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How do I freshen my portfolio?

Dear Coach,

I'm studying abroad in the fall, and the school I'm going to doesn’t offer journalism classes. I worry that I’ll lose the writing skills I’ve learned this summer, as well as the multimedia training. I’m afraid I won't have anything fresh to show when I start looking for jobs next year. What should I do? -- Keeping Fresh

Dear Fresh:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Being a reporter isn’t a 9-to-5 job. It’s a ’round-the-clock state of mind.

Going to another country, even without journalism classes, offers a perfect chance for you to find a thousand and one great stories. Just open your eyes, ears and mind. Take your audio recorder and digital camera with you everywhere.  Interview people you come across – the shop owner, the poet, the fountain cleaner, the fellow Innocent Abroad. Spend a few evenings a week producing audio slideshows of your outings and encounters. Post them on your Web site. (If you don’t have a Web site, get one.) When you go to look for your first job, send the links to the audio stories along with your clips and resume. You will stand out from the crowd.      

Related column:

Time off to Travel
http://www.chipsquinn.org/skills/ask/ask.aspx?id=197

About the column
Ask the Coach is updated regularly. Have a suggestion for a future column, contact Mary Ann Hogan.

Read Mary Ann Hogan's biography.

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Last updated: Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 | 19:41:03