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.

Connecting New PR Professionals and Students: The Sevans Network

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a few of the major social networking sites that we, as public relations students need to be involved.  On October 4, 2010, saw the launch of a brand new site that should be added to that list: The Sevans Network.

Sarah Evans, the owner of Sevans Strategy, a PR and new media consulting agency came up with the Sevans Network after asking her followers how she could give them better resources.

Offering everything from career advice to internship opportunities and support from other members, the network aims to help public relations students evolve into well informed professionals.

The website offers groups that include everything from a discussion forum to a comment wall with topics ranging from nonprofit PR,  resume, and interview help.

A main forum, blog posts section, chat room, tools and resources, upcoming events, PR hash tags and member of the week are just a few of the other sections on the Sevans Network.

The unique part of the website is the “what projects are you working on?” section, which allows members to share projects and ask for help or advice.

Members have pages that include a comment wall, profile picture, basic information, friends, and a status that are linked to the member’s twitter and/or Facebook. Members page are personalized with different themes and privacy settings.

Becoming a member of the network is easy! Just visit this website, enter your information, and confirm the request.

As PR students, we are always told to network and blog. The Sevans Network offers both of those things, plus more, on one webpage!

More about the Sevans Network creator:

A true PR All Star, Sarah Evans is one of Forbes’ 14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter, created a weekly live chat for PR professionals, journalists and bloggers called #Journchat. She runs a  blog and works as the social media correspondent for SWAGG, a mobile app that allows consumers to buy, personalize and exchange gift cards from a mobile device.

Sarah Evans is the creator of Sevans Network

Kimberly Caro

Co-VP of Fundraising and Philanthropy (PRSSA)