Building A Professional Portfolio 

What is a Portfolio?

Whether in a hard-copy binder, video or audio tape, or DVD—or increasingly, online—a presentation portfolio is a way for communication and arts students (and increasingly, those in other fields, too) to showcase their best work to prospective employers and others who can further their careers.

What Goes Into a Portfolio, and in What Order?

  • Include only those work samples that will best represent your talents and speak to a particular employer’s, or type of employer’s, needs and interests. (Tip: be sure to research your audience!)
  • This isn’t a chronological or exhaustive history. Choose wisely, and place the best, most relevant samples of your work up front.
  • Provide some explanation of each sample—what the assignment was, where and when it was aired or published, etc.  But keep it brief.  In choosing samples and providing copy, less is more.
  • It is better to have no samples than to have bad or irrelevant samples. You can provide work on spec, charm your way in, or have references pave your way, but you can’t remove the memory of below-par work samples from an employer’s brain.
  • That’s all the more reason for you to recruit help from mentors, professors, alumni contacts , and others,  in choosing what goes in and what stays out.  It is VERY important to seek and accept critiques on your work from those in the know. (Tip: getting advice on your portfolio can be a great way to start networking with people who already have some vested interest in you…

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