As students impending graduation, feedback from professionals in the industry is imperative in preparation for that first job. Students in the School of Journalism and Communication are fortunate in that we have many opportunities to grow outside of the in class curriculum. Portfolio reviews are a great way to compile the work you are most proud of, while getting interview experience with PR professionals, and receiving constructive feedback on your performance.
There are also tons of great blogs out there that provide great interviewing tips. The Hiring Hub is a great blog which is oriented towards ‘bringing candidates and employers together in integrated marketing and communications’ I found this post by Marie Raperto to be especially helpful when preparing for my portfolio review. It highlights some important tips to keep in mind when acing your interview. Portfolio reviews are a critique of your best work by the end of the PR sequence, by marketing and PR professionals in the Portland area. This mock interview process has the potential to really accelerate your position in the field if done right.
This past week I had my review in Portland. To date, this has been the most important interview experience I’ve been through. When it comes to applying for minimum wage, customer service positions, I kill it. However, I knew this particular interview was nothing to take lightly. I’m pretty sure I had butterflies in my stomach 48 hours leading up to my review.
I am grateful to say that my experience couldn’t have been any more pleasant. I certainly got very lucky with my reviewers. The second I met them my butterflies disappeared. They were not scary PR representatives who didn’t smile and purposefully tied to intimidate me as I had imagined they would be. Stu Holdren and Isaac Szymanczyk were actually completely opposite of what I had expected; laid-back, and as friendly as could be. The whole process was more of a conversation about my work than a stressful presentation. They were full of questions as we flipped through my portfolio and showed a lot of interest in my work, which relieved a lot of stress on my end.
Although I was not applying for a job, this list of interview tips by the Hiring Pub was very useful. The following tips were the most relevant and helpful for me while preparing for my review:
Prepare, but don’t over-do it:This especially rang true for my review experience. I was so nervous prior to, that I had a 20 minute pitch prepared, which I reviewed 3 times on my drive to Portland. I thought that in order to do a good job, I needed to have everything scripted in so that I didn’t leave anything out. I ended up using probably 20% of my planned presentation; but it only benefitted me in the end.
Strive to develop a natural dialogue and rapport with our interviewer: Thankfully my reviewers made this very easy on my part by chiming in and asking questions throughout the process. It made the experience a lot less nerve wracking by giving it a conversational element. By making a conversation out of the experience I think my reviewers saw a much more real side of me, once the nerves had settled.
Thank the interviewer the end of an interview: Thanking the interviewer for their time is a very important element to the interview process and creates a great last impression. I am definitely grateful that social media has made it easier to connect beyond the interviewing process. It makes it possible to keep that lasting impression past the interviewing process.
I am thankful for such a great opportunity to share my work and think that the SOJC does a great job in preparing students for the real world. I am also grateful for people who take the time to write blogs that help students like me in their preparation for success. When it comes to finding a job tho, it’s all up to you; and practice makes perfect.