Alumni Answers: Building a Writing Portfolio

Alumni Answers: Building a Writing Portfolio

Dear Wendy,

When getting into the writing industry, did you find it necessary to have a writing portfolio or a showcase of your writing experience? If yes, what tips do you have for building a writing portfolio while still an undergraduate?


Hello Felicity,
You ask an important question regarding the writing industry. As a freelance writer,  it is absolutely necessary to have a writing portfolio. However, it is not always necessary to have a hard copy of the portfolio. In six years, I have used my physical portfolio once. You should post your portfolio online so potential clients can quickly and easily access your material. You can see an example at my website, or Google freelance writing portfolios. There are many ways to display your work.

Now for the tricky part, how does a young writer build a portfolio? I chose to volunteer my writing services for several non-profits and took smaller jobs for less pay at local companies. I also secured an internship at UD that focused heavily on writing and marketing. Once I had built a diverse portfolio with several successful pieces, I increased my fees to match industry prices in my area and targeted larger companies. Some writers choose to write spec pieces and add graphics to make them appear professional. I suggest you pick up a copy of The Well Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman and The Writer’s Market. Both books have invaluable information about freelancing, including sections on portfolios.

Wendy R., (English) Self-employed Writer

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