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> ...if you are writing proprietary / confidential material
> you can always _SHOW_ samples to prospective employers in an interview
> but you can never _GIVE_ them copies to keep...
> Be careful following that advice! Showing proprietary samples can
> backfire. If you can't be trusted to protect proprietary information
> one company, why would a prospective employer feel they could trust
> with the new company's trade secrets? You can always ask an employer
> you can include a piece in your portfolio and let them make the
> about "showing" or "giving" a particular piece. Admittedly, that
> a problem if you're covertly seeking employment. If that's the case,
> you should find other samples to use. Some of us don't have to worry
> because our work is already out there for anyone to see.
If you have non-proprietary (i.e. customer facing) samples, that is
always best, of course, but if you have only worked on internal,
proprietary documentation, you can show it: flip through pages for the
interviewer so he/she gets an idea of the layout, design, etc. However,
do not ever give the document to the person, and never let it out of
Explain up front that your only samples are proprietary and you can show
them but not give it to them, this DOES communicate to interviewers that
you respect the intellectual property of an employer, but that you
recognize the practical need to show a portfolio of what you can do. You
might put such samples in a larger portfolio binder and maintain
physical control of that binder throughout the interview. Again the idea
is to show what you can do without giving anything away.
At the same time, this gives you the chance to evaluate the company with
whom you are interviewing. It's just as important that they show respect
for you and the intellectual property you bring to the interview as it
is for you to respect the copyright and confidentiality of your current
and past employers.
Of course, I'm sure if you work directly for a government agency or for
government contractors and your documentation is linked to national
security, you might be in serious trouble for even taking copies of the
documentation out of your office for your personal library, so you
wouldn't want to share those with anyone.
Bottom line: don't do anything stupid, but telling an interviewer that
you don't have samples of your work because everything you wrote for
previous employers was confidential and proprietary sounds pretty lame,
and it puts you at a serious disadvantage to other candidates that do
have samples available to show the interviewer.
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