How to Format a Writing Portfolio

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Writers who want to build a career out of their skills need writing portfolios to showcase their work to potential clients and employers. A writing portfolio is a writer's pitch and selling tool, so it needs to look professional and offer the immediate information a client requires when considering your potential.

Things You'll Need

  • Binder or folder
  • Paper
  • Card
  • Printer
  • Word processor

Print

  • Purchase a plain binder or folder and quality paper. Try to choose a binder that serves the purpose and shows professionalism. Avoid flashy binders or folders covered in images.

  • The first page of your writing portfolio is your overview. This begins with your name and contact information, followed by a brief outline of your business: the type of writing you do, the experience you offer and the skills you've gained.

  • Update your resume and include a copy of it after your overview. Your resume should be writing-specific and not cover the odd jobs you did as a teenager on weekends. Start with your most recent project and work backwards. Remember: All experience is good experience. Include projects you did for free and writing work that doesn't quite fit into your current niche. All published writing should be verifiable. Include the publication dates and the name of the magazine, book, website or other media a potential employer can check for your work history.

  • Add your clips. This is the most important section of a writing portfolio. After all, it's the reason you need one. If possible, include the actual clipping from the newspaper or magazine, which you can stick to a piece of thin card and then arrange on the paper. Photocopies and print-outs are okay, too, if you have verifiable information about its publication.

  • Compile a list of references and include contact information for past clients who would be willing to recommend you.

Electronic

  • Create a new document in your word processor and apply appropriate headers. Select an appealing font that won't distract, such as Times New Roman or Courier, and a size that won't dominate the page.

  • Write a table of contents and add your overview and resume as you would with a print portfolio, ensuring all margins and text are neat and tidy.

  • Link to writing samples and clips available online with a brief one-sentence description of each. Ensure you activate the hyperlink so the potential client or employer can click on the link without having to copy and paste. Add relevant offline clips from your own documents below the links and include the date and place of publication.

  • Save the document as a PDF file with your name and "portfolio" in the title.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get a website. A lot of the freelance writing industry operates online now, and more writers are converting their original portfolio into websites for potential clients to browse.
  • Update your portfolio constantly. You must always keep it up to date and showcase your most recent and relevant work to clients.

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