A look inside Portfolio Reviews

Each term University of Oregon public relations students participate in portfolio reviews upon their completion of J454: PR Campaigns. Each student has the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a panel of professionals to present their work and receive feedback. This term, around 120 students will be doing their portfolio reviews. Take a look at what public relations senior Karly Tarsia (@KarlyTarsia) has to say about portfolio reviews.

  1. Could you tell us what the process of a portfolio review is like:

The prep is the most stressful part hands down. From the moment you enter your campaigns class you feel the pressure of having an amazing portfolio, as well as presenting your best self. The day of you will go wait outside the conference room with your portfolio and the reviewers will come get you when it’s time.

The second I started talking about my work to my panel I instantly calmed down. I know my work better than anyone, I created it and have lived with it. At the end of discussing your portfolio you sit down and chat with your panel about things that did and didn’t work. It’s a lot calmer than an interview and much more conversational-based. I left my review feeling great, both that it was over and that I shared my passion pieces with professionals. The whole process is anywhere from forty minutes to an hour.

  1. What do you recommend students to do in order to prepare for portfolio reviews:

Take the portfolio review class! I cannot stress this enough, it will make the process of creating your portfolio so much easier. I had no concept of what a portfolio looked like, how to build one physically or what pieces to include. This workshop helped me with all of that.

Make sure you start your portfolio by week 6 of the term. It is a long process and you will get frustrated a lot of the time. Your reviewers will know if you started it the week before. Take your time with it, this is the place to brag about all the work you’ve done, so make sure you put your best effort forward.

Makenna Huck, Courtney Mains, Karly Tarsia, Rachael Arnold and Bree Baeyens at Winter 2016 portfolio reviews.
Makenna Huck, Courtney Mains, Karly Tarsia, Rachael Arnold and Bree Baeyens at Winter 2016 portfolio reviews.
  1. What do you wish you had known before the portfolio review:

How calm it is once you are in the actual review. I was so nervous before going into my review I felt like Katniss before she entered the Hunger Games. Once I was sitting in front of my panel I was immediately put at ease. Its a chance to talk about the work you are so passionate about and your reviewers love to see how proud you are of it. It’s much more of a conversation rather than an interview.

Go in knowing you will do great, you have prepared and worked hard so there is no way you can fail at talking about the things you love. On the flip side, don’t add pieces you aren’t proud to talk about. Your panel will notice you put it in for fluff. It is better to have four pieces you really love than seven that you are so-so on.

  1. What were some things you learned during portfolio reviews:

How I present myself physically, I learned that I do a lot of absent minded fiddling with my body when I speak. That was interesting to me, so be aware of your body language. It may help to practice in front of someone so they can tell you what you may be doing that you are unaware of.

I also learned just because I display something in a way that is logical to me it may not always be logical for a reviewer. Explaining why you did something helps justify your actions. We all think differently but if I can explain my rationale that helps my reviewers follow my train of thought.

  1. Do you had any other comments or suggestions?

Even though the prep is stressful enjoy the ride. This is your major and all the work you’ve done on display for people to look at. It’s a very exciting time! Oh! Also take a notepad with you so you can write down comments and suggestions. You will get wrapped up in the conversation and jotting down notes will help you edit your profile when you leave.

This may come as a no-brainer but thank your reviewers for their time and network while you are in reviews. They are taking time out of their work day to help you. These professionals can assist you in a variety of ways. Just because you don’t want to live in Portland or Eugene doesn’t mean they don’t know someone who can help you get to your desired location. Leave a good impression!

Tips from SOJC Public Relations:

  • Highlight material you are most excited about
  • Use your work to tell a story. Walk your reviewers through the process and describe challenges you faced
  • Focus on results
  • Highlight your teamwork. Don’t take credit for work you didn’t do.
  • Practice before the review
Karly Tarsia is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in public relations. Upon graduation she hopes to move to Seattle to work for a PR firm. Follow Tarsia on Twitter @KarlyTarsia.
Karly Tarsia is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in public relations. Upon graduation she hopes to move to Seattle to work for a PR firm. Follow Tarsia on Twitter @KarlyTarsia.

Written by Maritza Rendon, UO PRSSA Vice President

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