More and more employers are asking applicants if they have a website or other web presence that they can access easily. Managing your online image is crucial when almost all recruiters perform an online search of a candidate before setting up an interview. By creating a professional online portfolio (and ruthlessly editing your web presence), you can develop a rich alternative for employers who want to see beyond your one-page resume.
Part 1: Professional Reading Blog
Blogs as a genre are more informal and immediate than most other forms of professional writing. The purpose of this assignment is to use that informality, as well as the capacity for linking to a variety of online media, to think reflectively about current trends and topics being discussed in the broader business world outside of class. You will engage more thoroughly with your own discipline and begin to establish your sense of authorship on the web.
Topics: Topics within your major or field work best, but they don’t have to be. The guiding principle will be this: Would you encourage potential employers and/or clients to read your blog entries? Will your entries work towards building your professional brand?
What to Write: The goal here is to show you are reading respected news sources, that you are aware of current issues in your field (and elsewhere) and have intelligent things to say about them. Though you will likely spend some time summarizing some key points of a news article, remember to always include your “take” or opinion on the topic.
Write at least 5 blog entries and 5 comments over several weeks (you will have most of the semester – PRB will be closed the last week of classes). See Evaluation Criteria for exact requirements.
How To Submit Your Posts: In order for me to provide confidential evaluation information to you and keep all grading information in Canvas, post the url address of your latest blog entry and/or comment into the Professional Reading Blog forum in Canvas. Check the forum frequently for interesting blog entries from your fellow students.
Important: Post only two entries of any type per week. “Weeks” are Wednesday to Wednesdays. I will issue scores for the PRB assignment every Thursday morning.
The PRB Assignment is worth 15 total points. Each blog entry is worth up to 2 points. Each comment is worth up to 1 point.
Blog Posts (2 pts each):
All blog entries must include all of the following:
- Well-written, thoughtful discussion of at least one referenced text.
- Highly accessible text, meaning prominently-placed main points, logical and obvious organization and short paragraphs.
- At least one visual. Visuals should be appropriately captioned and/or explained (unless they are obviously decorative). Visuals should be linked to their original sources.
- At least two headings (in addition to an interesting title).
- At least one content link. Links should be included wherever you would normally cite a source. Link out from words in the text – avoid pasting in a complete url.
- Fewer than two grammar/style errors.
- At least 250 words.
Note: Videos can count as either a content link or a visual – but not both in the same post.
Comments (1 pt each):
In order to receive the point, comments should be thoughtful, insightful, non- confrontational and at least 100 words. Value-added comments will include links to other articles discussing a similar topic.
Part 2: Profile Website
Your online presence should be a showcase demonstrating who you are and what you can do for future employers, clients, or careers. Just like you did with your resumes and cover letters, you will choose certain skills, values, artifacts, etc., based on the professional brand or image you want to convey for yourself. How do you want potential employers or clients to see you?
Consider this assignment to be a final exam for the course – utilize all the rhetorical strategies that we have discussed so far, including strong attention to audience and purpose; clear, effective prose; sophisticated application of organizational patterns, design elements, accessibility, readability, typography and more.
There are two ways you can proceed with this assignment. Choose the one that is more appropriate for you and your field and purpose.
1) Create a simple, possibly single page website that illustrates your well-thought-out personal brand. Your social media outlets, which have been updated and optimized with your consistent and appropriate personal brand, will feature prominently.
2) Create a more in-depth portfolio-style website that places emphasis on your work, including well-designed pages of artifacts, projects, and/or writing samples.
In both cases your website will include links to fully optimized social media (at least LinkedIn – more is better) and your Professional Reading Blogs.
Content: The profile presents a carefully-crafted, consistent and professional personal brand. All content on the profile is well-written. The profile is substantial and appropriate for the rhetorical situation(s). The profile establishes a sense of authorship and subject matter authority, including any relevant artifacts and links.
Effectiveness: The profile demonstrates creative and sophisticated use of the internet and electronic medium, including social media. The profile presents a full and professional image of the writer.
Application: The profile demonstrates that you understand and apply the many elements of professional communication discussed in the course. This includes, but is not limited to, cohesion, organization, accessibility, professional appearance, navigability, comprehensiveness, conciseness and correctness.
Design and Professionalism: The profile is attractive and accessible. The profile reflects the writer’s ability to apply design principles in a proficient way. The profile is easy to navigate.
Content Elements: A minimally effective profile will include a website, a professional photo, a headline, a bio, links to social media, and your own blog entries (or links to). Note: Quality will be more important than quantity.