You, On Paper (and Online

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


What should it look like?

Clean and crisp is more important than new or expensive


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

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


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.”


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


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.)

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

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


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

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

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

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

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.”

• 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


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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