As a freelance writer, you live and die by your portfolio. You get one shot at convincing clients you’re the right person to hire. That means without a great portfolio, you won’t be in business for very long.
Besides showing off your talent, the primary purpose of your portfolio is to inspire trust. People want to know who it is they’re hiring. If all your business occurs online, you need to go the extra mile to inspire that trust.
By the extra mile, I mean including some information about yourself. For this article, we’ll talk about how to optimize your freelance portfolio by including a bio section. Let’s get to work!
What to Include in Your Freelance Portfolio
There are several elements every freelance portfolio needs. For example, your best work should always be front and center since that’s what people are here to see:
On top of being talented, you also want to show you’re a great person to work with. Some ways to show that to prospective clients are to include customer reviews, some pictures of yourself, links to social media, and a bio section.
The goal of a bio is to give visitors a brief taste of who you are. Often, prospective clients might think you’re talented, but if you don’t share any information about yourself, they might not decide to hire you.
Keep in mind – you’re looking for jobs on your own and not through a freelancing platform. That means customers can’t see past ratings and get access to all your information. Instead, it’s up to you to communicate you’re the right person for the job.
4 Tips to Optimize Your Freelance Writer Bio
Most of us don’t have any experience writing bios beyond dating profiles. The problem is, most clients don’t care too much about what your sign is or whether you enjoy long walks on the beach. What they want is a look into your professional mindset, which brings us to the following tips.
1. Keep It Short
Unless you single-handedly cured a disease, no one wants to read dozens of pages chronicling your entire life. Freelance bios should be short and sweet. Here’s everything you should aim to cover:
- Professional experience
- Standout projects or clients you’ve worked with
- Some examples of personal projects
- What your unique strengths are
- Some insight into your personality
If that list sounds like writing a resume with extra steps, you’re on the right track. Ideally, you want to give some glimpse into your personality and your hobbies. However, the primary focus of your bio should always be your professional life.
As a rule of thumb, if I have to scroll down to read your full biography, then it’s too darn long, so go ahead and trim it.
2. Include a Good Headshot
One of the worst mistakes most freelancers make is they don’t include at least one professional looking picture in their portfolio. I’m not saying you need to go full real-estate agent and put on a suit, but one decent head shot can make a big difference.
A lot of people don’t feel comfortable sharing pictures of themselves. However, rest assured no serious client will judge you on your appearance. Including a picture is just a simple way to show that (a) you’re a real person and (b) you’re not some 15-year old kid pretending to be a professional.
Chances are you’ve got at least one picture of yourself lying around where you’re not doing jager bombs. Upload it, put it somewhere visitors can see it on your portfolio and you’re good.
3. Emphasize Your Strengths and Unique Talents
Freelance writing is highly competitive. Having worked on both sides of the table, I can tell you anytime you advertise a writing gig, you’re going to get dozens of applications if not more.
There are always candidates that stand out. In most cases, it’s because they have the most impressive portfolios and they know how to sell themselves.
Let’s say, for example, I’m a freelance writer with over five years of experience. That sounds good, but it’s broad enough that it’s not going to turn any heads. If I say, on the other hand, I have five years of experience writing in-depth web development tutorials, with an emphasis on WordPress and have been published on X and Y website, that’s much better.
As a freelance writer, the more specialized you are, the more hireable you become. That is, of course, as long as there’s a market out there for the fields you specialize in. Your freelance bio is the perfect place to share that information.
4. Stay Humble
Big egos are somewhat common among successful freelancers. In a way, the sales mentality you need to constantly sign up new clients means you’re always extolling your own virtues.
That’s not a bad thing per se, but when you’re writing your freelance bio, but you want to tone it down. For example, if you’ve launched a few short stories on Amazon, that doesn’t make you a ‘published’ author (that’s a real one I’ve seen several times).
It’s important that your bio and your portfolio represent your skill set accurately. We all know everyone exaggerates a little bit on portfolios and resumes, but you want to keep that to a minimum. Being concise and truthful about your skills will set the tone for better work relationships.
On the other hand, if you do have an impressive portfolio and resume, then by all means, show off a little bit – you have the stuff to back it up.
Writing your own bio might sound a bit self-aggrandizing. However, think about it as giving prospective clients a taste of who you are. If your bio makes you look good and you have some good writing credits under your name, finding jobs becomes much easier.
As for how to optimize your freelance portfolio and bio, keep these four tips in mind:
- Keep it short.
- Include at least one good head shot.
- Emphasize your strengths and unique talents.
- Stay humble.
Do you have any questions about how to optimize your freelance portfolio? Let’s go over them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.
Olabisi Ridges says
I have just started this freelancing journey due to being fired last October, I didn’t want to continue a 9-5 hustle and eventually want to become a seasoned travel writer. I can dig it when you say stay humble, it assures me that my pride won’t overtake my need to have an income. Worthwhile advice, thank you.
Eva Braughly says
Thanks for your post.
I’ve been writing for quite some time now, and I have struggled with what niche to focus Since I am writing an article in several niches. So this quote “As a freelance writer, the more specialized you are, the more hireable you become.” makes me think of what niche to specialized.