If you’re starting your career as a technical writer, you should have an online portfolio to showcase your work. Your online portfolio should have a URL you can add to your LinkedIn profile, and be included on your resume, or pasted into the appropriate space on the online job application form.
The goal of your portfolio is to get you a face-to-face interview by showing prospective clients or employers samples of your work.
What samples should you include in your portfolio?
Showcase all your writing skills with examples from a variety of formats. Your aim is to demonstrate a wide range of technical communication skills.
Writing samples could include:
If you don’t yet have any samples from technical writing jobs, don’t worry. If you have taken technical writing courses, it is acceptable to include course project material. If you didn’t take a course, create your own writing samples. Consider the following: procedures for tasks you perform in your current job, or a user guide for something you’re interested in, such as using video editing software.
Increase your web presence
An online portfolio, especially as part of your LinkedIn profile, will make it easier for recruiters and companies looking for technical communicators to connect with you. You might also consider keeping a blog as part of your portfolio website, but be sure you can commit to posting regularly – your site won’t look professional with only a few old blog posts.
Overview of free online portfolio platforms
You can pay a fee to host your own website, and choose your own domain name. This option gives you the most flexibility of design, but there are several easy-to-use, free online portfolio platforms. You don’t need to know how to code to use any of the following free websites:
Experiment with each portfolio platform until you find the site that works best for you.
Hard copy portfolio
You should also have printed and bound copies of your work to show prospective employers in your face-to-face interview. You’ll create the best impression if each piece looks professional. For example, if you’ve created a double-sided quick reference guide, have it laminated. If you’ve written a manual, have a few chapters bound with a clear vinyl acetate cover, and printed on good quality paper. If you’re showcasing articles, print them on good quality paper.
Sources used in researching this article include:
I’d Rather Be Writing. “Put together a portfolio(TW job),” http://idratherbewriting.com/2009/12/21/get-a-job-in-technical-writing-step-4-put-together-a-portfolio/#
Levo League. “4 Reasons Why You Need an Online Portfolio,” http://www.levo.com/articles/career-advice/4-reasons-you-need-an-online-portfolio
Writer: technical communications, articles, blogs, novels, and the occasional haiku