The Dos and Don’ts of Portfolio Reviews

The Dos and Don’ts of Portfolio Reviews

Written by Hayden Skoch, account executive for Allen Hall PR.

Prepare your portfolio before hand. A portfolio review is a professional showcase of your work. You should be preparing and altering your portfolio well in advance.

You don’t need to be creative or have the best design skills. The most important thing is the work you choose to display and the professionalism you express. Now, that doesn’t mean the design and layout of the portfolio aren’t important, but don’t be intimidated if you’re not a master of InDesign.

Showcase a variety of skills. Include portfolio pieces that demonstrate your diverse talents and interests. By presenting a broad spectrum of your work, you will receive well-rounded feedback.

Presentation matters! A ring-bound notebook with clear protective sheet coverings for each page is a great way to organize your portfolio and give it a clean look.

Be on time. Portfolio reviews are a professional setting. Don’t waste the reviewer’s time by being late.

Dress to impress. Part of being a professional is looking the part. Make sure your clothes are appropriate and polished.

Research the reviewers. It’s helpful to come in knowing a thing or two about your reviewers. Being knowledgeable about their backgrounds will help you to understand where their feedback is coming from.

Come with specific questions. Having questions prepared before the review shows that you care. Make sure to bring questions written down so you don’t forget to ask them!

Don’t make excuses. Understand that the reviewers want to give you helpful feedback and it’s in your best interest to respect what they have to say.

Own your work. Be proud! You have put so much work into your portfolio (or at least you should have!)

Listen. Listening closely to the reviewer’s advice is the best way you can do to improve your portfolio. Let your work speak for itself.

Take detailed notes. Write down what the reviewers suggest and any tips. Notes will be helpful in the future for updating your portfolio.

Make sure your portfolio is at a professional level. In some cases, SOJC portfolio reviews can potentially lead to job offers. It is so important to showcase yourself in the best light possible.  

Show variety. Variety allows for feedback on what work is your strongest and what needs improvement.

Be thoughtful about the design of your portfolio. Artistic presentation matters just as much as content. This is not a scrapbook. Keep it clean, organized, and professional.

Include work that was done outside of the classroom. You want to show that you have spent your own time developing your skills not just for class assignments.

Proofread, proofread, proofread. Make sure your mechanics are absolutely perfect. Spelling and grammar mistakes are not acceptable at this stage of your portfolio!

Mount work on plain black or white paper. This will give your portfolio a clean aesthetic. You don’t want any design elements to distract from your work, only enhance it and draw more attention to it.

Have your work in electronic form. It’s important to always have files of everything on your computer. We live in a digital age.

Make your role known. Every portfolio piece should have a by-line or a specific description of what you contributed to it.

Hayden Skoch is a public relations major at the University of Oregon. Her interests include fashion and lifestyle PR. Her goal is to one day work for an agency specializing in fashion media. Follow Hayden on Instagram at @HaydenSkoch.

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