Recruitment consultant Melanie Lawn, writing in PRBusiness (4 May 2006) advocates the development of your PR portfolio at all stages of your career (except perhaps at the most senior levels).
It's something we require of all of our PR students, so that each year they write letters for publication, handle media announcements, run events, create publications, promote charities and gain work experience in the public and private sectors. We still require large artists' portfolios, and the best efforts are highly impressive.
At what point do we make this work electronic and online? The interview format still suggests that the physical format is best, but the idea of an e-portfolio is intriguing. What might it contain? I suggest: evidence of Google juice, a website or weblog with a PageRank of at least 4/10, different styles of writing, citations (clippings), evidence of design work, research, networking, teamwork and management skills. Can I cite an example? At risk of being repetitive, take a look at Forward and tell me if it doesn't tick all the boxes.
The story's even better from a recruitment perspective. When Edelman hired the student behind this group blog, they felt they already knew about her (word was out on the web). That's one huge advantage over a physical portfolio.