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Presenting your work in an interview with PowerPoint

Extra effort brings extra results. Everything you do before, during, and after your interview, matters at the end of the hiring process.

To prepare a PowerPoint presentation is definitely a good idea–especially when you can use it to demonstrate your knowledge of the job, or to showcase a successful project which you completed–a project that is relevant for the employer.

Job seekers typically prepare one of the following presentations:

  1. Work portfolio – the presentation gives a brief insight on your career, the jobs you’ve had, the projects you worked on, and the things you achieved and learned while working on them. Portfolio is especially useful for people who apply for technical jobs, such as graphic designer, web developer, application developer, marketing manager, cook, etc.
  2. Presentation of a specific project – for example if you apply for a position of a project manager in a company that specializes on information technology and software development, you can prepare a PowerPoint presentation of a project that you have successfully completed, a project that is related to the job. Slide after slide, you will show them how you designed the project, the challenges you faced, how you tacked them, and how you reached success at the end.

 

Ask them whether you can use a presentation

A presentation is an effective way of demonstrating your skills, and if you do it in a right way, you will benefit from having it in an interview.

Nevertheless, you should always ask the interviewers whether you can do the presentation.

Many hiring managers have their own way of doing things, they follow a strict interview template with each job candidate, and they have a busy schedule from morning to evening.

Such people may not allow you to show your presentation–simply because they want to follow the very same interview template with each job candidate–either everyone shows their PowerPoint presentation, or no one will.

Bearing this in mind, you should call them before the interview and ask about an option to show the PowerPoint presentation. Remember that even if they do not allow you to do it, they will appreciate the idea, and the extra effort you made to prepare for the interview with them.

HR managers will always appreciate the “I want to do more” attitude.

How to prepare a presentation

From a software point of view, you will find good tutorials on YouTube, and learn how to prepare a great-looking PowerPoint presentation with ease.

From the content point of view, check our interview portfolio article to understand what you should include on the presentation, and what you should rather avoid including on it.

 

Practice makes perfect, bad presentation can kill your chances

It happened to me several times that a job applicant brought their laptop to the interview, and they delivered their presentation (which we did not agree about upfront, but I do not follow strict schedule in the interviews, and I like applicants that do something more while trying to succeed and get a job, so I let them to make the presentation).

More often than not, however, the presentation had very little to do with the actual job offer, or the way they presented it just helped me to understand the weaknesses they had, in terms of their communication skills, presentations skills, or project management skills.

Take my advice: Practice your presentation before an interview, and make sure that it relates to the job you try to get. Honestly, no presentation is better than a bad presentation.

 

Do not put us under pressure, let us lead the interviews

Most interviewers have an exact schedule for their interviews, and the template, and they try to follow both of them. You should not interrupt them at the beginning and tell that you want to present your portfolio, or certain project with the help of MS PowerPoint.

You should wait for a good time, and a good time comes when:

  • We ask about your working experience.
  • At the end of the interview, when everything else has been said and done.
  • When they ask you a practical question, and the answer can be explained with the help of your presentation (this is actually the best time).

 

Conclusion and next steps

Wait for the right time. It may come, and it may not come. Maybe everything goes well, and you won’t even need the presentation to get a job. Do not press it, do not try to show it at all costs…

And if you get a chance to show us your presentation, ensure that the content relates to the job offer, and demonstrates the value you can bring to our company.

Practice your presentation beforehand, and ensure you’d deliver it in a best possible way–showing your strong presentation and communication skills.

While the presentation can help you greatly with your efforts to get a job, other things matter as well in an interview. Let’s prepare for them with the help of Interview Penguin, your best job interview coach since 2011:

  • Interview Success Package – Everything you need to succeed in your interview. Get ready in less than three hours. Get rid of stress. Brilliant answers to thirty most common interview questions, and a guide on how to win the hearts of your interviewers.
  • Interview follow up section – A letter or a call, you should follow-up your interview. Learn how to do it in a most effective way.
  • Physical, mental, practical preparation – Interesting insight on the interview preparation (guest post).

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