Your portfolio can be a very important tool in your armoury when trying to find a job. It can show off your skill not only to write, but to get published as well. As part of the NCTJ pre-entry exams a portfolio is one of the required elements. It can often be left to the last minute as you scramble to get a pass in all the other sections of the course, but hopefully with these tips it doesn’t have to.
Keep All Originals
Your portfolio not only consists of published articles. It also needs to be accompanied by the original piece (so the marker can see how much editing it needed) and a brief explanation on how you found the story. Keeping track of these articles can really save time when it comes to deadline day, as you will have to rewrite the stories if you lose them. Set up an email account dedicated to portfolio articles and email yourself the documents as you write them.
Track Down the Published Articles
It is likely that most of the articles for your portfolio will come from your time on work experience. When you submit a piece, make sure you find out where and when it will be published and get a copy of it when it comes out. Without it, you could lose out on a good story and give yourself more work to do.
Write Your Feature Early
You will need to complete ten news stories and one feature for the ‘folio. The feature is not only the longest article but also the only thing you won’t have learnt how to write during the course. If you can get your feature written early on you will give yourself a lot more time at the end of the course to concentrate on other aspects.
Mix It Up
If you are interested in sport, for example, resist the urge to fill your ‘folio pages with match reports and sports stories. The NCTJ like diversity in stories and look at sports matches as an event staged for you rather than a news story you have unearthed. Stories on your favoured topic aren’t a bad thing by any means but do try to mix up your articles.
Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your tutors. You are not expected to know how to compile a portfolio and it can be a confusing time, especially trying to pick which stories to use. Your tutors have seen this all before and will be more than happy to guide you through. Asking for help can make your portfolio life a lot easier and more effective.
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