You, On Paper (and Online

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Constructing a public relations portfolio

What is a portfolio?
• It’s a compendium of materials that demonstrate your expertise in public relations • It’s used to show potential employers that you know what you’re doing

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What should it look like?

Clean and crisp is more important than new or expensive

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Let your career goals guide you
• A portfolio for someone working in the arts should look quite different from on for a person in banking
• • • • Both exterior and interior Color choice Font Elements included
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What does the employer expect?
• Review basic skills required in job postings to see what employers are looking for • Emphasize basic PR tools that you will actually use in your first job

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What goes in the portfolio?
• Resume (CV) • Generic reference letters from employers, teachers, volunteer supervisors, etc. • Writing and design samples
• It’s okay to include items created in class • “We know they’re students.”

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Documentation of work
• Anything can be documented • Club newsletter showing your activities • Special event on paper:
• Checklists • Event planning materials • Fliers or invitations

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But most importantly…
• RESULTS: Not just that you wrote or designed PR materials, but what happened because they were distributed
• Pictures of a special event to document attendance • News stories resulting from media relations • Evaluation materials (survey results, etc.) • Web copy (links from blogs or Web sites, etc.)
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Selecting items
• Try to include a variety of materials, preferably in their original form
• Print, Internet and broadcast • Research, strategic thinking/planning • Variety of publics targeted, positions held

• Choose only your best
• One great news release is better than one great one plus two okay ones
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How should I organize it?
• Room for creativity • By job/position held • By item type (i.e., PSAs in one section, events in another) • You can also customize it for each interview

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Organization is vital
• Organize it so someone could figure it out if you weren’t there to explain • Most employers just skim, so you should highlight what’s most important
• Tabs/section breaks, table of contents • First page of each section • Headlines, attention-getters
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Appearance is also vital
• Do:
• Clean, crisp pages (use protectors) • Clean copy

• Don’t
• Poor design • Anything that will detract from skimming • Crazy fonts, clip art, frills
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Electronic portfolios
• Show off your online skills • Convert writing/design samples to PDF files • Links to news coverage based on your media relations activities • Remove personal information such as address and telephone numbers (yours, references, etc.) • Social media resume
• Links to blog, Web site, Twitter account, podcasts or other online activities
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What do I do with it now?
• Take it with you on every interview
• If you have an electronic portfolio, bring a paper version to the interview

• Ask the interviewer if they would like to see it
• They won’t necessarily ask you to see it • They assume you will bring one if you have one
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Showing it off
• Don’t just shove it at them and sit silently • Use it as a chance to link your experience with their needs
• Narrate what they’re seeing • “You were asking about my experience with newsletters. Here’s an example of an article I wrote for my club’s newsletter. I also took the pictures.”
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Takeaways
• Make photocopies of the very best items, put in a packet that you can leave behind • Can include a page with link to your electronic portfolio or other links

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I got a job!
• Now what do you do with your portfolio?
• Keep it • Keep adding to it • Reorganize as needed – the beauty of page protectors • PRSA suggests using it for
• Negotiations (raise, promotion) • Scholarship, grant, bonus applications
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