We are often asked to submit portfolios at work and in our professional lives, even when they aren’t called portfolios. For example, when I’m applying for a job, I may be asked for a cover letter, resume, and other supporting documentation. When I’m up for a promotion, I may be asked for a letter of self-evaluation, samples of my best work, and a letter of recommendation. If I am meeting with a client, I may have a binder of examples of my best work to convince them to hire me or to help them articulate what they want.
For this project, you will practice submitting a portfolio and you will reflect on your best work this semester so far.
Pick two examples of correspondence from the following list that you believe are your best work or that you are proudest of:
- Email: Direct and Indirect Organization Pattern
- Letter: Writing a Claim Letter
- Memo: Culture’s Impact on Communication
- Project 2: Ethics Email
Make sure to revise these assignments as necessary. Often, even when we choose our best work, we make it even better before including it in a portfolio, based on what we learned since we wrote/created that work. You want these chosen documents to be perfect or nearly perfect in every way.
Note: Typically, a portfolio would have more than 2 items, but I am lightening the load, due to the short semester.
Write a letter of transmittal/letter of reflection. Typically, when we turn in artifacts of our work, we are asked to write a letter to accompany those artifacts: this letter sets the stage for the artifacts and explains them. This is basically what cover letters (which accompany our resume) or personal statements (which accompany school applications) do, too.
You’ll want to write the letter as a letter, with appropriate formatting. Address that letter to me, your instructor, and make sure it’s at least 400 words long. You will write your letter in paragraph form (do not submit one long paragraph, nor a series of bullet points).
Here are the questions that your letter should answer (although you may address then in any order that makes sense to you):
- What items did you decide to include in your portfolio and why? Was it a tough choice or was it easy to choose which items to include in your story-telling trio? If making selections was hard, explain why. If making selections was easy, explain why.
- You’ve already submitted this work in some version earlier in the semester. The portfolio is comprised of final versions. What specifically did you change and why? If you didn’t change something, why not?
- What concepts from the semester so far are captured in these assignments? What elements of your own personality or strengths as a writer are captured in these assignments?
- If the portfolio doesn’t fully capture what you learned this semester so far, what ideas and concepts are not reflected here?
- Which parts of your portfolio submission make you feel the most proud? Think of some part (or parts) that you worked especially hard on or which feels particularly inspired. Be as specific as you can be. You don’t want my eye to slide past your best bits. Tell me about them.
Do not rush. Look over the work that you will hand in to me. Take some time to think before you begin writing. Your answers matter to me – tell me what happened.
Place your reflective letter (as page 1) in a document. Then, include your two artifacts, making sure the artifacts appear in the portfolio in the same order they are discussed in your reflective letter. Make sure the formatting of all documents is appropriate and correct (you may have to play with the formatting to make sure all documents look correct). Then save the document to PDF and submit the PDF for a grade (note: in professional communication, whenever formatting is important, saving the document as a PDF helps ensure that the formatting doesn’t change when the recipient opens the document).
Here’s how you’ll be graded:
- Does the reflective letter answer all the guiding questions and does the student reflect thoughtfully on what this experience has taught them? (30%)
- Does the student provide detailed examples where appropriate, in order to support major claims in the reflective letter? (20%)
- Does student follow appropriate letter formatting, including a salutation, signature, and paragraph formatting, in the reflective letter? (10%)
- Do the artifacts included in the portfolio support the claims made in the reflective letter? (20%)
- Do the artifacts included in the submission appear to be well written and generally error free (especially in terms of formatting and organization)? Is there evidence of revision by the writer? (15%)
- Are all elements of the portfolio generally well written and free of grammatical errors? (5%)