Time spent studying and sometimes even doing public relations at the School of Journalism and Communication isn’t time wasted, and your portfolio should show that.
At the end of the PR sequence there comes a time where you present a variety of work you’ve done to present your story. For some, this “final” assignment can be daunting, terrifying, and can make you feel anxious as the day for Portfolio Reviews swiftly approaches. To help ease your terror, PRSSA has a run down of what to expect and how to prepare.
Here’s a short and sweet run down of how the review will go the day of:
Note that you might want to bring something to take these notes down. A phone may not be the best device to do this.
Prepping for the review doesn’t mean just practicing your presentation or putting together your portfolio. There are a few other things you should keep in mind and probably execute before.
Do your homework. Think of Portfolio Reviews as a job interview ⎯ in this case an interview to graduate. The week before you have access to the review schedule. Take the opportunity to learn more about your panel. This helps put into context what each professional’s takeaways will be during your presentation.
Conduct a social media audit on yourself. If you haven’t Google searched yourself, now is the time to. You can bet that the folks who are chosen to be your reviewers will most certainly Google search you before your review session. Don’t forget to use the “grandma” rule. If you think your grandma wouldn’t appreciate a photo, post, or tweet get rid of it.
Double and triple check your e-portfolio. Attention to detail is a known attribute for any public relations professional. Make sure your first impression made online isn’t a bad one before the review.
Dress professionally and appropriately. Many students struggle when it comes to dressing professionally. It doesn’t mean wear four-inch heels you bought the day before or a suit jacket you had passed down because it’s the only “formal” thing you have in your closet. You want to look and feel the part. Reviewers know when you swung things together last minute. Follow these dress rules from Ann Taylor for women and GQ for men. Note for women: keep in mind the demographic of your reviewers. When wearing dresses, err on the side of caution.
Present your work as it pertains to your story and these three major points: the problem, solution, and impact. Each piece of your portfolio shouldn’t be there just to be there. It has to tell your story. Figure out how that piece of work relates to your overall theme or has shaped the way you perceive public relations. Remember that your materials have to tell your story without you in the room.
After your review, send them an email an hour to two hours later. Within 24-72 hours, send them a personalized thank you card. These folks are here because they care about how well you thrive in the industry. Take the time to tell them thank you for gaining valuable advice.
Abbie Mulligan, President, serves as the chapter’s resource and mentor, for our members and the executive board. When she’s not in Allen Hall, you can find her helping to strengthen the university’s relationship within the community. Follow her on Twitter at @abbsmulligan.
This post was originally published May 3, 2012 on Bianca Bernath’s personal blog, Public Relations Savvy. The 2013 Portland Paddle event will be held in Portland, Ore. during spring term. Please stay tuned for event details.
On Friday, April 27, I had the opportunity to participate in the Portland Paddle with 16 public relations students. When I told people what I was doing that Friday they thought I was crazy for wanting to go boating at this time of the season.
The Portland Paddle is an annual event organized by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) and Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
Each year the Portland Paddle provides the opportunity to meet with public relations professionals. During the short practice interview, students receive tips on how to present their portfolios, how to give an effective interview, and how to write resumes and cover letters that stand out.
Public relations professionals from Edelman Worldwide, Lane PR, AM: PM PR, Public Relations Institute Inc., CFM Strategic Communications, DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, MacKenzie Marketing, Nokes Communications Inc., and Kimball Brand Marketing were all present at the event.
Along with the insights I have gained from speaking with Pat McCormic and Deston Nokes, I learned four essential tips for success in the public relations industry.
1. Have an online platform, whether it is a blog, portfolio or both.
“Keeping a blog is important; it is an exercise of writing for value.” – Pat McCormic.
A blog allows the reader to have a digital relationship with someone on a human level. It serves as a good tool that captures an audience and allows the blogger to receive feedback.
Maintaining a blog and online portfolio gives employers a sense of who a person is. These online platforms also effectively measure passion by showing online involvement through participating in discussions and engaging in current topics.
2. Have strong writing skills.
People who write well are assets to the public relations world because they know how to write strategically. The ability to sort subjects from the most significant to the least is a valuable skill to develop as a public relations professional.
3. Use the cover letter as a way to tell a story.
Cover letters should be written in a way that escapes what is conventional. The cover letter should emphasize why you should be considered and should show what makes you different.
Be sure to mention skills that increase your return on investment (ROI), but don’t restate everything on your resume. The cover letter is a piece of information that makes the employer want to read your resume.
4. Employers have values that they expect you to follow through with.
After you are hired for a company, you are expected to meet the standards of your employer. Some values that companies may have are