Difference Between a Resume and a Portfolio?

Dear Jodee,

I’ve actually been wondering, what differentiates a portfolio from a resume? As a new freelancer, I’ve put any writing done in my portfolio, and it feels less like a presentation of work and more like an info dump.


Dear Ashley,
Your portfolio is made up of your writing samples. If you are a new writer, it may look mostly like an info dump, as you say, but over time you will be able to update them to feature not only your best work, but ones that are relevant to the opportunity you are applying for or pitching.

A freelance writer’s portfolio can include any combination of the following:

  • Blog posts
  • Excerpt from a book, either in print or an e-book
  • Link to an electronic newsletter
  • Link to your own articles published online
  • SEO articles

Your resume is document that serves as your calling card to a prospective client. It tells the reader about where you have been – where you went to school, what degrees/diplomas/certificates you hold, and where you have worked in the past. It also tells the client whether you have been able to commit to a job for a time or you flit from one to another, which is an indication of your work ethic and your general level of maturity.

If your resume tells the reader where you’ve been, the portfolio tells him or her what you can do. Some clients are more interested in reviewing your samples than reading about your work history, while others want to consider both. Here are some other resources about resumes for writers:

Functional Resume Format for Freelancers

Transferable Skills and Your Resume

Your portfolio and your resume should both be living documents. Ideally, you should be updating both regularly. As you gain more experience as a writer, you will have more pieces you can use for your portfolio. You may decide to remove some samples in favor of more updated ones.

Do you update your resume and portfolio regularly? Do you have a question about freelance writing you would like to answered in an upcoming column? Post it in comments.


5 responses
  1. KrisUnderwood Avatar

    Both your links go to the Transferable Skills and Your Resume post

  2. Nico Avatar

    Just a head’s up that your retweet button doesn’t seem to work. I’m using Firefox 6.3.8, if that helps.

    Otherwise, thanks for the clarification!

    1. franky Avatar

      Nico, thanks for the heads up. I can not replicate the issue though. Did you also authorise the Retweet tab in Firefox?

      1. Nico Avatar

        Yes, I always do, but it doesn’t come up with this site. Perhaps I should clarify that I was trying the retweet button at the top of the page, the one at the bottom seems to work. (Why two?)

  3. larryheard Avatar

    Got a note from a professional resume writer that functional resume is best for freelancers indeed. It should be tailored to the employer’s point of view.

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