hook for explaining your abilities and shows pro-activity and initiative.

Let your soft skills shine through
Throughout the interview, you’ll demonstrate some soft skills without even really thinking about it. Were you punctual? Confident? Communicative? These are all important transferable skills. So be sure to arrive on time and remain calm and professional throughout.

How to use your portfolio to demonstrate tech skills in an interview

It can be tricky to decide how best to demonstrate your tech skills in an interview. And how you choose to go about this will of course be dependent on your role in the industry. But here are a few ways you can begin to showcase your talents.

Create a presentation
It could be helpful to put together a presentation or an online portfolio that shows examples of your work. If you choose to do this, make sure you let the recruiter know beforehand. This will ensure they’ve got the right technology or somewhere for you to set it up. If not, you might want to consider taking your own laptop to show this on.

Show your work online
If you’ve worked on a project or website (you might have your own website) this can be a great way to really show off your skills. For example, a front end developer might choose to show company sites that they have worked on in the past.

But similarly to the presentation, be sure to make the recruiter aware you’ll be bringing a portfolio that requires a computer and access to the internet.

Take some testimonials or a great reference
If it’s too difficult to find an example of your work (for example if you work in technical support), you can bring testimonials from previous employers or customers instead. Print out some of the great feedback you’ve received in the past, particularly any that makes direct reference to your skill set.

Take your certificates
If you’ve gained any additional skills or qualifications, it can be helpful to take your certificates with you. Whether this was an online course, or on the job training, it’s a good way to physically show that you possess the skill set required.
This is also helpful if your actual work is not something you can bring in physical examples of.

Final thoughts

Demonstrating your tech skills can be tricky when you can’t physically show them what you do, but this is an important part of interview. Make sure you spend some time before brushing up on job description, preparing examples that demonstrate your skills and putting together a portfolio (whatever format this may take).

Doing so could help you to stand out from the competition!

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