The Portfolio Center at Columbia College in Chicago is a collection of creative industry professionals, educators, and facilitators dedicated to assisting students create pathways to good work. We offer an evolving set of programs designed to help students make well-informed career choices, complete smart and relevant portfolios, and to be savvy about how they put themselves into play as they pursue professional lives. We work with students at all stages of their education and career readiness. We're ready to help you.



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Posted 7 months ago
Designers spend so much time creating beautiful work and preparing their portfolio very thoughtfully; they shouldn’t forget the importance of having prepared questions as well—related to our customers, products, team or anything else that shows considered thinking beyond their presentation,” Chris Heimbuch, director for creative operations at Square, via Fast Company

On Wednesday afternoon, our Creative Worker Series tackled the ever exciting topic of career research.

Successful creatives are resourceful. They are curious. They know where they are headed, and how to get there.

Wednesday’s session addressed questions like:

  • What is your dream job called?
  • What experience do you need to get it?
  • What skills are important?
  • How does geography make a difference? Which cities are most robust for the work you want?
  • What type of companies could you work for?
  • What are 20 companies you would be interested in working for?
  • How do these companies recruit for entry-level employees?

Knowing the answers to these questions helps you walk into interviews and networking conversations with confidence, and they help make your job search efficient and effective.

Talking to people and attending events can be great ways to start learning more about where you are headed. Online tools are also a rich source of information. Here are a few to know about:

Portfolio Center Career Research Pages

Glassdoor: Interview Questions and Company Reviews

LinkedIn: Researching Careers and Contacts

Journey: Career Assessment and Research Tool

Library Research Tools and Databases

Join us on February 26th for our next Creative Worker Series session: The Check is in the Mail

Posted 8 months ago | 1 note
Behind The Desk: What Employers Want

It’s been a while, but I’m back. Maddie here, bringing you some Monday words. This week’s topic is employers; the ones coming from bigger companies or the ones who are professional individuals looking for smaller hires like a designer to put together their website. However, it’s not just about the people that call, it’s also about what they’re looking for.


I do a lot of things here at the front desk of the Portfolio Center. But more than anything, I talk.

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Interview DOs!


Our rockstar Office Administrator Jose Gomez recently had the opportunity to be a fly on the wall during an interviewing event here at the Portfolio Center. From his vantage point, he got to observe a lot of great interviews and wanted to share four absolute DOs for your next interview:

"DO answer the question that was asked. If you are unsure - ask for clarification."

  • Sounds easy, right? It can be harder than you think. Make sure you are listening actively and that you get around to your answer sooner rather than later.

"DO be prepared to give examples of how you behave in response to different scenarios."

"Do be prepared with a few questions for the interviewer."

  • A simple Google search for “Interview questions to ask them” will get your brain churning with ideas. Bringing in a notepad to jot down notes can also be a handy place to have these questions ready.
  • Pro tip: This is a huge opportunity to impress them!

"Do say ‘Thank you’ at the end of the interview."

Keep these DOs in mind for your next interview. Don’t forget - if you want to practice your interviewing skills, we can schedule you a mock interview here at the Portfolio Center. Just call 312-369-7280 to set something up. Good luck!

Posted 1 year ago | 1 note
Student Feature: Eli Vazquez, Film & Video Major


Work that Matters: the 2013 Non-Profit Career Fair is November 12th. In the lead-up to the fair, we will be featuring stories from students and alumni who did great work for a great cause. First up, Eli Vazquez (senior Film & Video Major) tells us about his experience as a board member and intern for Women in Film Chicago (which it turns out, is not just for women!).

Student Relations Chairman (and former intern): Women In Film Chicago

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Video Tutorial: Four Weeks to a Job

For those of you who missed our Launch Pad event on June 26th, we have a video tutorial of the content for you! Check out Job Search Strategy: Four Weeks to a Job. Stay tuned for more video content in the coming weeks.

Posted 1 year ago | 1 note
Ending Your Internship on the Right Note

As you wrap up classes for the semester, you may also be wrapping up your internship.  If all has gone well, you were busy learning, doing, and connecting. But how you leave has a big impact on how you are remembered. Don’t lose the great momentum- here are a few to-do’s as you approach your last day.

Organize Your Projects

Projects often don’t work on a semester schedule like your internship does. Take time to make sure you leave things in a good place – finish projects when possible, or leave detailed notes and organized files for the next person if there is still work to be done.  Your boss, coworkers, and successors will appreciate your professionalism!


Even if your supervisor does not initiate it, see if you can set up an ‘exit interview’. This will give you a chance to recap what you worked on and solicit feedback about how you did.  It’s also a great chance to address any logistics that remain, including: can I list you as a reference in the future? I’m really proud of my work on ___. Would you allow me to use it in my portfolio? And finally…

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Avoiding the Summer Snoozefest

Summer is a time for Instagram at the beach, music festivals, mimosas at brunch and short shorts abound.

OR it’s a time for Tumblr in your bed with the blinds closed and gummy worms for breakfast because your bank account is a little too low to actually do any of the aforementioned. Or maybe you simply just lack the willpower to get yourself out of the apartment.

We have three weeks left of the semester and a whole summer ahead of us. So how can you make sure that the thrill of endless time doesn’t die down two weeks in? Well, I’ve come with some ideas for you…

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Job Search Skills: Leaving the Perfect Voicemail

Job searching is full of uncomfortable moments, and making phone calls is no exception. Whether you are calling to follow-up on an interview or reaching out to a networking contact, there are unspoken rules you will want to follow. Here are a few pointers to take the stress out of leaving messages.

1. Leave one. Some people just don’t leave voicemails- they prefer to call and call until they reach someone. That’s fine when it’s your friends, but in a professional context, it’s bad etiquette to call over and over without leaving a message.

2. Be brief. Leaving a voicemail becomes simple when you consider that you only need to cover a few basics. Keep it to 30 seconds of the most crucial information someone needs to make the decision to call you back.

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