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I have a web design portfolio interview next week. I'll be asked to go through my past jobs on my resume and what kind of work I did there.

I never saved any design files from one of the places I worked at (it was my first job and I didn't really think to send myself any of the work I was doing). The software made by this company is signup-based and closed to the public, so I can't even show current versions of features I worked on in the past. The only thing I have is one photo of a whiteboard doodle I did at the time.

What's the best way to talk about this position and the work I did during my interview?

  • Do you have any other positions that you can disclose on your portfolio? – DarkCygnus Oct 18 '18 at 0:40
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    Strongly related, even possible dupes on the core question: Applying for jobs, new company wants to see source code that I don't have access to any more – DarkCygnus Oct 18 '18 at 0:42
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    I have other work I can show. Just not for that specific position, which out of all of my work experience, is most related to the job I'm applying for. – french toast Oct 18 '18 at 0:57
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    Are you sure you're allowed to share or even have any of your design files from your previous employment? Usually things you worked on while employed belong to the company, not to you, and you sharing or having this could be illegal. – Dukeling Oct 18 '18 at 6:06
  • @Dukeling I was thinking the same thing, OP needs to be careful of the previous employers regulations and restrictions on such acts – Twyxz Oct 18 '18 at 6:40
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It would help if we knew how many jobs you have had in total and their lengths, so that we can judge how serious one missing job is. Having said that, you say that it is the most relevant to the one for which you are currently applying, so that probably tells us what we need to know.

Having never been a professional front-end developer (I do embedded software), I can’t say what the contractual norm is.

I suspect that if you are freelance, you may be able to write a clause into your contract saying that you can use the work for advertising purposes and the like, although I would expect the client to (try to) forbid you to sell it to other clients. I.e the client owns copyright and you have limited permission to display the work.

For permanent positions, it depends on location, which you did not state, but in most places all work is the property of the company which paid you to produce it.

That’s quite clear for me – I can't show the code to anyone outside of the company. It’s a little hazier for you, as the companies have made the work publicly accessible.

However, in your place, I would restrict myself to walking though the web-site in-situ and explaining your part in it. If I were interviewing and you showed up with a copy of the website on your laptop or a USBB stick, I would be concerned that if I gave you a job you might walk off with our intellectual property. Off course, I don’t know your industry norms, so take that with a pinch of the proverbial.

As @DarkCygnus said, you might want to read Applying for jobs, new company wants to see source code that I don't have access to any more.

In my line of work, we have no past code to show at an interview (apart, possibly, from some private stuff; maybe a GitHub repo), so we talk our way through the functionality of the project and our part of it.

And that’s what I recommend you do here. Since you say that the “missing” job is the most relevant to the position that you are applying for, the interviewer should have no problems following what you say, and being able to explain something verbally, rather than just point to something and claim it is much more persuasive at an interview. Good luck :-)

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