Assembling a Professional Portfolio

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Writing Samples

As graduation grows nearer the scramble to find a “real job” has commenced or at the very least becomes an increasingly frightening realization.  As English majors we are both limited and liberated by what we do.  The ability to turn a phrase and meticulously edit pages upon pages of copy is both bankable and likely to rouse inherently condescending inquiry: “So, what can you do with a degree in English, teach?”  Luckily for us, companies are realizing more and more the necessity for a mastery of the English language and the art of creative communication.

So, how can you show off your skills?

Being a long-time admirer of the Vera Bradley product line and commitment to philanthropy and their hometown of Ft. Wayne, Indiana it seemed obvious that I should submit my résumé.  After receiving advice from a knowledgable career guide, I learned that I should also compile writing samples that both show off my skills, display a thorough research of the company and its needs, and explore ways of increasing Internet and Social Media traffic leading to increased sales.

Simply Put

I created four hypothetical blog posts for Vera Bradley’s blog The Inside Stitch that feature both their products and their annual factory sale.

Number One: Generating buzz

Are you ready for #vbos14?

VeraBradleySaleOverheadLG

This post describes twelves steps to preparing for the biggest event of the year for Vera Bradley.  Under the dome of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Indiana thousands of women (and the unfortunate husbands they drag along) gather for the week-long event in hopes of scoring garbage bags full of good deals–a shopper’s Mecca.  This post generates buzz for the sale by providing tips on how to navigate it successfully.

Number Two: Displaying product knowledge.

Style My Vera

This post involves showcasing new products in a blog feature. Describe new handbag styles and their usefulness, while promoting additional purchases of scarves and keychains to adorn them.

What’s in My Vera?

A post describing a given Vera Bradley bag and its effectiveness and usability.

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Take aways

Your writing samples shouldn’t just highlight your writing competence and creativity.  Your portfolio is like a job interview before a job interview and should display good research and keen interest in the company in which you’re applying.  Maybe you aren’t thinking about applying to Vera Bradley or any place like it, but the principles remain the same.  In the end, employers want to feel like you’ve done your homework and that you’re an employee worth investing in.

 

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12 thoughts on “Assembling a Professional Portfolio

  1. This is awesome, especially since you love Vera Bradley so much. I hope you’ll hear something back from them because it would be great to be able to work for a company that you believe in and admire greatly. Isn’t that we all long for?

  2. This is awesome! I really hope you get that job. And I’ve never really thought (stupidly) about using my writing samples to show my admiration/respect/good thoughts for a company. I always thought they would just want to see that I can write well. I’m going to think much more about what I choose as writing samples for specific jobs now. Great post!

  3. This is just super impressive to me. A lot of people (including myself) complain about the research aspect of this field of study, and reading things like this is a great reminder of why it’s necessary and super helpful. Good luck!

  4. leebannister03

    I agree with everyone else! What a fantastic idea… It’s a shame that I stopped rolling my eyes at all of this so close to the end of the semester 😉

  5. This is sound advice for anyone pursuing a job. Too many people simply send in a resume and cross their fingers hoping for an interview. If you showcase your knowledge and dedication to the actual application, you’ll go much farther than your competition.

  6. Elisabeth Wilkes

    This is definitely pretty useful. It’s so hard to describe who we are in a resume or show our skills, especially is they are transferable skills that don’t reflect well in the activities we did.

  7. Scotty

    These blogs with also highlight your technical skills without announcing them outright. Subtle. And your obvious interest in Vera Bradley, your willingness to do unsolicited work puts your ambitions and work ethics on display as well. Cool idea.

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