The idea about the following article originated after several semi-professional consultations I had with befriended editors and freelance writing employers. It seems that while there are dos and don’ts for a job interview, similar limitations should be recognized with respect to portfolios. Below, I will list some of the dreadful portfolio flaws which hold back writers’ careers:
– A full list of completed assignments – if a given writer has worked on a freelance or contract basis even for only several months a listing of all finished works can take up to 20, even 50 pages. No employer will be interested in studying them. Actually, no employer will be interested in the portfolio itself anymore. Instead provide names of companies, sites and name areas of your writing, for example: website name, categories in which you posted and average monthly amount of posts/articles. That will be enough; any employer interested in a given set of your articles will simply visit mentioned websites or ask for more detailed information.
– A list of ghostwritten orders – if you want to boast about the versatility of your writing and you think your ghostwriting projects are really worth mentioning, don’t compromise their content or the identity of their owners. Remember you don’t own your ghostwriting unless it’s your own site or blog and you intentionally retained your anonymity. Employers may not want to trust you or your services if you lack professionalism in this particular respect.
– An excessively personal “about me” section – even experienced writers have a tendency to create a thousand words summary of their “writing adventures” including childhood dreams about becoming the second Stephen King and, basically, trying to prove that they are the most passionate and devoted writers ever. Remember that your portfolio and all its content is already a proof of your passion. Your employer is interested more in your experience, areas of expertise and achievements. Don’t be modest; after all you’re selling your services. Just avoid pretentious narratives – they never win jobs for writers, only bare facts can do that.