Foliotek Blog

First Impressions

Do first impressions matter? Sounds like a "duh" kind of question. I'm sure you have heard a hundred times how "You need to make a good first impression." But seriously, does it matter? Can't you fumble the ball a few times and then make up for it with a touchdown later (sports, go sports!)? What if you are in an interview for a job? Can't you sway their negative first impression by overwhelming the hiring manager with content that blows their mind? If that were the case, it would be the exception to the rule, not the norm.

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15 Seconds or Less

Research has shown time and time again just how important the first impression is . In one side study done on a research project conducted by Frank Bernier, his graduate student, Tricia Prickett, decided to look at the first 15 seconds of video footage from people being interviewed by hiring managers. Tricia wanted to know if you could determine from the first 15 seconds of video whether or not the interviewing candidate would be offered the job.

We are talking about a knock on the door, a handshake, and a hello.

After studying almost 100 videos, Tricia discovered that after watching 15 seconds of video, people could predict with almost 90% accuracy the outcome of the interview. That's crazy. 15 seconds … game over.

Now I suppose you can look at it two ways, it's either crazy good, or crazy bad. I'll take the glass half full approach and say crazy good. And here's why.

Virtual Impressions

Because our world is currently focused on exposing our lives through visual content on the internet, think about how much time can be spent crafting your "virtual" first impression. You have an opportunity to plan and implement your first impression far more today than ever before. You can tweak your social profiles and various online projects to showcase who you are before you ever knock on the door and squeeze someone's hand. Imagine the feeling of going into an interview where someone has already formed their "first impression" and is now working internally to confirm their own opinion of you (we call this self-fulfilling prophecy … that's another post) based on your professional online presence.

It's time the world wide web starts to work for you.

If you are job hunting, make certain you are taking valuable time to tweak every place on the web where people could form a first impression of you. At Foliotek, we suggest you make use of our tools to help you build your online brand. This helps ensure that you are in control of your first 15 seconds.


Want a Job? Use Your Experiences

Getting a job isn't easy. Statistics show that half of all college graduates under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed. You certainly don't want to be the person who owes Uncle Sam $100,000 big ones and is stuck selling sneakers at Shoe Carnival. You'll never move out of mom & dad's basement!!

So how do you find meaningful employment --- a career matching your passions and making use of your six figure education? It's not as hard as you think. You need two things. A digital brand (online identity) that acts as your virtual introduction and evidence that demonstrates your GRIT and Professional Skills as they pertain to your future employer.

Online Identity (virtual brand).

First, you need an online introduction. This is your opportunity to make that killer first impression. Sorry, but Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn just don't cut it. I'm not going to spend time detailing how to do this...just go here and create a free account. You'll be done in 10 minutes. Step two is where we'll focus our attention today.

Quote by Dan Schawbel

Showcase GRIT & Professional Skills.

Today employers are more interested in hearing about your past experiences than grilling you with traditional interview questions. Why? Because research has shown that past experiences are a great predictor of future behaviors. Because of this, it behooves the interviewer to hear about your past experiences as they pertain to the skills they want their employees to possess. To do this, they ask questions about what you have done. This way, they learn what you can do. This style of interview questioning is called "Behavioral Based Interviewing." It looks like this:

Instead of asking you: "What would your best friend say is your greatest strength?"

You'd be asked: "Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership?"

You see, the employer already knows what skills they desire in a new hire (in this case, leadership). They want you to prove you possess those skills based on your previous experiences. This means you need to be ready with stories from your previous experiences that demonstrate the GRIT and Professional Skills the hiring manger is looking for. How do you do this? It's pretty simple, but it takes some focused time.

Preparation

Before you do anything, read through some job postings and think about what type of skills the job you want requires and make a list. We’ll call this "List A." If you're feeling lazy, just check out this Burning-Glass report or use the suggestions below.

  • Communication Skills
  • Organizational Skills
  • Writing Skills
  • Intuition
  • Customer Service Skills
  • Base Technology Skills (Microsoft Word, Excel)
  • Problem Solving
  • Resilience
  • Planning
  • Research
  • Being Detail Oriented
  • Ability to Grow

Now that you have List A, hit the pause button on your life (I know, this is the hardest part, but remember $65,000/year is way better than $9/hour). Take some time and think back on the substantial experiences in your life and make another list, "List B." For me, this means closing my eyes and forcing my mind to travel back-in-time and relive various aspects of my life. Try tapping into a few of these helpful categories:

  • Big school projects
  • Extracurricular school activities
  • Volunteer experiences
  • Previous job/internship experiences
  • Social experiences
  • Family interactions

Execution

With those experiences in mind (List B), try to connect some GRIT and Professional Skills (List A) with how you demonstrated those skills in that experience (List B).

(List A) x (List B) = New Job

Repeat that process a few more times (3 - 7 should suffice). Now you're locked, loaded, and ready to nail your next interview.

But wait… stop the presses… you have to get to the interview first! AHHHH!!!

Hopefully you've already taken care of Building you're Online Identity. If you have, then simply tie these stories to your Online Identity and put a link on your resume. This one two punch puts you a step ahead of everyone else. Hiring managers will be impressed by your virtual introduction and the stories demonstrating the GRIT and Professional Skills they need. You'll certainly land the interview and ultimately that great, better paying job.

Now, go by your last pair of shoes with your employee discount and move out of Mom and Dad's basement. Welcome to productive citizenship.


Find a Job by Telling Your Story

Stories

Tin Toy, a video short by Pixar, won Pixar's first Academy Award for the Best Animated Short Film. I'd imagine that some people would argue that their win was driven by their impressive 1988 introduction of 3D graphics. However, even if that was true, you can't argue with how they delivered a memorable story. A story that laid the foundation for three major movies that collectively earned just under 1.9 billion dollars. That's a "B" for "Billion"!

Stories are everywhere and every person has their own unique story to tell. The ability for you to share your own unique story is what will intrigue potential employers, help you gain employment, and influence the amount you get paid. So how do you do this?

Stories for Employment

Your story should be broken into three Acts (like a good play)

  • Act I - Introduction
  • Act II - Introduction of Evidence
  • Act III - Evidence Detail

Act I - Introduction

This is a super short pitch that details the most important things about you as quickly as possible. If this is written, it should be fewer than 200 words. If this is being shared verbally, it should take fewer than two minutes.

Here is an example of a visually pleasing, short and simple digital introduction. Foliotek Identity Page

Act II - Introduction of Evidence

Once your introduction grabs someone's attention, you need something authentic to show them or talk to them about. This comes in the form of evidence. When sharing evidence visually, you MUST use good imagery. Research shows that the brain translates visuals 60,000 times faster than text. The image a potential employer sees will speak to them faster than anything else. So take advantage of this visual bias and use intriguing imagery. Good use of images is essential to telling a great story. Watch Tin Toy again, not only is this video short void of text, there isn't a single spoken word.

Additionally, people's interests vary. It is important to have a smorgasbord of interesting evidence. You don't know what might peak someone's interest. Just be certain when you are choosing evidence, that it is consistent in showcasing the skill set and mindset that best places you in a position for employment.

Foliotek Project List

Act III - Evidence Details

People looking at your story won't make it to Act III unless they are impressed with the first two Acts. If those are done well, the reader or listener will be interested in learning the details that make you who you are. The details within your evidence should drive home the skill set and mindset needed for employment. As the reader passes from one piece of evidence to the next, they should receive a clear picture of the characteristics you offer them.

For a great example, check out Hannah's evidence demonstrating her Skill Set and Mindset from an internship experience.


Presentation Redefined!

Today marks a significant milestone in Foliotek’s history. We released an entirely redesigned version of Foliotek Presentation. If you are interested in learning more about the change and why it was made, check out our previous post.

Please take the time to watch one of our recorded webinars regarding the update. In addition, you can also review some of the new training videos below or make use of our updated help content.

FINAL TRAINING WEBINAR

TRAINING VIDEOS


10.20 --- The Next New Thing

Foliotek Presentation Redesign

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The Story

About four years ago we introduced a game-changing tool focused on giving students the freedom to build visually creative eportfolios for any purpose. The goal was to develop a tool that was engaging and centered around an experience where the editing mode mirrored the live (published) version. Since the introduction of Foliotek Presentation, our educational partners have repeatedly commented on the unique, creative freedom this powerful tool affords which is unmatched in our industry.

After a massively successful launch of Foliotek Presentation, our educational partners began to envision new uses for the platform. From their vision we developed Foliotek communities: a feature where users could share and discuss their eportfolios, and community moderators could review eportfolios in restricted environments. However, over the last few years, the complex aspects of this component have exceeded the constraints of its current user interface. Because of this, on October 20th, we will be releasing an entirely re-skinned and re-tooled version of Foliotek Presentation. This new release of Foliotek Presentation not only expands the user interface to better showcase its existing Communities, but additionally lays the foundation for expanding the direction of Foliotek Presentation.

In the upcoming release of Foliotek Presentation, users will find an augmented aspect to communities. Community moderators and participants will have a more immersive experience as they review and comment on portfolios and interact with other community participants. Additionally, the new user experience opens the door for a multitude of future enhancements.

Outside of the improvements to Foliotek communities, the re-designed interface introduces a new module to its architecture: the Identity Page. This module provides users the ability to construct a singular web presence where they can showcase their experiential-based projects and acts as a gateway to their other social networks.

Foliotek Presentation continues to evolve. With the valuable input we receive from current and prospective educational partners, we are very excited about the future — a future where we continue to improve our ability to assist in the education of individuals, helping them to become not only competent in their field of study, but passionate about their professional pursuits.

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Sample Images

Google Photo Album w/Details
Google Drive Folder of Images