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Master of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing

Designing the Portfolio

A PWP is a highly critical communication piece. The individual materials of a PWP say something about the writer, as does the arrangement and packaging of those materials. The materials selected and their order will influence how they should be packaged. Packaging options (media for containing your PWP materials) can be purchased at any office supply store. The options include three-ring binders, artists’ portfolios, portfolio cases, and traditional portfolios. There are pros and cons for each option. If you decide to use other media, just make sure the finished product appears professional and well-kept and is easy to present. Keep in mind that pre-bound or odd-sized documents can pose a problem. Even though they may not fit inside the PWP medium, they are still valuable to the PWP. Since most employers understand the complexities of these types of documents, it is not considered unprofessional to simply carry them outside of the PWP when presenting it. For any materials not able to fit in the packaging, make sure you have planned a strategy for referencing them.

How seriously should I take the packaging of my PWP? You should take the packaging very seriously. Your professionalism is the key and only consideration. Don’t cheap out here because the message a shabby PWP sends is that you don’t take the organization or yourself seriously. Once this impression gets made, it is nearly impossible to change.

With your materials neatly packaged, you are at a good resting place. Now is an opportune time to take a step back and review the final PWP.

Updated 11.8.2008