By Brenna Parker
Presented by Dan Balser, Advertising Department Head for The Creative Circus
Pippa Seichrist, Co-Founder, Head of Innovation and Development, Miami Ad School; Director, Portfolio Center
At the “How Your Portfolio Gets You Hired” session at the PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta ‘the portfolio’ was on the main stage. This session talked about how public relations specialists could use their portfolio to get into a creative department in an agency. Gone are the days where your resume, cover letter and grade point average landed you the job. Today public relations professionals need to excel in crafting the perfect personal brand by online networking and using social media.
“Your portfolio and your personality get’s you hired.” -- Dan Balser, Advertising Department Head for The Creative Circus
Portfolios on sites like Wix, Squarespace and Wordpress allow you to customize your site by creating simple pages with galleries and blogs. One unique takeaway from this session was that your resume and cover letter should be written with your best friend in mind. Resumes should include awards and social media icons for employers to easily identify you online. The panelists even recommended having social media accounts that are solely tailored to your interests: food, fashion or travel.
One question brought up by a student was “how do I show my case study and campaign books online?” Pippa Seichrist, Co-Founder, Head of Innovation and Development at the Miami Ad School, showed a video approach by showing a video done by Miami Ad students for the Vitamin Water #MakeBoringBrilliant campaign. The quirky video featured talking animals that spoke about the results of the campaign. The company read tweets that included #boring and replied with comedic images that correlated with the customers tweet. The end of the video, which ran like cinematic credits of a film, showed the results of the campaign. The campaign received recognition from Twitter for being “best in class” for a social campaign, it sent one million customers to the site and created over one thousand unique pieces of content for the campaign.
Vitamin Water - #MakeBoringBrilliant
One example of a personal website well made is, Kent State alum Isaac Versaw. Versaw, who majored in advertising and visual communication design, created a personal website for his unique portfolio. At Communications Connection in October Versaw said he used Squarespace to house his personal portfolio which includes passion project “Rap, Paper, Scissors,” a collection of hand cut paper illustrations of classic hip-hop artists in the form of GIFS.
Another element to consider adding to your personal portfolio is a side project. Balser and Seichrist both talked about the importance a side project can have when trying to stand out against other job candidates. One example shown was a side project a female student at Miami Ad School did in which she photographed every man that cat called her on the street. The photo series was picked up by the Huffington Post. These side projects speak to employers because they show your unique interests and point out that nobody asked you to do this.
Whether it’s an ongoing photo story or self-published ‘zine’ students can now produce their own content on their own terms. Publishing online is also a cost-effective way for students to self-promote. Projects can be tailored to specific interests and hobbies that can be shown in interviews for internships and jobs. What is great about having a side project is that it allows you to demonstrate an interest in a specific style or genre of work you want to work in or gain experience in. They show employers that you are creative, but also motivated to try something new. College students have a lot more free time then they may think, a couple minutes a week dedicated to creating new content may pay off in the long run.
We communicate on an online global spectrum where each keystroke and post is recorded and watched by people in walks of life. For creative public relations professionals the work and projects that we create for a portfolio need to be shared online on personal websites. Side projects allow for experimentation and improvement with new work. By having a side project it can add to a portfolio and professional development.
What makes you stand out against all the rest?
Tips when building your digital portfolio
· Keep your name dominant and identify your discipline.
· Highlight projects on your resume
· Keep your ‘about me’ concise, yet interesting.
Keep The Meter Running