During this stay-at-home period of the pandemic, we know aquariums, museums, and opera houses can’t fill their IRL venues. But that doesn’t stop them from reaching out and attracting visitors. Curators and marketers figured out how to fill the minds of their prospective audiences. They have gone online with impressive displays of their exhibits, collections, and shows. They’re using this stay-at-home time to entice, engage, and ignite a different type of relationship-building.

As a job seeker, you can accomplish the same results by putting up your best work samples on LinkedIn and in your own online portfolio or social media channel. After all, your potential employers are all working from home and have time to browse. Give them something to see!

We have entered the “show me” state of mind for recruiters, hiring managers, and internship providers. With on-ground networking gone for the short-term and job interviews becoming more competitive, you have the greatest opportunity to make a remarkable impression by taking your future employers on a tour of your talent.

It’s time to put up your work samples directly on LinkedIn or via a link to your online portfolio.

Better Than the Perfect Resume

The advantage of showing samples cannot be overstated. No matter how little “real work experience” you have – or even if you have none at all – samples of work you created during your academic career showcase how you put your skills and personal traits into action. Samples don’t just prove you can do something. They prove you have the self-motivation and work ethic employers value.

It’s time to curate and market yourself so you stand out as the most attractive candidate.

What is a Work Sample?

Work samples include high-quality social media posts, research papers, essays, articles, blog posts, videos, photos, podcasts, posters, flyers, PowerPoints, data analysis reports, marketing plans, project management or workflow charts, and any other examples of what you do well.

Your samples should display your strengths, skills, and abilities in the areas that employers and internship providers are seeking in top-notch candidates. The qualities that rank the highest include communication, critical thinking, creativity, quantitative analysis, teamwork, motivation, compassion, leadership, and the ability to distill or build on others’ ideas.

Show them you are the ideal job candidate they seek!

Start with Your School Assignments

If you’re a student or young alumna, select work samples from your school assignments, internships, research projects, community service, and club activities. Review your past assignments and social media posts. Leaf through your calendar to recollect the work you’ve already done.

Select samples that relate to the job you want, the industry you’re interested in, or simply have the potential to impress your ideal employer. You can even create a new social media account to use exclusively for your work samples, then link that account to your LinkedIn profile in the Education or Activities sections. You can even put a link in your summary or contact information.

Create Something New

To showcase skills and talent you haven’t demonstrated in a course or previous job, you might create brand new work samples. Your personal interests and hobbies might be good subjects to work on. Photography, art, videos, essays, blogs, critiques, articles, or reviews of documentaries are prime ways to show your creativity, interests, and ability to communicate in different formats. You can link those under Activities in your LinkedIn profile.

Put Your Work Samples on LinkedIn

If you have samples from your internships or employment, link them under your job descriptions. Learn how to put up your samples here. Make sure you have permission from your employer or past employer.

Next Steps

Schedule time in your calendar to get one of these tasks done. Remember to put your LinkedIn URL on your resume, too.

  1. Select your best coursework or samples from your clubs and activities. Then revise, proofread, and polish.
  2. Pick an aspirational employer and create work samples that reflect what you would like to do for that company or brand.
  3. Choose a non-profit or public health issue and create a public service announcement or video.
  4. Create something new that reflects your personal interests or hobbies. Have fun and show you love your work!