How Slick Does Your Portfolio Need to Be?

The short answer is, not very. Don’t spend a lot of money or time making it pretty. You aren’t being hired by a graphic designer: you want your words to sing and tell your story on your own. You might have already read my suggestions on how to collect your clips into a WordPress blog site. Using any one of their templates will be just the right amount of slickness.

You can go overboard and put in all sorts of Javascript and Flash animations and high graphic pull-downs: to me that is just overkill. Put the headline, the first one or two grafs and a link to the online post of your piece in your online portfolio.

So here are a few other things that I look for, based on my own experience as an editor when I am shopping around for freelancers that I have hired over the years.

1. Are you a subject-matter expert? Does the potential freelancer know what they are talking about? Have they written about the topic before, and can understand the nuances of the article that I intend to assign? Everyone has their point of view and expertise. Make sure yours comes across in your portfolio. Organize your content via keywords, topics, and publications.

2. Can I find you online? Do a Google/LinkedIn search for yourself and see if what you get is what you want your next editor to read. Is the word “freelancer” in your LinkedIn tagline? Part of your Twitter description? Make it obvious.

3. Have you updated your clips with recent work? If your last clip is more than six months old, something is very, very wrong. Keep things current, it shows you want more work. Even if this means taking time away from writing.

4. Make it clear what your interests are. If I am looking for a virtualization expert, I don’t necessarily want someone who knows printers. There are reasons why there are sites aimed at dogs and cats and writers who prefer one over the other.  It should be obvious from your site what you enjoy writing about and what assignments excite you the most.

5. Have you worked for people that I know? Referrals count for a lot in the freelance business. If we share a common contact, all the better. I want to know that you can deliver on time and clean copy. Again, make it obvious where you have gotten previous assignments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.