Teacher’s Pet: Portfolios

With the warm weather, and exams but a fleeting memory, many
students find themselves hitting the office instead of the beach, looking for
internship opportunities. Today’s
Teacher’s Pet post is all about how to put together the best portfolio, and
what the heck to do with it once you’ve walked through the door. 

As a general rule of thumb, a portfolio should include a
combination of writing samples, your resume and a selection of references. Choose your
best, most powerful and results-driven pieces; no need to include everything
you’ve ever penned.

If you haven’t sunk your teeth into published work
yet, feel free to use class assignments and course work, but remember to nix
your essays. Portfolio pieces should be shorter in length, and demonstrate
industry-quality writing similar to what you would do on the job. From press
releases to blog posts, include a sampling of your best work that touts your
versatility. The more variety you show, the better we (or the hiring office)
can assess your skills and abilities, hopefully landing you that coveted
internship or first job.


Other good rule of thumb: if it doesn’t fit through the door, your portfolio is too big. 


Is your best work not on paper? Did you plan an event? Write
up a case study, including the event goals, the process you underwent and all
the (great) results.

As always, follow the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid,
meaning no coloured paper or fancy fonts, especially the dreaded Comic Sans.
While pink, scented paper may have worked for Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, we
suggest you stick to the plain Jane-style instead. You want us to take you seriously, right?

We’d hire her, just NO pink press releases.

When toting your newly prepped portfolio to an interview,
mention you have brought it along at the beginning of the interview. If you are
asked for examples of when you overcame a challenge, or led a team, don’t be
afraid to refer to specific content in your portfolio that specifically supports
your answer.

Don’t fret if there isn’t time to flip through your portfolio
during your interview. Be a savvy job hunter, and bring a second copy for them
to review once you’ve left. Hopefully you’ve also left a lasting impression!
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