Exercise 1
Skill Building--Create an Online Portfolio

Some of you may have already created your own websites for various projects or just for fun. For others, this exercise will be a chance to learn a bit about building an online showcase for your work. There are dozens of platforms you can use to easily build your portfolio. WordPress is one of the best known, and its wide variety of customizable themes or templates makes it a popular tool for building portfolios.  

This link to a series of video tutorials produced for the Journalism Education Association can get you started.

Here is an example of what can be done with a free WordPress template.



Wix offers numerous templates, or start with a blank page and use the Wix library of images, fonts, and more to create a website from your own vision, with no understanding of programming necessary.

Here’s an example of a simple portfolio built on the Wix site.



As we noted in Chapter 13, more and more recruiters are using LinkedIn to look for job candidates. Be sure to optimize your LinkedIn presence to help employers find you. See Exercise 2: LinkedIn for Journalists for advice.


Check out the portfolio building option listed above. Select one that you think might work best for your own portfolio and describe what you like most about it.

Questions--Portfolio Options

  • Name of site you chose
  • What did you like most about this option?


Exercise 2--Job Hunting on LinkedIn

Create a free account on LinkedIn (if you don’t already have one) and build a basic portfolio. To help recruiters find you on LinkedIn, here are seven tips for optimizing your portfolio:

  1. Choose the right name. Create a LinkedIn account using the name you plan to use professionally.
  2. Don’t use the default URL. Go in and customize your LinkedIn portfolio URL with your name, if possible, or with an easy to remember word or two.
  3. Use a professional headshot. This is not the place to use a selfie. Use a picture that shows you are job ready.
  4. Maximize your headline. The section under your name should include keywords that indicate the job you want, too, not necessarily the job you have. 
  5. Sell it in your summary. Describe yourself in detail here; it’s OK to use first person, too. Add contact information, such as an email address, to make it easier for an employer to reach you quickly. Add in media, including resume reels or other videos, documents, and photos.
  6. Flesh out your profile. Users who fully complete their profiles are 40x more likely to receive opportunities on LinkedIn. That includes adding in your volunteer experience, awards, and groups or organizations to which you belong.
  7. Grow your connections. More people will find you if you are connected to more people. Make it a priority to reach out to relevant contacts and try to expand your network to more than 500 connections.

Questions: LinkedIn for Journalists

  • The same techniques you use to find sources for news stories on LinkedIn might also help you find contacts who could help you find a job. How might you use LinkedIn as a job hunting tool?
  • Based on the tips provided for optimizing your portfolio, do you think you should introduce yourself as a student in your headline and summary? Why or why not?


Exercise 3
Resume Reel Critique

Like many smart students, Airyl Onstott knew it would make sense to get started on her resume reel well before she graduated. She worked for the student-produced TV newscast, but she didn’t get much in the way of professional experience while she was still in school. Take a look at the reel she put together before she left campus.

The summer of her senior year in school, Onstott interned at the Fox station in Dallas. She re-did her reel to showcase some of the work she did on her internship.

Questions: Resume Reel Critique

  • List three improvements in the way Onstott presented herself on her reel.
  • Many news directors will tell you that they make a decision on whether to keep watching in the first 00:07–00:10 of a reel. Do you see anything Onstott did differently in her updated reel to account for that?
  • Are there any elements from the first reel that you think should have been included in the second reel? Why or why not?