Eiland Evaluates UO PR Student Portfolios

CFM Partner Tom Eiland and University of Oregon professor Kelli Mathews and visiting professor Donna Davis huddle before the student portfolio evaluation in Portland, Oregon at the Turnbull Center.Public relations students about to graduate from the University of Oregon appear to be prepared for their first professional, entry-level experience, says Tom Eiland, a partner at CFM Strategic Communications, who evaluated work portfolios created by seniors from UO’s School of Journalism and Communications.

“The work was impressive, showing solid writing and strong public relations skills,” noted Eiland, one of 20 Portland-area public relations and marketing professionals to review the work product of 29 Oregon students. Student portfolios were assessed on a variety of characteristics ranging from professional appearance to effective use of traditional and social media tools.

Eiland, who has 30 years of marketing and communications experience, says, “The purpose of the session was to help students organize and present their portfolio in ways that highlight their individual skills, giving them the best opportunity for getting hired after graduation.”

Based on the portfolios and resumes Eiland reviewed, he had three recommendations for the students:

  1. Prepare a resume that separates you from others. Highlight your skills and knowledge. Share more than a list of jobs and work responsibilities. Employers want to know what you can do and how you can contribute now.
  2. Start your portfolio review with strategic thinking. Demonstrate that you understand a project’s big picture – the problems you are trying to solve, how to create a plan, the tactics used to address the problems and how different communication tools support each other to reach the goal.
  3. Use storytelling to engage those reviewing your work and experience. Talk about the client. Explain why you chose a strategy that best met the client’s needs and goals. Discuss how you organized and worked as a team to get results.

University of Oregon J-school students usually work with organizations as interns and volunteers to hone their PR skills. Eiland said, “The students had worked with a range of organizations, including the Colorado Rockies (a Major League Baseball team), Crave (a professional women’s networking group) and King Estate (an Oregon winery). All were fun and professionally rewarding experiences.”

CFM Strategic Communications has an ongoing relationship with the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. CFM partners and account executives frequently share insights about public relations, engagement strategies and research with undergraduate and graduate classes. Four current CFM team members are UO J-school graduates.

CFM is an award-winning strategic communications firm specializing in public affairs, marketing communications and market research. Based in Portland, Oregon, it has offices in Salem and Washington D.C.