Congratulations – you’ve made the first step and decided to begin your journalism portfolio! You’re already on the way to showcasing brilliant examples of your work, but the next step is making sure you’re really getting the most out of your page.
1. Choose your cover photo wisely
It’s easy to overlook photos when you’re primarily a journalist involved with words or video, but as soon as someone clicks on your page, the photo is the first thing they see. First impressions count, so choose something that complements the vast majority of your articles. It probably goes without saying, but try not to choose a photo of your favourite celebrities; even a photo of yourself would be a no-no in my book. Clippings.me provides a good choice of neutral background photos for your journalism portfolio, so use one of these to start with or as inspiration to look for your photo.
2. Think carefully about your summary – and spellcheck it!
This goes under your name and should be short. Give a brief outline of the kind of work you do, and perhaps include your email address for people to get in touch. Keep it professional, not chatty and try to summarise your work succinctly. It sounds obvious but do spellcheck everything you write – especially this important opening paragraph.
3. Pick a mixture of articles
To show your versatility as a journalist, if you have articles published in a variety of magazines and newspapers put them up to show what you can do. Put what you’re most proud of first, along with recent work. If you thought that something you wrote got badly edited, or there are typos, don’t link to it – if there are typos and the article is online it’s probably best to email the person who commissioned you to see if they can change it.
It’s also worth pointing out that you should always screen shot and PDF all of your work. People often forget that websites change, and links to URLs get broken and articles taken down. Make some time to archive all of your articles on your computer so you can switch an online article for a PDF if something goes wrong.
4. Always link to relevant professional channels.
There’s the option to connect to your Youtube, LinkedIn and Twitter, but make sure these pages are up-to-date too. Linking to your personal Facebook really isn’t appropriate. Make sure your email address is not embarrassing (we all had mid-2000s awful email addresses).
5. Have a look at other journalism portfolios
One of the great things about clippings.me is that it’s always changing. Have a look at other people’s profiles to see how they’ve made use of the different features, and think critically about your own profile. When you’ve got something you’re really proud of – share, share, share! You can put the link to your portfolio on your Twitter bio, LinkedIn and in your email signature. That way, it only takes one click for commissioning editors to see what you can do.
Katie Gatens is Entertainment Assistant at British Airways High Life magazine.