It’s that time of the year: internship and job searching season. Although stressful, it is very exciting and everyone wants to be as prepared as possible. While attending PR Real World on February 18th, I was lucky enough to speak with Annette Davis from Arketi Group during my resume critique session. Ms. Davis decided to focus with the three of us in the group on how to develop a concrete and appealing portfolio. I am sure many of you could benefit from the tips that were given. Therefore, I am going to share with you all the steps to creating your portfolio.
Step 1: Begin your portfolio with a Table of Contents
Organizing and outlining are important in order to flip back and forth through your portfolio quickly. Since you may not necessarily have time to show every document in your portfolio having a table of contents is important in order to not waste any time searching for the pieces you want to showcase.
Step 2: Cover Letter & Resume
Following your table of contents you should include your Cover Letter and your Resume. This will introduce why you want the position you are interviewing for as well as set the stage and outline your experiences that you will highlight. This part of your portfolio is ever changing and updating for each interview.
Step 3: Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are extremely important in helping employees gain personal insight and backing for who you are and what you can do. This is a place where you can shine through others kind words. Ask previous internship employers, professors, club presidents. Really anything that you have done that is relevant in regards to the internship you are applying for.
Step 4: Materials
This is where the core of your work comes into play. Here you highlight what you have done in previous internships, classes, volunteer work, student organizations, or more. Ms. Davis recommended organizing your work by experience, or in other words chronologically. You should focus on highlighting great writing, for example any published work, your ability to show results as well as leadership positions that you involved in. Think of what makes you stand out in comparison to other candidates.
Step 5: References Page
Including a reference page is always a good way to end your portfolio. This gives the employer additional contacts if they need them or even just for verification of your letters of recommendation.
What to leave behind & additional tips
When leaving the interview you want to leave behind something for the employer to go back over and reference when he or she is making their final decision. Ms. Davis’s advice was to leave a business card, folder with your best 3 samples, resume & cover letter. You can also include in your follow-up e-mail a digital copy of your portfolio as well as a quick reference. Remember when putting together your portfolio, print in color as well as place your items in a leather-bound binder with plastic inserts. This allows for employers to pull out articles that peak their interest without damaging your materials. Appearance is key as it shows your professionalism. The last tip that I have to share is when to showcase your portfolio during an interview. As you are speaking about the work you have accomplished, flip to some examples as a reference. This goes back to measuring your results. It provides tangible evidence to what you can do for the company.
I hope you found these tips as helpful as I have and good luck creating your portfolio!