Most public relations students go out into the professional world armed with an polished resume, a strong sense of self confidence, and knowledge of their field. They walk into interviews prepared to ask questions and share stories of their PR experiences. After the interview, sadly, many people walk away leaving the interviewer with nothing but the memory of the interview.
As important as your resume and ability to speak about your experiences will be when you go out into the professional world, there is something else you can do to give yourself to an added edge. What’s that you ask? Create a portfolio.
A portfolio will allow you to not only leave the interviewer with a memory of the interview, but also provides something tangible to go back to beyond the bullet points on your resume. Once you build your portfolio, you can update it as often as you update your resume, just keep it consistent. Whether you’re a senior or an ambitious freshman, it’s never too late to create an outstanding portfolio. Here are some things to remember when creating your portfolio:
- Review and Revise – Do not put unedited or unrevised work in your portfolio. Have someone else read over your writing and check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Nothing is a bigger turn of than writing samples that are full or errors.
- Create What You Lack – If you don’t have as much writing experience as you’d like to include in your portfolio, generate some! Create mock media alerts, press releases, and other PR documents. Doing this shows that you don’t wait for experience to come to you, and that you are willing to create opportunity for yourself.
- Keep It Simple – Don’t overdo it with the look of your portfolio. Less if often more when it comes to professional presentation. Use a solid colored portfolio cover, preferably dark brown or black, and print your writing samples on white paper in black ink.
- Offer it digitally – It’s one thing to be able to give someone a tangible version, but another to be able to follow up with a digital copy. Have a digital version available via online hosting site or flash drive. This makes the portfolio easy to email and gives you a back up way of saving a hard copy!