Portfolio PR and the Job Search

1 03 2013

Scenario: Applying for a Job
Subject: Potential PR Professional
Topic: Creating a PR Portfolio

Graduation is coming up and there are a thousand different things to worry about when applications to jobs and graduate programs start getting serious. One thing I have often wondered in preparing my applications is what kind of portfolio to put together. I never know what kind of information to focus on and how to present that information in a way that best reflects my skills and abilities. Luckily PRSA has an article about how to create a good PR portfolio. I’m going to share some specific writing samples that could be used from college classes and some other simple tips for  the portfolio pieces.

Select your best pieces

Almost every college class requires some sort of writing. If it is a writing class, choose a few of your favorites, but if its not a writing class pick your best piece of work from every class. It may not be applicable to the position you are applying for, but by having a wide range of good writing samples to choose from you will be more prepared.

Use professional pieces if possible

While it is not always the case, if you have an article that is published in a newspaper, magazine, or some other medium use actual publication so it can be presented in its original form. This will give your potential employer the full context in which the writing was used.

Include articles that demonstrate design or other elements

Demonstrating other skills that could be applicable to the position like design work or photography. This type of sample could be something from a journalism class or an introductory design class if there is some writing involved.

Make sure the samples are professional

As a graduating student most of your work will most likely be from classes, but that doesn’t mean that it has to look like it’s a student’s work. Some things that you can do to make sure it is as professional as possible is proofread your work thoroughly. Even if you got an A+ from your teacher, you should still review it and then get anyone else you can to review it. Just because you wrote it for a class doesn’t mean that you have to leave it in the same state it was in when you turned it in.

Include additional information as necessary

Sometimes portfolios require additional information in order to orient the potential employer with the purpose and extent of involvement in the project. One example of this is a group project. In my event management class we had to create marketing materials, create event programs and summaries, and write up a news release for the school newspaper. I wasn’t involved in every aspect of the project, but by including a brief summary with the materials you can get credit for a great portfolio piece without taking more credit than is due.

Put in a little extra effort

When it comes to making your portfolio stand out, a little extra effort can go a long way. Make it easy for the employer to find everything in the portfolio by labeling samples or making tabs. By putting your writing samples in a nice binder with plastic sheet covers or mounting them onto some black card-stock, your work will look more professional and it will look like you are willing to go the extra mile to make an impression. It also defines you as a professional and somebody who pays attention to detail.

The job field gets more competitive all the time, and when applying to a position every advantage can mean the difference between a job and six more months of job searching. By creating a professional and well-rounded portfolio we can be prepared for any interview in a variety of potential job fields.




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