For accounting graduates, the ability to balance debit and credit accounts is essential. For humanities students, understanding numbers doesn’t matter so much, it’s the professional portfolio that grabs an employers’ attention.
A portfolio is much like a photo album of your best memories but, instead of the album, a portfolio uses a professional folder and the photos inside are rather a collection of your best work; demonstrating how great of an asset you could be for a future employer. So, put your best foot forward because…
First impressions really do count.
A writer’s portfolio is like a firm hand shake, it’s the first impression you make in front of an employer. This asset is physical evidence that illustrates your standard and style of work. Demonstrating your craft in a creative and tangible form is super valuable; it can really help you to stand out in such a competitive job market.
You should clearly identify your specialty.
Your portfolio should be a lean and focused collection of writing, which is targeted and tailored to the job you are applying for. It should help present your personal and professional brand. Don’t include pieces that disrupt your style or are not relevant for the job. If you’re applying for a role as a journalist for example, show some of your skills and include a variety of long editorial pieces or short form news articles to really show diversity.
Start the portfolio ASAP.
It’s a good idea to get started sooner rather than later. Some might tell you to only start collating work after graduation, that you can only use published writing, or to only use pieces that you have been paid for. That’s not true at all – developing a portfolio can begin with student work from the last two years.
Use your student work.
If you’ve received some really great feedback from a tutor on a piece you wrote and it supports your unique writers’ voice, make the recommended edits and place it in your portfolio! Just remember to add a brief assessment description to give the reader some context before reading.
To generate some ideas for creating great portfolio content, have a think about what’s currently going on in the industry. Have a go at writing a researched opinion article or blog on a contentious issue. Alternatively, check out our Career Guide to Writing to give you an idea of what you can expect as a future writer.