Foliotek Blog

Tell Me About a Time When ...

You follow the receptionist down a dark and narrow hallway to the scariest room in the building: the conference room. This is where your fate will be decided. Will you land your dream job and start a promising career or will you be stuck living in your parents' basement forever? You choose your seat wisely, hoping that your choice doesn't have some strange, hidden meaning that says you're completely wrong for the job. After the polite introductions, the dreaded interview questions begin. First, "Tell me about yourself." Then, at some point during the grueling process, you'll hear "Tell me about a time when … "
alt Ok, maybe it won't be quite that dramatic. However, if you want your interview to go well, you should be prepared to answer this commonly asked question. When you're asked "Tell me about a time when," your interviewer is asking you to tell a story. Maybe it's a story of overcoming a challenge, solving a complex problem, or dealing with a difficult customer. The best way to prepare for this question is to have a few stories up your sleeve.

Know the job requirements

Refer to the job description and determine the requirements of the position. The goal of your story is to communicate that you have the skills required. Look through some common 'Tell me about a time when,' questions and try to anticipate what questions you might be asked.

Think about your experiences

Reflect on your past experiences, both personal and professional. Think about your accomplishments, personal growth, failures, and proud moments. How do these experiences relate to the requirements of the job? If one of the job requirements is teamwork, think of a time you had to work with others. What was your role on the team? How did you help the team accomplish your goals? Developing this story will help you communicate to your interviewer what they can expect from you in a team setting.

Write a story and practice

In order to turn your experiences into meaningful stories, you need to know how to tell them. Like all good stories, they should have a beginning, middle, and end. Building your stories around the STAR technique can be helpful when it comes to interview questions. The beginning of your story should describe the Situation and Task of your experience. The middle will be the Activity or Action you took. The end is the Result of your action. Once you have your story, practice telling it out loud so you appear polished and professional....like this:

Share your stories

You don't have to wait until an interview to share your stories. Use Foliotek Projects to showcase your experiences to potential employers. Including stories (projects) on your ID page or ePortfolio will give employers a better idea of your skillset before you even meet.

The last thing you want to do in an interview is stumble around trying to think of a decent story to tell. Take the time to write, practice, and share your stories, and that long walk to the conference room won't be scary at all.


Make Your Online Identity Stand Out

alt How should one get started in creating an online professional identity? Many people default to LinkedIn which is certainly an important entity in this realm. However, a LinkedIn Profile falls a bit short of a complete online professional identity in this writer’s opinion. I assert that having a LinkedIn profile is an important part of a larger undertaking. Creating a portal which links to all of one’s online presence would be a more thorough approach.

Build Your Brand

An Identity Page on Foliotek is a great place to start. Users may include an Introduction statement, a professional photo, work history, education, and links to any website relevant to their identity. A Foliotek Identity Page also includes features for an embedded resume, a ‘contact me’ button, and icon links to other social networking tools (like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and YouTube). Having all of this together on a nice looking webpage is actually quite simple to construct. The system offers several great looking templates and background photos to choose from. Users may also choose to use their own background picture if they wish to give it a more personal touch. An Identity Page on Foliotek is a great way to take advantage of several social media outlets while creating a polished professional identity.

Showcase Artifacts

The ability to include projects is another handy feature on the Foliotek Identity Page. Foliotek includes a streamlined approach to present authentic work samples within a project. Unlike linking to a file on a LinkedIn Profile, a Foliotek Project can include several documents that are themed within a project. Pages in a project can also showcase videos or any other type of file that you can store on a computer. The idea is to tell a story in a way which highlights one’s accomplishments and values. Building a nice looking project is easy to do; Choose a cover image from the multitude of provided images or upload your own, then fill in the pages of your project with your authentic work. Finally, link your projects to your Identity Page and showcase them to potential employers.
alt Foliotek also offers a robust ePortfolio tool should a user wish to create a paginated website without needing to have technical coding skills. Many Foliotek users choose to link to both projects and an ePortfolio when creating their online brand with a Foliotek Identity Page.

Creating a polished professional online identity will give potential employers valuable information about you as a person and as a professional. It very well may be just the advantage that helps land the right job for you.

Land Your Dream Job
Show Your Work!
Want a Job? Use Your Experiences


How to Write a Resume

Resume writing can seem monotonous and intimidating. How are you supposed to fit all of your awesome accomplishments onto just one page? What if you don’t have a lot of different experiences or awards to fill up an entire page? Look no further. This post will discuss the content that employers are looking for when they see your resume for the first time.

“It’s well documented that people only spend about six seconds looking at each resume they receive.” – Forbes.com

Not only do employers look quickly at your resume to determine if it’s worth the read, but they want to be able to sell you to the hiring managers based on your resume alone. If you only have six seconds to impress someone with your resume, you need to be sure that only the essentials are listed so your expertise gets across.
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Content

Personal Information:
No, I don’t mean that you’re wearing your lucky t-shirt as you compose your resume. Include your full name, phone number, email address, and ID Page URL. By including your Foliotek ID Page as a link on your resume, you give employers direct access to your work samples before they even meet you.

School Experience:
List your degree, school, and graduation year. If you received your degree more than ten years ago, leave off the year. If your work experience is more relevant to the job in which you’re applying, list that before school experience.

Work Experience:
Include the name of the company, your position, the years worked at the company, and your outstanding achievements while working there. By quantifying your impact in your job experience, you show future employers specific examples of what you’re capable of doing for their company.

Quick Hitter Tips from the Pros

  • A resume is a very selective body of content. It’s not meant to be comprehensive. If it doesn’t contribute to convincing the hiring manager to talk to you, then take it out says Heifetz.
  • Objectives are so last year. Instead, swap out objective with branding statement or career summary. Giving impressive statistics of your accomplishments and telling employers how your skills will meet their goals as a company is much more effective than stating that you want to be hired and a list of the skills you have.
  • "In a society where social media often blurs the lines between personal and professional life, it’s easy to forget the level of formality and importance your resume should hold, but it is a crucial fact to remember" says blogger and Certified Resume Writer Michele Lando
  • Check out this sample ID Page to see how incorporating your work samples into an online resume is a positive influence on your application.

Tell Me About Yourself
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Tell Me About Yourself

"Tell me about yourself." What a loaded request! How do you respond? How much do you say? Should you take advice from The Sound of Music and "start at the very beginning?" I hear that's a very good place to start, but is too much? This request, "Tell me about yourself" shows up on just about every list of 'most commonly asked interview questions'. That means if you don't know how to respond, you might bomb your next job interview.

Experts say that your response to this interview question should take about a minute.

Yikes, that's not a lot of time to work with. Your one-minute response needs to be interesting, concise, and informative. This is your chance to tell a story about the experiences you've had and the skills you've developed which make you perfect for the job. And no, you should not start at the very beginning.
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One of the first steps in telling a good story is knowing your audience. What should the interviewer know about you? What skills does the position require? Carole Martin from Monster.com suggests focusing your response on previous employment and current strengths/abilities, then relating those experiences to the job you're seeking. Her article gives a great example of using this strategy to turn a poor response into something memorable. If you don't have previous work experience to draw from, think of a personal experience that showcases the attributes you want to convey. Does the job you're applying for require excellent organization skills? Tell about an event you recently organized and its success. Just make sure any personal information you share directly relates to the job in question.

Preparing a strong response to this interview question can be tricky. However, if you've created a Foliotek ID Page with Projects, you might be further ahead than you think. If you haven't, you'll want to get started right away. Your ID Page should include a solid introduction (if it doesn't, read this previous post and jazz up your introduction ASAP ... no, really ... like right now). The Projects included in your ID Page should highlight previous experiences and showcase your abilities. In order to create your ID Page and Projects, you've already thought about the valuable skills you have and the virtual first impression you want to provide. You're well on your way to developing the perfect response. Now you just have to put a few words together to sum it all up in one minute.

Related Posts:


Your Virtual Handshake

When you walk into a room to meet someone for the first time, you extend your hand for a handshake. But what do you do before the interview? How do you reach out a steady hand without someone standing directly in front of you? Your cover letter and Identity Page, of course!

A cover letter is used to introduce yourself; a precursor to help you stand out of the stack of resumes an employer has to dig through. It's how you tell them a little more about who you are as an individual and make them want to choose you for an interview. How do you draw them in with your cover letter?

  • Explain why you are a benefit to their company because of your experiences. Don't tell them what they already know - that you're applying for 'such and such job' and that you're 'just plain awesome.'

  • Illustrate how your skillsets and character traits are a valuable asset to their company's culture and values (show your awesomeness without bragging!).

  • Mention something you know about their company or an impressive fact about the industry and how excited you are to be involved.

Get more Cover Letter tips like this and more from Nerdwallet.com's Expert Advice Column. You are more than just what your resume states, and this is your chance to show the company 'the person behind the resume.'

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Foliotek adds another dimension to the cover letter through our Identity Page. As discussed in our post last week, Geoff explained the importance of showing your work to potential employers using Foliotek projects. The Identity Page is a perfect place to include these projects along with a description of who you are, your school and work credentials, any websites where you're a contributor, contact information, and your resume. Think of it as your online brand; your virtual cover letter.

Extend that handshake before you even set foot in the door and include a link to your ID Page on both your cover letter and resume. This will give potential employers the feeling that they already know you when you come in for your interview. That, my friends, is what we at Foliotek call a leg up.