5 Essential Tips for Creating a PR Portfolio that Gets Results

By Devin Daniel
Hello again, Houston!
In my first column, we discussed the role a great resume plays in your job search – but even with a well-crafted resume, it’s your portfolio that really gets you in the door. It’s how potential employers and clients evaluate your skills because it shows that you can do everything you say you can and proves how good a match you might be for a particular project. Even if you’re not actively looking for work, an online portfolio is an excellent way to ‘passively’ market yourself so your next amazing gig could come looking for you!
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve already been in the field for a while, here’s what it takes to get you and your portfolio noticed for the right reasons.
  1. A digital showcase (even if your work is analog)
You know what they say: Pics or it didn’t happen!
This is a ‘pain’ that’s unique to our discipline because so much of what we do is IRL: the fruits of our work aren’t exactly tangible or visual most of the time.
So you have to be diligent about documenting what you do. Take pictures and shoot video. This allows you to digitally catalog your work, enabling employers to search for and see it. If you end up with coverage in a newspaper or magazine, scan the article or make a digital copy. Later, we’ll discuss how to present your work in a way that’s visually appealing.
  1. Include a range that shows your versatility
Just like your resume, an employer should be able to quickly scan your portfolio to get an idea of your skills and experience. For PR professionals, showcasing past work will set you apart from the competition. The most important thing to do is save all of your placements.
Consider creating different sections in your portfolio for the following areas:
  • Local media placements along with the media pitch for each placement
  • National media placements along with the media pitch for each placement
  • Writing samples
    • Talking points
    • Speeches
  • Social media experience (follow these tips on how to showcase social media work in your portfolio)
  • Additional projects
Once you’ve broken it down, put your best work in the front of each section.
  1. Be specific about your role in the project
Seamlessly executed PR projects are often the culmination of the efforts of multiple people, and employers will want to know what role you played. If you include a piece in your portfolio, include a short description of your contribution.
If you have an exciting piece that was successful and demonstrates your worth, consider writing a mini case study. It’s definitely not mandatory, but it is an extra touch that will help you stand out.  
  1. Create some eye candy
Bold images draw the eye in – and even if you’re showing a marketing plan, press release, or other document, you’ll want to include some eye-catching visuals. Consider adding logos or enhancing the page with photos. Better yet, make the document part of a narrative and design the page to tell a story, with text and photos working together to move the eye down the page. This how-to guide on thinking visually will give you ideas for how to shape your narrative.
  1. Add a blog section to your portfolio
Writing is a key skill set for public relations. Blog writing is another way to display your talent especially if you are newer to the industry and have fewer samples. It’s a great way to position yourself as an expert! Plus, maintaining a blog on your portfolio can give you an SEO boost, and it allows yourself to passively market yourself.
Keep it professional and stick to topics that relate to the industry and your experience.

Creative Circle is one of two recruiting agencies partnering with PRSA Houston. Learn more about our Career Connection Program and visit our job bank. 
For more tips on this blog topic, visit Creative Circle’s blog. Stay tuned for event details on the resume and portfolio workshop Creative Circle is hosting in partnership with PRSA.

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