If you want a creative job, prove it

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If you want a creative job, prove it

There's a scene in the movie "Legally Blonde" revolving around a college applicant submitting a videotape of herself to the Harvard admissions board. The committee is charmed by her video personality.

That, of course, was a movie. But it does make a point: submitting a CD-ROM or a link to your personal Web site conveys your spunk and creativity.

"Right now, Web programmers, computer programmers and people in problem-solving industries are using personal CDs and Web sites as job-search tools," says Kim Nong-ju, a career consultant at Yonsei University.

In addition, people in the design, film, music and communication industries are also using interactive portfolios. "I see vision when I view people's interactive or digital portfolios," Mr. Kim says. "They're about ideas -- and ideas sell."

Sometimes a cover letter and a resume simply aren't enough. A personal Web site demonstrates online capabilities, an important skill when you're in Web design or launching your career in a competitive market.

Designers can use Web sites to showcase their creativity and ability to use difficult programs.

Communications specialists and e-commerce pros can use personal Web sites to present previous projects, case studies, clips and designs.

Web-savvy applicants put themselves ahead of the competition in a tight job market. "Companies are cinching their belts," says a consultant at a Seoul executive-search firm. "Instead of hiring specialists, employers want well-rounded people with multiple skills."

A CD-ROM is also a networking tool. "If you meet someone through a networking function, and send a resume, it's obvious you're looking for a job in their company," says Sam Butler, a management consultant at DBM Korea. "It takes networking to the next step when you say, 'Hey, I have a CD-ROM, would you be interested in taking a look?'"

Another benefit of CD-ROMs is portability. "You can leave it behind after a formal interview or even an informational interview," Mr. Butler says. "As you finish an interview, you can say, 'If you'd like to look at my work in more detail, here's a CD.'"

The same is true for Web sites. Kim Kwang-hea, a multimedia designer based in Seoul, created her site as a business tool.

Ms. Kim describes the scenario: "You're out, you meet a potential client and they're interested in your work. All you have to say is, 'Here's my Web site.'"

If you have a portfolio, you either have to carry it around with you all the time or you have to make appointments for interviews and bring it along.

Putting together an electronic portfolio requires a lot of work. Is it worth the effort? It depends on the type of job you want. "It's part of the marketing effort," Mr. Butler of DBM says.

But, just like a resume, what goes in is crucial. Mr. Butler once received a resume that included a link to a personal Web site that demonstrated the author's passion for a particular Korean entertainer. "I have a hard time taking this person seriously when there's a bubblegum pop singer dancing across my screen," notes Mr. Butler.

Your digital portfolio needs to be professional. Create a separate site for personal entertainment.

Your personal Web site should only include information that is relevant to your job search. Its design should complement the image that you're trying to project.

A serious consultant? Stay away from pastel. A child's toy designer? Pastel might work.

If you're burning a CD, make sure that it's self-contained and compatible with programs found on most computers. If viewers need to download a program to view the CD, they'll lose interest.

If you need help, consult a pro. The staff at some Kinko's locations, like the one in Chungmuro, will help you scan clippings and burn CDs. Burning a CD takes up to an hour and costs about 15,000 won ($13). You must have all your materials with you, or have them accessible on a Web-based storage site, such as www.webhard.co.kr.

by Joe Yong-hee
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