Lessons Learned

Thumbs up for a successful portfolio review!

This post will wrap up my portfolio review experience. I learned a lot during this process, and I hope these few posts in this blog may provide some guidance to other students.

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Be sure to check out my previous posts for more tips, but here are a few things to think about when you’re getting ready for your own portfolio review:

-Practice your portfolio presentation a little bit each day, starting about a week before your interview.

-Dress up as much as possible. Go the extra mile to look professional, and you will stand out.

-Have an “elevator pitch” of your resume ready for the beginning of the presentation. This was specific feedback I received; the reviewers said that before I started presenting my portfolio, I should have taken 20-30 seconds to ‘pitch’ my resume instead of simply asking for questions or comments.

-Be enthusiastic! If you’re very proud of one particular tactic, tell the reviewers! I did this, and they said it was a good touch.

-Make sure to send thank-you notes within a few days after the review.

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For more tips, see this article from a former SOJC student about her experience, or this blog from my teammate Rachael Kaapu.

Good luck to anyone who will be presenting their professional portfolios in the near future. Take the assignment seriously, and enjoy the experience!

Thanks for reading!

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The Review

I successfully completed my portfolio review earlier today.

Overall, it was an incredibly positive experience and I got some great feedback. The reviewers were extremely nice, and they seemed genuinely impressed by my work.

The worst part of the process was sitting in the lobby area of the building, waiting with other students for my timeslot. However, once I got into the conference room with my reviewers, I immersed myself in my presentation and I completely forgot that I was nervous! I think many other students faced a similar situation, as well.

My reviewers suggested that I practice my presenting skills as much as possible. Even though I tried to turn my nervousness into enthusiasm, I couldn’t fool the professionals!

They also emphasized that potential employers really like to see a focus on ‘results’ or evaluation of tactics included in a portfolio.

My reviewers gave me some ideas for ways to improve my portfolio, but they also said my work was very strong and that I should have no trouble getting an entry-level job. Talk about a confidence boost!

I wanted to share my review experience in this post; stay tuned for more tips!

If you’re itching for more information about portfolios, see my teammate Angela Allison’s blog for some great guidelines!

Readying yourself for the presentation and review

Stressed out about the presentation?

With my portfolio review scheduled for this Friday, I have been trying to prepare myself for the presentation.

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Speaking comfortably with strangers has never been easy for me, so I looked up some strategies to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Here are the highlights:

Beforehand, prepare as much as possible. Make sure you’re familiar with your portfolio and can present it smoothly, without having to pause to think about what to say. Practice in front of friends or family members, or with a teacher or boss if possible. Research your interviewers, memorize their names and learn about them, so you can have more of a familiar conversation.

Right before the presentation, relax and try to be as optimistic as possible. This is a learning experience, so concentrate on doing your best rather than trying to be perfect.

During the portfolio review, be confident and enthusiastic. Even if you are nervous, try to convey high energy and excitement, because this will make the reviewers more engaged in your presentation and keep your mind off your nerves.

More than anything, try to enjoy the process! It won’t last forever, and you will get some good advice from the review.

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For more helpful strategies, see this blog post about the portfolio review advice, or this article about job interview tips.

What should I include in my portfolio?

Can't decide what to put in your PR portfolio?

The question of what to include in your professional portfolio is one that can be difficult to answer.

After a discussion in class and some online research, it seems to me the general consensus is that the number and scope of portfolio pieces are not necessarily important. The most crucial thing is to focus on the materials you are most excited about, and to tell a story about yourself with those pieces.

For more guidance about what to include in your portfolio, this article from the PRSA and this blog post contain great advice.

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Additional tips:

-Professionally created pieces are generally better than those written for a class assignment.

-Avoid making your portfolio seem “scrapbooky” through use of cutesy pictures, wild fonts or too many colors. A clean, polished look is idea.

-Be selective about which pieces to include; you don’t want to have any filler material.

 

Of course a professional portfolio should feature the materials you are most proud of, but those pieces need to be high-quality and thoroughly proofread so they don’t distract from your work. Create a portfolio you feel proud of and excited about, and this will make your reviewer or interviewer much more interested in your presentation.

 

Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

The purpose of this blog is to document the preparation, process and results of my public relations portfolio review. This is for a class, J 454 at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

A professional-quality public relations portfolio is a requirement for graduation from the PR program, and I hope this blog will be a resource to students going through the process in the future.

Thank you for reading, and please stay tuned for future updates!