Why You MUST Have A Portfolio Before Graduating College, And How To Actually Grow It

Sunday, September 6, 2020

You know how they say you have to walk the walk if you're going to talk the talk? Well, this applies to your career as well. Because no matter what industry you're working in or hope to work in, you want to help yourself stand out.

One of the best ways to prove you can "walk the walk" as well as you can "talk the talk" is to have a portfolio of projects you've worked on ready to share with prospective employers in order to back up whatever you have on your resume. This is particularly true for creative industries.

So, if you're ready to start making your portfolio in order to stand out when applying to internships and/or jobs, here's what you need to know.

Why You Need To Have A Portfolio

If you have work you're proud of and that shows your talents, why not show it off? Having a portfolio available works as proof of your experience to back up your application.

Add any and all writing samples (print and/or digital), videos (whether you're in them or you edited/produced them, etc), social media work, marketing campaigns, graphics you've designed, etc. Whatever it is, share it in a portfolio (online, not in a binder).

Ways To Grow Your Writing Portfolio

  • Freelance
    • Look for projects on Upwork
    • Consider part-time roles and internships
      • Ed2010.com has great freelance media positions and internships, some are even remote
  • Write for your school or town's paper
  • Write for an established blogging platform, like Odyssey or Medium
  • Start a personal blog
    • My website has gone through a dozen different changes since I started it back in 2016. Even if your goal is not to get others to read your blog posts, think about it as an outlet to actually develop your voice. Note: the first pieces you write may be rough, but you have to start somewhere!

How To Create Your Writing Portfolio

  • When you're first starting to create a writing portfolio, I suggest keeping all of your links on Contently so they're available whenever you need them and can share a simple link.
    • Some people in the industry don't love Contently (did I mention it's free to use?!), but it worked for me for all of my internships and even jobs after graduation.
  • If you want to step it up a notch after you graduate or even before then (whichever works for you!), creating your own website to feature all of your work and experience is another option.
    • After using Contently for years, I ended up adding a separate page to this blog to keep everything on one website. You can do this on any blogging platform Blogger, WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.
    • Should you be ready to make your own portfolio/professional website, I recommend buying a domain that's your full name to remove the ".blogger" or ".wordpress" from the URL. Prices can be very reasonable depending on the platform you choose, but you'll want to do research to choose your best option before making any purchases.