Job Application Portfolio

Job Application Portfolio

(Worth 15% of your grade)


Your first task in this course is to create a portfolio of items that will help you apply for full-time employment when you graduate. This assignment will require you to develop a “branding” strategy for yourself and consistently apply this strategy to a series of printed and electronic materials, select relevant samples of your academic work (from any course) and present them in a visually engaging manner, and prepare for oral interviews that you will undoubtedly encounter as you enter the job market. Because each of you has a unique career path, this assignment will allow for maximum flexibility. The materials you develop for your portfolio should be things you will actually use; as a result, I am willing to negotiate changes in the assignment to accommodate your situation. Please see me during my office hours if you would like to modify the assignment to meet your needs.


The portfolio assignment has four major objectives. During the course of this assignment, you will be expected to:
  • systematically reflect upon your work throughout your college career, and then present your best work using a portfolio format.
  • implement principles of effective document design in preparing business documents.
  • justify your rhetorical strategies in selecting, compiling, and presenting the samples in your portfolio.
  • develop oral communication skills that will enable you succeed in job interviews and help you prepare for the types of presentations you may give in the workplace.


Your job application portfolio should contain, at minimum, the following items:
  • Two letters of application (tailored for two different positions)
  • Print resume (hard copy, PDF format, and machine-readable format)
  • HTML resume (hosted on your ISU web locker)
  • Business card and “branded” letterhead
  • At least two relevant samples of your work (print or electronic)
  • Justification memo to me, explaining your decisions
With the exception of the justification memo, which would not be submitted to a potential employer, the audience for your portfolio is your potential employer.

Remember that the bulleted list above constitutes the minimum requirements for this assignment. Depending on the types of jobs you are pursuing, your portfolio may include writing samples, artwork, newspaper stories by or about you, photos of yourself engaged in projects, high-quality printouts of web pages, thank-you letters, certificates, etc.

Submitting Your Portfolio

Your completed portfolio is due at the beginning of class on Thursday, February 1 Tuesday, February 6. Please follow these procedures for submitting your portfolio:
  • Place electronic copies of your portfolio materials into a folder named "Full Name Job Portfolio" (for example, my folder would be called "Quinn Warnick Job Portfolio"), then compress (or "zip") the folder into a single file. Upload the zipped file to the class website.
  • Bring printed copies of your portfolio materials to class, presented as you would deliver them to a prospective employer.

In addition to submitting print and electronic materials, you will prepare for a round-robin oral interview (in which you will have the chance to serve as both interviewer and interviewee) and will present your portfolio to your peers in a 2–3 minute formal oral presentation.

Evaluation Criteria

As I grade your portfolio, I will do so with one primary question in mind: “If I were an employer, would I hire this person?” Of course, numerous factors influence the answer to this question, so I will use these specific criteria to evaluate your portfolio:
  • Do all materials in the portfolio employ a consistent visual design (fonts, colors, layout, etc.)?
  • Do the resumes (print and electronic) follow the conventions described in the textbook and discussed during our in-class review of resumes?
  • Are the letters of application persuasive? In other words, would I call you for a face-to-face interview after reading one of the letters?
  • Does the memo provide adequate description, analysis, and justification of artifacts in the portfolio and the process you used to create the portfolio?
  • Does the oral presentation show evidence of organization, planning, and rehearsal?
  • Do all materials in the portfolio follow the conventions of standard business English (spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.)?

One Final Note

This assignment sheet does not cover all of the details we will discuss in class during the next three weeks. You will receive several handouts as we work on specific aspects of this assignment; these handouts, combined with the readings in your textbook, will explain in greater detail how to successfully create a job application portfolio. If you miss class or skip the readings any time in the next three weeks, your portfolio (and your portfolio grade) will suffer. Please be vigilant with your reading and make sure you pay attention to the handouts and in-class exercises. Most importantly, if you have questions, please come to see me during office hours.