Building Your Professional Portfolio

Why create a professional portfolio?
The purpose of a professional portfolio is to market your skills and capabilities to potential employers in interview situations. Portfolios can help you negotiate promotions or raises, and apply for bonuses. The condition and organization of your portfolio speaks volumes to the type of person you are and the quality of your professional development. Lastly, but most importantly, portfolios demonstrate prior work and/or learning experiences, making you more appealing to potential employers.
Portfolio Tips…..from Hofstra’s very own Professor Semple!
  • Buy a nice binder in a dark color, so it doesn’t get smudged or dirty easily.
  • Begin your portfolio with your resume in a plastic sleeve (resumes are only to be 1 page, 10 point font at the smallest)
  • All pieces should go in plastic sleeves, laid out front and back.
  • Next you have should have any professional clippings, pitches or press releases that you have from internships. Make it logical. If you wrote a pitch, that resulted in a placement. Show the pitch, then the placement, etc…
  • Continue with any publications you might have written for (school newspapers, newsletters, blog posts, etc…)
  • Last, include any copywriting tools you created from your PR classes or PRSSA and/or PRestige.
  • DO NOT list anything from high school.
  • You can include a list of professional references if you like, put the sheet at the back of your portfolio.

Portfolio Tips From PRSSA.org:

  • Gathering material is the most challenging part of putting together a good portfolio. The best advice in this regard is –keep everything! You can decide later what to include.
  • Organize, Organize, Organize! Keeping “press kit” portfolios will allow you to either send them to employers or leave them with interviewers.
  • Be considerate of your potential employers time, you don’t need to include everything that you wrote while in college, just the most outstanding pieces that scream talent. This is more impressive to an employer than a large portfolio.
What can be included in a professional portfolio?
Items typically found in most professional portfolios include:
  • Resume
  • Evidence of professional affiliations
  • Licenses or Certificates
  • Letters of reference
  • Evidence of specific skills (e.g. public speaking, leadership, writing)
  • Work Samples (e.g. class projects, items produced during internship or co-op experiences)
A strong portfolio includes several things…
  • A writing sample – if you must, use an academic writing sample and clearly mark it as such.
  • A brochure, newsletter or copy of a website that illustrates desk-top publishing or technical skills.
  • Make sure your portfolio is organized and free of typos. Even if your portfolio is outstanding a typo will grab the attention of potential employers.
  • Clearly label your name, address and phone number on your portfolio.
  • A good portfolio highlights what you would most like to be doing in the future and is representative of your skills.
  • Your portfolio should provide your employer with a good mix of your skills and talents.
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