5 Reasons Every Professional Writer Should Have an Online Portfolio
If you’re a writer who has created more than a handful of pieces, you’ve probably thought about keeping them all in a single location. Creating an online portfolio is a great idea, especially if you’re considering pursuing writing professionally.
A writer’s portfolio can say a lot about how seriously they take their craft. From a professional standpoint, it can carry the same amount of importance as references, education, and work experience. Due to how convenient they are for hiring managers and job seekers, online portfolios are becoming much more common – and not solely for writers, either. According to Kelli Smith, a writer for The Muse, online portfolios are becoming popular in a variety of fields. “In fact, they’re getting so popular that it’s almost surprising when a candidate doesn’t have one.”
The digital age has given everyone the ability to create an online portfolio with ease. Though they do take a bit of work to put together, the results can be well worth it.
Five Reasons Every Writer Should Have An Online Portfolio:
1. It Makes Applying for Jobs Much Easier
Everyone who loves to write has probably applied for a formal position at one time or another. But if an organization is looking to pay money for copy, chances are they want to see clear examples of what an applicant can offer them.
According to research presented by Jacquelyn Smith of Forbes, “56% of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool—however, only 7% of job seekers actually have a personal website.”
Rather than submitting a zip folder or PDF file, you’re almost always better off submitting a link to an online collection of your best samples. Why is this? The answer is simple – online portfolios are much more convenient. Multiple hiring managers may need to see your application, and a link can be shared much easier than a collection of files. Likewise, online portfolios can be easily viewed across multiple devices.
2. It Makes It Easier to Stay Organized
Writers are creative individuals – but sometimes creativity and clutter can go hand-in-hand. Even if your entire body of work is located on a single hard drive, it can sometimes be difficult to find the perfect writing samples when you need them.
An online portfolio makes it easy for you to show off your skills and versatility in a well-organized manner. Going digital with a portfolio allows you to separate your work according to various criteria, including:
- Topics and Subject Matter
- Styles and Types of Copy
- Published Works vs. Sample Pages
An online portfolio allows you to put your creative and professional talents on display for the world to see. More specifically, it makes it easy for you to do so in a neat and easy-to-navigate fashion. In fact, keeping an online portfolio can give any writer more motivation to keep works labeled and filed properly so they can be added to the portfolio later.
3. It Can Help a Writer Improve Their Skills
While an online portfolio can certainly help a writer become more organized, it also offers other benefits. Though it’s fair to assume a writer who has enough content for an online portfolio is already skilled at their craft, every writer can improve. Posting copy for the world to see can give you the motivation necessary to polish your work to optimal levels.
Any writer who posts samples online will usually want to make sure those samples are as refined as possible. I can say from personal experience that creating my portfolio pushed me to make sure each piece of copy I included in the collection was something I could feel confident in sharing.
A writer who spends a long time perfecting their portfolio may find that their samples are of a higher level of quality than their general writing – at least at first. Making satisfying revisions and improvements to pieces in a portfolio can help a writer refine their style permanently. In fact, this is a great way to benchmark your current skill set and improve it over time.
4. It’s Great for Networking Purposes
It takes a lot of skill to write professionally – but being able to put the words together is only part of the process. Becoming a successful writer involves contacting others in quick, concise, and professional manner. An online portfolio can be the perfect solution for this type of need. While a portfolio is primarily used to show off writing samples, it can also include:
- Educational History, Degrees, and Certifications
- Work Experience and Professional References
- Contact Information and Relevant Links
Even if you aren’t applying for a job, sending someone a link to your online portfolio can be the equivalent of handing them a business card. For example, do you know someone who is creating their own startup? Simply sending them the link to your portfolio allows you to get your foot in the door. Do this enough times, and you’ll have plenty of possibilities for future writing endeavors.
5. It Helps Professional Writers Stand Out
It’s no secret that the market for online content creation is competitive. According to WordPress, 73.9 million new blog posts are created each month on their service alone! But just like a person who knows the theme to one TV show on a piano wouldn’t necessarily call themselves a professional musician, a person who makes the occasionally polished blog post probably wouldn’t dub themselves a professional writer.
So, what gives someone the distinction of being a professional writer? There’s no set credential or achievement that makes it official – instead, it’s usually based on how much time you have dedicated to writing. A portfolio is the best way to show off how much time and effort you’ve put into honing your skills.
Though everyone’s path to being a professional writer is different, my professional writing opportunities started coming more frequently once I established an online portfolio. Even if it’s small at first, a centralized collection of sample pieces and professional information can be great for conveying the type of proficiency and dedication people look for when hiring writers.
While simply creating an online portfolio doesn’t guarantee that your writing career will immediately begin taking off, it can certainly put you on the right track.