What is your passion? What makes you who you are? Are you willing to go the extra mile to show who you are to an employer?
These questions were asked at the beginning of the “How Your Portfolio Gets You Hired” session at the PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, Ga. I looked around the room when these broad questions were being asked and I saw a variety of things; I saw students writing these down for notes, taking out their phones and tweeting, or, my favorite, the ones staring off into space trying to find an answer.
This session was filled with just that – finding your answer. Pippa Seichrist and Dan Balser, two experts when it comes to creativity in portfolios and also advertising, gave their advice on the subject to a packed roomful of eager students ready to hear their every word. Their advice and lessons resonated with me and caused me to think about my own future and questions. Here are my takeaways from the “How Your Portfolio Gets You Hired” session at the PRSSA National Conference:
- Do not be afraid
When you are making your portfolio, do not be afraid to show your personality and your creativity. If you are crazy about dogs and you can find ways to express your portfolio items through that, do it. Your portfolio is a visual to bring the employers in. Get them interested in you and what you have to offer. If you are afraid to express yourself, you are not being true to yourself.
- Have fun
You went through the brutality when you were making the items in your portfolio, so have fun when making your actual portfolio. Résumés and cover letters are very serious and professional. Yes, your portfolio should be professional, but this is the place to have a twist to it and show your creativity. This is your chance to show who you are by your creativity level, so do it and have fun while making it.
In our world we communicate using our phones, our computers, email and social media. I am not one to deny that I am just as at fault of this as anyone else, but communication is a necessity. Once you sell yourself to the intended company to grant you an interview because of your incredible portfolio, you will need to talk to them. And not just that, but during the inevitable phone calls before and afterward. You showed this incredible creative personality through your résumé, portfolio and interview, now you have to speak to them again. Engage them in conversation, listen to their points and be your true self.
Be yourself and be creative – this is what I learned and I will strive greatly to succeed throughout my professional career. I am confident that my portfolio and speaking skills have increased through the session with Seichrist and Balser. I am inspired to continue to grow as a genuine professional using their advice.
So now I ask – who are you?
Chelsey Withers is junior public relations and sports broadcasting/information dual major. She serves as the high school intiative presentation coordinator for Waynesburg University PRSSA, as well as administrative assistant and an account executive for Red Brick Communications. She is also serves an editorial assistant for the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She hopes to work in media relations for college athletics or for a professional sports team after graduation.