Updated: Nov 10, 2020
"Whatever you write matters, so save samples of your best work!"
Years ago, I was asked to provide a writing sample when I went to interview for a corporate legal job. At the time, I didn't know what a writing sample was or why I needed to provide one as a qualification for a legal job. Fortunately for me, I was running an online magazine at the time and had some samples to choose from. The one I chose was an opinion piece I had written about a lawsuit being filed against a giant oil company in Nigeria. I provided that piece and a college paper with an "A" grade. It worked! I was hired as a legal associate/corporate paralegal, but I ended up doing most of the department's writing and editing work, which helped boost my confidence and launched my freelance writing and editing career.
That experience taught me one thing when I decided to branch into freelancing: whatever you write matters, so save samples of your best work.
Had I not saved my old college papers or had a blog, I wonder if I would have gotten the job. For all I know, it was the one thing I provided that everyone else who interviewed for the job had not been able to provide. I have since learned the value of having writing samples or a portfolio.
A writing portfolio is simply a collection of your best "published" written work. I place published in quotes because that's what is most often sought after these days. However, as you can see, college research papers qualify too, especially if you're just starting out after college. As a more seasoned freelancer, anything you have written on the web or for print publications qualifies. So, if you haven't done so already, pull your samples together and pick your top 10 samples that reflect your writing style, voice, skills, and industry knowledge and use these.
If you have never written for a publication, don't worry, it's never too late to start. Find publications you'd like to write for and pitch them your ideas. We offer a writing community right here at The Brielle Agency. Simply sign-up on the blog tab and once you're approved to be a writer, you may begin writing on topics in our listed categories. Writing is a great way to clear your thoughts, share your knowledge, inform writers of your business ideas, or simply engage in an art form that soothes and inspires. We look forward to having you join.