The pieces I have collected for my writing portfolio should give a good idea of the scope of my writing capabilities. Not many creative pieces are featured, which would be the exception to that, so professionalism, whether academic or work-related, is a common theme throughout the selection. This was intentional due to my desire to use this portfolio in the future for the working world as a showcase of my value as a potential employee or professional business person. For this type of purpose, and more specifically, the type of industry and positions I am going into, being not largely artsy and creative, the creative works that I have written would not have a very important place here. There are four poems that appear in my portfolio, but these have all been published by a third party and so show that I am a published writer. My comfortability and privacy also come into play, as I am unwilling to potentially compromise work I may want published in the future by putting it out into the world before securing the safety and protection of publication.
What I have provided in my portfolio can be broken into three parts as a whole, but only two parts focus on writing. The writing categories are broken into Business-related and English-related and are broken down further from there. I am going to discuss four areas of focus for these pieces, which do not need to be constrained by the broad categories or subcategories because the pieces included in any category do not intrinsically become unrelatable to pieces in other categories.
The first area of focus is sentence length and is being introduced to start because this was the main kill-factor for pieces that did not make it into my portfolio. It may be that adding variety to my sentences is what I have consciously improved on the most in the last four years of college and that is why my earlier papers with most sentences the same length will most likely never see the light of day without heavy revision. Pieces that I remember fondly for the topic or argument made become unusable to me just based on a lack of variety in sentence length. While there are many ways to make a paper choppy, having all sentences be the same length, especially when shorter and of simpler syntax, is one of the best ways.
To illustrate this, I will include a paragraph from a paper written for a class on human resources management that is based off an interview.
Although there is a corporate human resource department for Ruby Tuesday, general managers do all of the human resource duties needed for day-to-day operations for the individual stores. General managers have sufficient power over their stores and do not need to receive consultation for processes like hiring or even firing employees. At the end of year/beginning of year meetings, an HR manager will talk with the managers to touch on some things like who to contact and how to work up the HR ladder if needed. If a situation comes up that a manager feels needs to be addressed by a higher authority, he or she can contact corporate HR. This could include receiving advice for dealing with problems or turning the situation over to corporate HR completely. For instance, if a guest or employee gets injured in the store, the risk management branch of HR would take over. Any type of situation that happens that could result in a lawsuit or could, in general, negatively affect the company, the individual store, or another employee are turned over to corporate HR.
Although I learned about varying sentence structure in middle or high school, it took longer for me to catch onto sentence length, and so though this piece does use a few different sentence structures, the length varies very little and becomes almost rhythmic to read. I wanted to use this paper to illustrate my knowledge of the HR field, however, the same-length sentences removed it from the running. In editing what did make it in, I made sure to comb over my sentence lengths with precision.
The second area of focus is writing for different purposes, and the last two areas of focus branch off of this. My portfolio pieces have a variety of different intents, from analysis to persuasion. Because they were written for a number of different classes, not only in the English Department but also in the Business Department, the purpose of my projects have rarely been the same, and adapting a piece to fulfil its specific intention is a skill I am fortunate to have gained from pursuing two majors at a liberal arts school. In breaking down the purposes of my individual pieces, summaries can be found below:
World Wildlife Fund Advertisements: A Visual Analysis – This project is analytical, and so writing clear connections of thought was vital in order to be able to be understood by the audience.
Current Event Log Pieces – The two pieces included from this overarching project are analytical towards a current event, which is then used in application to a business practice or concept.
Expanding Globalized Marketing of Hi-Chicago – This paper is a professional recommendation report for a business that required research as well as analysis and application to a theorized situation in order to argue for the resulting opinion.
Marketing Ethics – This topical essay was written as a personal opinion piece requiring persuasion and no needed research outside of personal observations. It is simply an argumentative piece trying to provide evidence for a certain outlook.
Photography Dilemmas: Big and Small – This piece was written for the medium of a blog. It is a personal opinion piece that draws on researched opinions of others as well as their experiences and my own experiences to argue a point.
The Treatment of Greece – This paper is meant to be analytical but under the constraints of personal observation, reflection, and the opinions generated that way. Minimal research was allowed to keep the focus on the reflective style, yet it presents a viewpoint through personal experiences and has a case to argue.
As a third area of focus, aesthetic formatting is something that is seen in some of the displayed pieces due to its purpose. Expanding Globalized Marketing of HI-Chicago was the first paper I wrote that gave attention not just to words and citations, but to the overall aesthetic look of the paper. After completing the dressed-up project, I found it to be much more professional and friendly to the eye, the included graphs providing aid to the reader through the complementing of the written information and the pulled definitions showcasing major terms required for comprehension. Three other portfolio pieces were dressed up in composition because of the value I saw come from that paper. World Wildlife Fund Advertisements: A Visual Analysis includes the three ads analyzed throughout, which is a necessary inclusion for a visual analysis to be effective to a reader. In the same vein, I added personal pictures to The Treatment of Greece to better illustrate the graffiti, vandalism, and stray cats I encountered that fell into my chosen topic. Photography Dilemmas: Big and Small also includes pulled quotes and pictures specific to the situations discussed but were more easily at home in format, being written in the typical structure of a blog post. Overall, while my writing has grown through college in the pure form, so has dressing my writing, and the point that I am at can be evidenced in the newsletter I created for the company I work for. The first issue of The HR Transponder can be found in the third category of design-related pieces in my portfolio, though not on display as a sample of my writing.
The last area of focus in my portfolio is citation. In high school I had the strange experience of being handed an MLA Style Guide while being instructed in Turabian footnote citations. It was not until I came to Gardner-Webb that I learned most other students’ go-to of MLA, and it was not until I was employed at the university writing center that I learned the other styles, such as APA and Chicago. In my portfolio you will find only MLA and Turabian, although I have an APA piece that may be added later. You will also find that some pieces were not required to be formal or were not required to draw from outside research and so have no citations, minimal citations, or informal citations. The two current event log pieces I have include the information of the discussed article, but it is formatted to look nice rather than to fit into a specified citation style. Photography Dilemmas, Marketing Ethics, and my visual analysis are formatted in MLA style, and my recommendation report and the reflection on Greece are in Turabian. In addition, not all papers were formal enough to require a title page and other stylistic requirements, and so HI-Chicago and World Wildlife Fund are the only two that include title pages.
As a last note about citation, the contents of my portfolio were written at different times in the last four years, and in that time, MLA has upgraded from its seventh edition to its eighth, where things get done a bit differently than they were before. Because of this, I opted to leave the citations according to the style of the time when written, and so some pieces, such as World Wildlife Fund are cited in 7th edition MLA, which is now considered outdated.