Module 6: Understanding the Customer

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Your Personal FAB

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Your Personal FAB
Stories Paint Pictures

You can see that FAB is a powerful way to build an emotional connection with a customer. It is also an excellent way to stand out to a prospective employer in an interview.

Think about three brand positioning points. Now, think about the stories that demonstrate each one in terms of FAB. See the image for as an example. Your FAB message will help you tell the details about your brand and will help you tell your “stories” about your experience and accomplishments during your interviews.

If getting the job or internship you want were only about the facts, you would only need to present your résumé on a job interview. But prospective employers are looking for that certain something, an emotional connection that helps them know that you are the one. [1]

Every candidate comes into an interview trying to impress the interviewee and saying how much he wants the job. Why not stand out, show, and sell?

Every Picture Tells a Story

Take your FAB one step up and create a portfolio that you can show during job interviews. When you tell someone about your experience and accomplishments, that’s good, but showing them really helps you stand out in the crowd.

If you are lucky enough to get an interview, capitalize on the opportunity to sell yourself. A portfolio isn’t just for creative or advertising people; everyone should have a portfolio. It is simply a collection of samples of your work from class projects, internships, volunteer projects, and any other work that demonstrates your skills. [2]

Keep a Copy

Whenever you work on a class project, internship, volunteer project, or any other type of project that demonstrates your skills, keep a copy for your portfolio.

The same is true when you begin working; keep copies of all your projects to continue to build your portfolio throughout your career. You never know when you will need to show samples of your work.

It’s best to avoid including any confidential or proprietary information from companies or organizations.

You probably have more samples of your work than you think. And each sample is an excellent way to show and tell your FAB.

Creating a portfolio is as simple as putting samples of your work in a binder. Here are some ideas about what to put in your portfolio:

Class projects
, Internship projects,
Volunteer projects.

Class projects

Choose those projects that demonstrate your skills. For example, if you did a sales presentation, include a video clip along with your selling aids. Or if you created a PR plan, include the plan along with the exhibits.

Group projects are acceptable as long as the group names are included on the title page. A team project allows you to talk about how you provided leadership to the team or helped the team get focused.

Internship projects

If you had an internship or multiple internships, include samples of the projects on which you worked.

For example, include copies of Web pages, brochures, flyers, graphs, presentations, or any other samples of your work.

Volunteer projects

If you have been involved in a student group, community service, or other service organization, include samples of the projects on which you worked.

For example, if your group did a fundraiser for breast cancer, include the flyer for the event along with photos and a summary of the contributions.

Letters of Recommendation

Ask for a letter of recommendation from former supervisors, colleagues, team leaders, professors, and other people who will be happy to write a letter about your skills. [3]

If you have had a summer job or internship, ask your former boss and other people with whom you worked to write a letter of recommendation.

Portfolio Tips

After you gather all of your work samples, here are a few tips that will help you organize them for an effective visual story.

Use a professional binder or portfolio. Visit a local or online art supply or office supply store and get a professional binder or portfolio. You can include your work samples in plastic sleeves, but it is not required. As you develop your FAB and portfolio, think about the stories you want to tell about each one. Stories are much more powerful than facts.

Choose a few work samples. Select six samples that reflect your brand points. If leadership is important, be sure to include projects, results, pictures, and other visual elements that will demonstrate your leadership story.

Create a summary page for each work sample. Include bullet points for the project name, objective, approach/strategy, and results.

Use fresh clean copies, in color where appropriate. Avoid using papers that include comments or grades. If you need to make a copy of an original document that was in color, splurge and pay for color copies; it’s worth it.

Include extra copies of your résumé. Your portfolio is a great place to keep at least three or four extra copies of your most current résumé printed on twenty-four-pound paper. Although your interviewer may have already received your résumé before the interview, he may not have it handy when you come in. Or you may be asked to meet with some people that were not on the original interview schedule.

Work Samples

If you enjoy photography, writing, design, selling on eBay, or other activity that has application to the position for which you are seeking, include that work.

In other words, print the Web page for your eBay store along with the feedback you have received, include photographs or other projects on which you have worked to show your work.

If you don’t have samples of your work for your portfolio, consider starting a blog and print copies of your entries.


A portfolio is a must to bring on a job interview. You might be wondering if it’s a good idea to also create an online portfolio.

Creating your own professional Web site as a way to showcase your résumé, samples of your work, awards, and is a perfect way to demonstrate that you have additional technology skills. Your online portfolio, or Web site, should include all the elements that are included in your offline portfolio. Since space is not an issue, you may want to include even more samples of your work, especially if you have writing or design samples.

word of caution:

Your professional Web site should be exactly that-professional. That means no personal photos, comments, or casual blog posts from friends. In other words, your Facebook page is not an appropriate place for your professional Web site.

Use a business-like domain name (http://www.yourname.com); if you don’t already have one, you can get one at Google or GoDaddy.com, for a minimal annual fee.

Use your online portfolio as a way to sell yourself on your résumé: add your Web site address to your contact information and mention it in your cover letter. [4]

How to Use Your Portfolio

It’s always best to bring your portfolio to every interview, even if it’s an informational interview.

In most cases, the interviewer will not ask you about your portfolio so you will have to bring it up in the conversation.

Be proud of showing your work samples. The Financial Times, in reference to Peggy Klaus’ book Brag: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, wrote, Start bragging…if you don’t speak up for yourself, who will? [5]

Ensure that you are getting all of your FAB points across, it’s best to rehearse how you will review your portfolio in an interview.

Keep in mind that time is short so it’s best to be concise and underscore the FAB points you want your interviewer to remember.

A portfolio is an excellent visual tool that makes your FAB message come alive for your prospective employer. The bottom line is, “If you walk into an interview empty-handed, you’re missing an opportunity.” [6]

Key Takeaways

Develop your FAB message using your brand positioning points as a foundation. Develop one or more FAB messages for each point.
Create a portfolio to bring on job interviews to visually tell your FAB messages. Include extra copies of your résumé, samples of your work from class projects, internships, volunteer work, and relevant hobbies in a professional three-ring binder. Be sure all samples are clean and are in color where appropriate.

You can also create an online portfolio on a professional Web site that includes the same information as your physical portfolio.

Include your Web site address in the contact information on your résumé and mention it in your cover letter. Be ready to introduce and review your portfolio in an interview; you’ll need to take the initiative as your prospective employer won’t know you have work samples to show.

Be proud of showing your work samples. Rehearse what you will say and keep it concise.


Identify at least four samples of your work that you can include in your portfolio. Discuss which FAB message each sample demonstrates. Create a summary sheet for each sample.

Review your portfolio with a supervisor, or other professional. Ask for feedback on your portfolio and presentation.


[1] Bryan Eisenberg, “Buying Is Not a Rational Decision,” ClickZ, November 26, 2001,http://www.clickz.com/927221 (accessed August 1, 2009).

[2] “Job Search: Back Up Your Resume with a Portfolio,” WorkForce2.org,http://www.workforce2.org/resume-portfolio.htm (accessed August 5, 2009).

[3] Maureen Crawford Hentz, “How to Obtain and Use References and Recommendation Letters,” Quintessential Careers,http://www.quintcareers.com/references_recommendation_letters.html (accessed August 5, 2009)

[4] Resumemic09, “What Is a Portfolio and How Can I Use One to Get a Job?” video, July 24, 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrHI0m0B1l4 (accessed August 5, 2009).

[5] Peggy Klaus, Brag: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It (New York: Hachette Book Group, 2003), front cover.

[6] “How to Create an Awesome Work Portfolio,” ManifestYourPotential.com,http://www.manifestyourpotential.com/en/work/tensteps/4preparework/howto/jobsearch/portfolio.htm (accessed August 5, 2009).