Something has come to my attention that quite frankly, seems to have been overlooked by even the most notable of search engines. It appears as though graphic designers and illustrators are all the rage nowadays but what about all us writers about to dive headfirst into the real world? In this day and age, when international borders cease to exist and global competition is at its peak, being the next Jane Austen or Ernest Hemingway just doesn’t cut it anymore. The key to a successful career as an established writer requires more than just a quill and paper. Whether striving to be a successful freelance writer or jumping the gun and finding a job, a portfolio is a vital piece of work for your success.
Tips for a Successful Portfolio as a Writer
The More the Merrier
Don’t be afraid to make more than one portfolio. As often is the case, writers head into an interview with a potential employer with what they believe to be a respectable portfolio in hand. What is often ignored however, is the content within its pages. Do not, for example, head into an interview with a respectable magazine company, equipped only with excerpts of your latest work on the fantastical journey of a made up character in a land far far away. Yes, it may be eloquent. Yes, it may be well written. But big name magazines are not looking to see how well you write a young adult novel about bloodsucking hormonal vampires. Take the time out of your busy day to compile a portfolio for each specific genre. It may sound daunting, but remember that relevance is key in a ‘starving artist’s’ career.
Be a Diamond in the Rough
While you want to believe that your work should speak for itself, we live in a world that is constantly distracted and seeks out big bright lights to grab its attention. This is not obligatory and by all means ignore it if you will, but adding a few illustrations or graphics to your page (with the proper citation if they are not original of course) will spruce up your portfolio and give it that competitive edge. By doing so, you are also showing potential employers that you have additional skills that may be of value to them. Make your page beautiful with illustrations, graphics, content that’s sure to wow your audience and just the right amount of script font.
The Sexy in Succinct
People seem to be under the impression that to be deemed a writer, one must have a full-length novel behind their belt. It’s time to throw that nonsense to the wind and store away those epic poems you have cluttering your desk. Portfolios are only supposed to give potential employers a taste of your talent. When preparing your work, keep in mind that those looking at your excerpts are extremely busy working professionals who don’t have time to read your complete book of Shakespearean sonnets. Be concise and let your voice shine.
A Multifaceted Writer
Have a variety of work. This may be counterintuitive with tip #1 but, for those who do not have the time (or in some cases, the money) to produce a collection of portfolios, having one well-rounded portfolio that shows off every level of your creative talents will be beneficial to you in the end.
Keep it Professional
Though this may sound obvious, including your resume is often overlooked. You’ve walked the walk, you’ve talked the talk and you’ve presented employers with a beautiful portfolio (hopefully), now it’s time to back it up with the credentials you have that will win them over and get you that job.
So stick to these few tips and tricks and you’ll be well on your way to establishing yourself as a professional writer. Remember, although the world is riddled with designers and graphic artists, there is always a beautiful simplicity in the way of words.