Chapter 10 – Establishing a Professional Portfolio

When considering what to include in your writing portfolio, look at relevant class assignments or work produced in a previous or current role. Save everything in a file, especially work from a class that requires you to write common communication materials such as newsletters, press releases, brochures, and news articles. If you do not have internship or work experience, try to do volunteer writing for a nonprofit organization or a small project for a startup company. What matters is that you have writing samples to show, not whether you were paid to do the work.

The first page of a hard-copy portfolio is usually a resume. Online portfolios include a description or summary of your professional background. From there, create clear sections and headings and arrange the content by article or document type. Tailor the portfolio to jobs or industries you’re interested in and by chronological order, with the most recent work first or at the top of the online portfolio. For example, if you’re applying for a job that requires proficiency in AP style writing, include writing samples that use this style, such as press releases or feature articles. If you’re applying for a job that requires social media writing skills, make sure to include social media posts that you’ve created for an organization. Here’s a list of some of the materials you could include in the portfolio:

  • Press releases
  • Website copy
  • Feature articles
  • Media pitches
  • Social media posts that you created for an organization
  • A sample RFP (request for proposal) for a campaign or a detailed public relations campaign proposal
  • News media clippings of coverage you secured from pitches (it helps if you provide the original pitch that led to the media coverage)

Include brief information about each document, such as the name of the organization it was created for and the date. Be ready to discuss your writing samples during a job interview. You may explain why you created the material and the results that came from it, such as increased website traffic and Twitter followers from a news article publication. For more examples of writing portfolios, click on the following links:

Other important points about the writing portfolio

As you work on more projects and articles, remember to include them in your portfolio. Constantly update the portfolio so that employers and professional contacts can see your most recent work. Include a minimum of two to three writing samples, although the quality of the portfolio materials matters more than the quantity (Lovering, 2016).

Some employers may not ask for a portfolio but will require you to take a writing test. Employers use this assessment to determine your editing skills, understanding of AP style, knowledge of grammar and punctuation, and ability to write under a strict deadline. It might be a timed test or a take-home assessment.

Platforms to create your online writing portfolio:

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